We are living in the age of information. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, we are inundated with more and more information. Stuff. Facts. News. Status updates. Reports. Media.
Minute by minute, as information is losing its power to change people and transform societies, we become that much more addicted to the perceived knowledge that we think we are gaining because of our information diet. We become constipated and unable to act according to our convictions, beliefs, passions and desires. Complacency sets in. The status quo grows. We wonder what happened.
Our addiction to information is never more obvious and apparent than when I do my weekly ritual of flipping and skimming through Bloomberg Businessweek magazine. Page after page of analysis of the world’s economies. Business profiles of the rich and the famous. One page of innovation followed by 30 pages of facts and ads. And yet, nothing has changed because of this information. Our government continues to be unsure of how to fix our economical problems. Pundits become experts and shout their wisdom from the sidelines. The people become confused, scared and not sure of what to do today, or even tomorrow.
I won’t deny that there are the few devoted to taking information and using it for gain and instruction, but for the most part, we have forgotten what information is for.
We are to learn so that we can act. The information that we consume should push us towards not only learning more and acquiring knowledge, and hopefully wisdom, but the very things that we strive and seek to learn should push us towards action. Analysis is meaningless if we do not use it to impart change of any sort.
My fear is that information channels will continue to grow and our ability as a society to comprehend, debate and act will diminish.
Will the country that was built upon the blaze of intellect and action of radical revolutionaries succumb to mediocrity, ignorance and a disdain for intellectual discourse? Will we no longer stand up for what we believe in? Will we continue to listen to the masses that spew ignorance? Where are the voices crying out from the desert? Where are the prophets? Where are the change-makers? The dreamers that will push, inspire and guide?
Let the wisdom and words of history echo through your mind as you consume your daily diet of information:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”