It seems that ever since we began with computers the term information overload has been with us.
However the concept is not new. In The Chronicle Review Ann Blair writes in the article Information Overload, Then and Now
Early negative responses include Ecclesiastes 12:12 (“Of making books there is no end,” probably from the fourth or third century BC) and Seneca’s “distringit librorum multitudo” (“the abundance of books is distraction,” first century AD). But we also find enthusiasm for accumulation—of papyri at the Library of Alexandria (founded in the early third century BC) or of the 20,000 “facts” that Pliny the Elder accumulated in Historia naturalis (completed in AD 77). Though we no longer care especially about ancient precedent, we hear the same doom and praise today.
In addition to this in 1755 Denis Diderot wrote in Encyclopédie
As long as the centuries continue to unfold, the number of books will grow continually, and one can predict that a time will come when it will be almost as difficult to learn anything from books as from the direct study of the whole universe. It will be almost as convenient to search for some bit of truth concealed in nature as it will be to find it hidden away in an immense multitude of bound volumes.
The issue gets more problematic by the fact that our computing powers have been increasing over the past decades. This increase in computing power tends to cloud the problem of information overload by alleviating the problem but it does nothing to resolve the fundamental problem.
I am not short. Not really tall – but I suppose that all this is a matter of perspective. But perspectives and realities of length change and shift after years of riding a desk and huddling over a laptop, standing tall is something I need to remind myself of.
Then there are times when the blows come too fast, too effectively, striking the weaknesses we work so hide to protect. In times like these the urge to curl into a protective ball physically and metaphorically appears to be the only viable option.
It is here where the impulse to run, hide and forget – to lose oneself in fantasy, dreams or the narcotic (from the Greek “to make numb”) substance of choice. My own inclinations lean towards unhealthy food and enough red wine to float a rhino, to which pop psychology deduces deep-rooted insecurity. But I will rebut, if I had the energy, that easy answers mean that you are asking the wrong questions. Never mind that – focus.
Booze and calories are a brief narcotic bringing short lived relief and a nasty aftertaste (hangover would be a cheap pun) of additional guilt, anxiety and the beginnings of a wicked downward spiral of self-loathing.
But the pain I try to avoid is artificial, brought about by false dependencies and a lack of personal moral independence. No matter how real I make it feel.
And yet it is here in the depths of self-created misery that growth occurs. Failure is the true manure of growth. Success and love relaxes and breeds complacency. So it is important to recognize this as the shitty bottom a learning curve. No place to go but up. As the window of self-loathing closes I pull myself up and stand tall to disguise my made-up pain and bring this self-deception of defeat to its knees.
My therapeutic act is to write this in a public place making those who I know read this space and the casual visitors part of my recovery.