Information Satiation

Have you ever seen the cut-scene in Secret World for the Illuminati introduction to the Tokyo zone? No? Well, take a minute or two and give it a watch. I’ll wait.

I mean, amazing, right? What’s going on here is that the figurehead of the Illuminati faction, Kirsten Geary (voiced by Kari Wahlgren), is informing the player of their need to head to Kaidan, Tokyo, the fictional location of the ‘filth bomb’ explosion that sets in motion the reaction of Gaia and events portrayed in Secret World, by way of Venice. So Venice first, then Tokyo, which is a pretty big plot location. But did you catch that part in the middle there?

This is the age of information. Stealth is not about hiding; it’s about inundating.

We leak the truth. Then we leak whole zettabytes of other junk. Opposing data, Similar data. Nonsense data. Ad nauseam. Mesmerism by cat memes. Hypnotised. Apathy for the win.

The human brain has only so much bandwidth. Critical thought can actually O.D. on input. Bury the ultimate secret of the universe in the shallow grave of the 5th page of a Google search and no one would ever find it. Cover-ups are so passé.

This was penned by the incomparable Joshua Alan Doetsch and in a word it’s just… Brilliant. Did you catch these thick layers of meaning that solidly attach this to the real world? What makes the fiction we consume so compelling is how much we relate to it. If we can’t relate to it, we can’t make a connection to it, and it passes right through us. But, this? Who *can’t* relate to this?

Give or take a year or two...

Okay, so according to my calculations I should be totally caught up by… 2023.

It just may be that I’m starting to feel the effects of age, but I’m constantly finding it harder and harder to keep up with all of social media. Remember in the early days of Facebook when you could scroll back to the last post you viewed and then catch up quickly with every single thing your friends posted? And I mean every single post? I won’t lie, I’m part of a few Discord channels, as Discord is the new hotness, and I can’t keep up with any of them. I’ve tried. But that’s a LOT of text, most fleeting, and, to quote the above, my brain has only so much bandwidth.

Same goes for Twitter, same for the current version of Facebook, same with Feedly, and the same goes for Discord. There’s just too much. In trying to be as well informed as humanly possible, we hit a staggering wall of data. I remember when I first started getting involved with blogging and keeping up with a whole bunch of blogs and news sites are what helped to keep me informed, but I gave up on reading novels in order to do it. It was the same amount of text and ideas as full-blown novels, but one by multiple authors and multiple topics. I’ve since learned to balance, but still.

After a point we just become satiated. You ever hear or type the same word so much that after a while it stops being a word and just becomes garbled? The world these days just feels… garbled. People are lost, clinging onto what they *hope* is the right information. There is so much out there. From my mother wanting me to read up on hydrolyzed proteins, me trying to figure out what this rash could be from, or the constant stream of world news detailing the horrific events in our current anthropocene extinction epoch. Watching cat videos or seeing pics of bunnies frolicking with a deer end up being truly therapeutic.

“But Ocho,” you may ask. “Aren’t you just adding to the bandwidth?” I am. I totally am. That’s what blogging is all about, after all, adding your individual notes to the constant stream of background noise.

“But… why? Why keep adding to it?” Simply put: Fighting Back. The simple act of creation is sometimes enough to control the tide of information. To coalesce our thoughts and to stake a claim on a thought, to delineate what we know from what we don’t know, and to make a stand for truth.

After all, it’s ‘apathy for the win’, and we can’t just let apathy win without a fight.

 

// Ocho

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One thought on “Information Satiation

  1. Curiously, I heard an interview only this week on the radio about the latest research on how the brain stores and transmits information. The whole idea that there are limits to the storage capacity of the human brain is out of date, apparently. I’m not sure that equates to infinite bandwidth but probably it does.

    We don’t lack bandwidth. We lack time. Our brains are capable of processing, evaluating and interpreting any amount of data we care to feed them but we can’t increase the number of hours in the day. We don’t struggle to keep up with our social media because we are satiated but because we run out of time. (Of course if by “satiated” we really mean “bored” then that’s another question).

    It’s true that we now have access (instant access, too) to much more data than we had in the past but I’m not sure that, as individuals, we’re in a worse place because of that than we were when that data was much harder to access. The quantity of data is probably much the same. People still ate food, they just didn’t post pictures of it on Instagram. If you’d wanted to know what all your friends were eating for breakfast in 1982 you’d have had to phone them all and ask them. You wouldn’t have done that. If you choose to follow all their Instagram feeds and acquire that data now it says as much about the way your choice over how to spend your time has changed as about the availability of information.

    Personally, if I struggle with anything in terms of information these days it’s with finding enough things that interest me to fill the time I have avaialble to read about them. I have more downtime staring at a screen trying to think of something to look at than I do staring at a list of options wondering where I’ll find the time. That’s why Blaugust has been great so far. it’s the first time in years I’ve actually had more to read than I have time to read it.

    Like

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