Information Overconsumption

Our brains need to go on a diet

There were certain points in time where I would read voraciously, be it school books, online articles and other nonfictional sources (Note: I haven't read much fiction). For example, while preparing for my entrance exams, I managed to read at 9 different books. Not too shabby, considering that each of those books were at least 200 pages.

But here's the thing: I completely forgot most of what I had learned. Not everything was forgotten, but a large majority of the content of those books has gone from memory. And I realized one thing after all of this: that there's an inherent problem with overconsumption, even if it's something good such as knowledge.

I used to obsess over metrics, as when I was using Goodreads it would always track how many books I had read. You could set goals as for how many books you want to read for the year. Now, while that's all well and good, I now realize I was emphasizing the wrong things here. The quantity of stuff that I had read never really amounted to anything, especially in the knowledge which I have retained to this day.

Information Gluttony

Of course, people read for different reasons. Some read to escape reality, some read to do research, and I understand that. In this case of information consumption, I'm mainly talking about nonfiction and recreational reading, and for some reason pop culture has made it out to be this sort of grandiose thing that reading as many things as possible is the end goal. I believe it's because that's the only real thing we can quantify. We can't quantify how much an information changed someone's life, or how much value a person extracted from such information, so we just settle for how much information they've consumed, which is just looking at the completely wrong thing. We've settled for a count of consumption, as opposed to seeing how well someone has digested something.

It's like food: if one just constantly consumes food, it all goes into fat, which while stored in our body, will not be used because one never actually has a balance of consuming and using said energy.

I say all of this because out of all of the things I've read, only a handful really have impacted my day-to-day life and thought process. And the rest? I have some recollection of tidbits from those, but have they truly influenced how I've acted, how I live my life? No.

Intentional Consumption

What I want to get at is to not stop reading completely. That's just a ridiculous proposition. I want us to be more mindful in our consumption of information.

People back in the day truly valued their books. Books were not a common thing as it is now. If they got their hands on a book, they would reread it, over and over again, extracting as much value as possible from the information. Rereading in today's age is quite a rare activity, I think. And with modern forms of media, we consume, we see something new, we move on. We get the illusion of digesting something, as it still makes us feel good if we find some really good information, but then... nothing happens after that. Information comes into our minds and then is immediately dethroned by some other new piece of information.

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