information overload

Information Overload: Of all the Stuff Within the Brain

Growth. It is growth that has resulted in information overload.

Our expanding universe, our expanding worldwide network of connections, our expanding neural system and our expanding emotions. Everything within and around us is constantly expanding, signifying the one thing that has remained a constant since the Big Bang happened – Growth.

We have grown so much that we contain the world around us within a rectangular  machine. And we have grown so much that we cannot stop ourselves from connecting with this machine that contains the world within it.

The result is that we have so much information…that we don’t need.

What happens during an information overload?

The same thing that happens when we have stuff that we don’t use – we end up with the problem of managing all this stuff.

Likewise, the brain too will be faced with management issues. You see, the brain is a tool that is in place to help us do stuff. And, doing is its job description. The brain builds a memory bank so we can use this memory to do stuff. When we walk past a dentist’s clinic, it is this memory that reminds us to make an appointment to get our teeth checked out before the pain begins to grow. When we scream at our mother for being such a nag, it is the memory of her affection that makes us pick up the phone to cry out an apology. Our brain is designed to help us do.

When the brain is constantly looking for information, it is also constantly going – what can I do? How can I use this information to do something?

Even as we have accepted the fact that the brain is constantly learning, we have simply forgotten to wonder why on earth is the brain constantly learning?  It is only learning in order to goad us into doing.

The accumulation of stuff

So, when we start to accumulate stuff that we don’t use, the brain begins to descend into an existential crisis of sorts. There is teeny tiny neural connection within the brain wondering about what it can do with all this stuff it has stored up about some guy called Tom Cruise. Maybe follow him on Facebook, or wait! – create a fan page for him, stalk him, maybe – heck no! And just when you are steadying yourself to make that presentation in office, the brain goes Tom Cruise inside your head.

If you are finding this hard to believe, just take a deep breath and observe the random thoughts circling within your head. The sheer volume of useless information inside our head is staggering.

You see where all of this is heading – with the brain developing management issues, the deep world that is our web of a neural network is descending into chaos. The human brain is caught between devouring information while at the same time struggling with the idea of what to do with it all…

And the consequence of an overload is…

Imagine a pot full of boiling water. The bubbles of water keep popping up randomly, some of them spilling outside the vessel they are contained within. A head full of information is like this pot full of boiling water. Random bubbles of thoughts keep popping up ever so often and ever so…randomly. The result is that, just like the hot pot, our head too, becomes too hot to handle.

A hot head, like we all know from personal experience, is a distracted head. It is chugging with a thousand ideas of all the things that you can do. So it keeps tugging at your insides going – hey! You can buy that dress, start that playschool, send the kid to that class, check out that new restaurant, etc, etc, etc.

And obviously, we both know that not every idea can be executed. But does the brain get that though? As long as the brain has got information, the poor thing will get stressed out with the thought of what it can do with all those connections that are forming within its depths. If we feel stressed out, it is simply because the brain has been stressed out.

In fact, if you start listening to your insides, you will know that they are bursting! There is such a quandary of emotions and information that we hold within ourselves that sorting through all of this will become the greatest challenge of life.

So, the consequence of it all – the brain gets little time to focus on its original job – and the job is You.

How do we manage all this information then?

The right kind of information will help the brain to focus on us. Anything more will lead to distraction. The best way to get the brain to do its job in the way it has been designed to do, is to get the right kind of information into our head.

The first step begins with awareness of all the things that are eating into our head. The next step is to make conscious decisions to keep away from unnecessary information. The world may be at peril, but if you cannot do anything about it, and for as harsh as it may sound, there is simply no need to know about it. The third step is to practice doing what you want to do – use the information that you know will help you grow, to grow.

Here’s to growing the right way, like a tree, grounded to its growth!


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