There are so many ways to get information nowadays. Anything you want to know, you can find the answers with just a few clicks of the mouse. And every day as I peruse the various social media sites, I see plenty of things that I don't want to know, that I don't care anything about, and that are none of my business. I'm trying to learn to tune these things out and not even take the time to read the headline, much less click on the link to read more.
I truly believe that too much information can be a very bad thing. Why, oh why, do we feel the need to know every little thing about every aspect of everybody's lives? Whether it is friends on Facebook or Twitter, politicians, or the famous celebrities that our media loves to follow around - we are at the point of serious information overload.
I remember way back when the most common ways to communicate with friends and family, other than in person, was either on the telephone or through the postal service. Of course, if a friend lived outside of our city limits, we weren't allowed to call them on the phone unless it was a dire emergency, and even then we had to keep it short and sweet. Those long-distance rates were crazy! We really thought we were moving up in the world when our parents gave us a calling card to use, if we had to call home from a payphone and didn't have the money.
Sorry, got off on a little trip down memory lane for a minute there.
The point I was trying to make is that in those days, we weren't in each other's faces all the time, broadcasting every detail of our daily lives. (Well, except for those teenage girl years when I basically had a phone glued to the side of my head as much as possible. But at least that was only to one friend at a time.)
I worry sometimes that this idea of instant information is going to come back and bite us, if it hasn't already. Particularly when it comes to knowing what others are doing or saying that we don't particularly agree with. Sure makes it easy to judge, especially when we only see a snippet of information, or a photo that someone was tagged in. (Is anyone else guilty of that? You know... coming across a somewhat risque photo of a friend on Facebook, assuming the worst, and having bad feelings towards that person because of it, when it wasn't any of your business in the first place?)
Or, how about when you hear through the grapevine about something that was said about you. Or when somebody leaves a snarky comment on your status and you're not quite sure how to take it? Or, a friend seems to be ignoring you online, so you start analyzing every encounter you've had with that person to try and figure out why they suddenly hate you. After all - we've just GOT to KNOW. Right?
(I've read this somewhere before, and believe me, if I could remember where I saw it I would gladly give the original thinker of this thought the credit.) I am often reminded of the fact that we are not the first generation that has dealt with this. As a matter of fact, the problem of too much information can be traced all the way back to the very first human beings ever created. Did you ever think about Adam and Eve having TMI?
Here's the passage, found in Genesis 3:1-7:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
Why couldn't she just be happy with what she had? Why did she have to listen to that stupid snake and let him talk her into picking that fruit, in search of more knowledge. She lived in paradise, for Pete's sake. She had the perfect life, the perfect husband, no hard toiling to grow food, no labor pains... no death. But she threw it all away, for just a little more information. (Okay, a lot more information... but still...)
So why can't I just be happy with what I have? Quit spending so much time chasing after stuff that doesn't matter. I don't need to know everything about everyone I've ever met or ever thought about or that the media thinks I need to know about. Really. It's okay.
Better quit while we're ahead.