InfoWatcher

TMI
"I need much less of what everyone seems determined to provide ever more of."

The Muse received a FitBit® in the mail last week as part of a wellness program she joined at work. Now she wears a bracelet that counts her steps, identifies incoming emails and calls, and I don't know what-all else. She's wired. She suggested that perhaps I'd like one, too, but I declined the invitation. She photographs every supper to send to some wellness program consultant who critiques her suppers, for cripes sake, providing the sort of feedback nobody really has any use for. By the time she receives the information, she's already swallowed her supper and can only respond with remorse or a small celebration, though she might learn something for next time if she can find a place to store each fresh piece of information.

Me? I'm on a new program I'm calling InfoWatchers, an ongoing attempt to somehow limit the information assaulting me.
I believe that information might be more addictive than Fentanyl, and perhaps just as deadly. It seems to breed the need to inject ever more of it, with no saturation satisfaction point possible. Start innocently monitoring your footsteps and you might feel compelled to keep track of your breaths, producing huge volumes of relatively useless information along with the compulsion to gain access to even more. There is no obvious end in sight. Subscribe to cable TV and habits quickly form. One daresn't miss a raft of programs which seem to exist for the sole purpose of back-hoeing ever greater volumes of information into ever needier minds. News crawls along the bottom of the screen to supplement the information supplied by the line of talking heads, who even as a chorus couldn't ever speak quickly enough to satiate the truly addicted. Split screens allow simultaneously viewing multiple broadcasts, each of which provide essentially the same stuff.

My nurse practitioner requested that I monitor my blood pressure twice each day. I kept a weird journal and sent her updates every week or so. The log entries have yet to produce a discernible trend and like The Muse's supper photos, elicit feedback of no use to anyone. I persist with the practice, though, to placate both The Muse and the nurse practitioner, both of whom seem preternaturally interested in my wellness, whatever that might be. I feel as though I'm being elbowed into some sort of normalcy, though my system seems to be fighting it off well enough, so far. The chief side-effect of the blood pressure journal has been to increase an unbalancing sort of awareness. I explained to The Muse that I feel victim to Too Much Information which I cannot usefully employ. Journaling my blood pressure readings does nothing to change my blood pressure, though it does put me into the position of maintaining a useless and disruptive awareness. I apparently can't even please my nurse practitioner who, though appreciative of my discipline, still seems both dissatisfied with the readings and incapable of advising me how I might influence them. It seems most likely that the act of monitoring my blood pressure might be increasing it.

I carry an additional load of information for which I have no apparent use. InfoWatchers helps me remain aware that while I might serve as a bottomless bucket capable of absorbing ever greater volumes of information, I might find myself better off if I restrict my diet to those bits which do not radically disrupt my life's rhythm. I won't argue for ignorance, other than the more blissful sort. I will strongly argue against exposing myself to information which undermines the quality of my existence. This means no Rachel Maddow, though I find her almost endlessly entertaining, I also find myself feeling better nourished when I have to chew my own conclusions before swallowing someone else's. Over-relying upon world-weary news analysts could drive me into analysis.

The world moves no faster than it ever has, though the noise around the motion seems to have substantially increased just in my short lifespan so far. Any question I might have, I might have ready access to information which might answer that question, except, perhaps, for the question of how many questions really need answering. Each little nit of information seems to encourage a dopamine discharge, each of which seems distracting from perhaps a more healthful existence. The Muse and her supper consultant seem to be working toward a deeper understanding of just how much supper constitutes enough while I work in parallel, trying to understand just how little information I really need. Too much, and I feel as though I'm floating in an eternally unresolvable cloud. I can make it through the Sunday Times Book Review and about half way through the Perspectives section before I feel my gag reflex kicking in and I take an intake brake. I could spend my Sunday snacking on ever more information and still toss and turn half the following night trying to sort it all out. I need much less of what everyone seems determined to provide ever more of.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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