Digesting information

Wilson Orhiunu

First Gentleman with Wilson Orhiunu

Email: babawill2000@gmail.com Twitter: @Babawilly

At the start of the year many resolutions are linked to moderating how much food we consume. Food is that all important entity that keeps us alive when taken in the right quality and quantity. Food can also kill if we overdose on it.

One of the areas that never seem to be mentioned as we list our goals for the year is information. We are daily surrounded by information for we live in the information age. Perhaps we need a plan on how to use information in a way that benefits us.

A simplistic yet effective way to look at how we deal with information is to liken it to food. We all eat and have a good working knowledge of why a house has a fridge, kitchen and a toilet. Daily we eat and daily we make room for the next meal.

The mouth and the ear are both insatiable. We both always need more food and information respectively. Some people don’t care what they feed on neither do they care about the source of their meals. Such recklessness has no merits. Like the sun rises daily, so does hunger.

Hunger – This is the desire for food associated with physical weakness and discomfort

Appetite- A craving for a bodily need especially food.  Discriminatory desire for certain types of food such as Indian cuisine or Chinese food.

At the start of the day those who immediately reach for the radio or television get their ‘information fix’. They learn about world events followed by national events then the local news, weather traffic and weather reports. Armed with this information they set out of the house. Over time they would have settled on a news source that gives them information the way they like it served similar to how people make some restaurants their favourites.

Those who have developed an appetite for gossip know the right papers to buy and the studious types have their websites or libraries. No matter where the information comes from, it has to be broken down. The various elements are analysed for truths and if the information is found to be wanting it is discarded.

Accumulating information without the ability to break it down, discard the useless and apply the useful leads to information overload. This is a kind of intellectual constipation that does no one any good.

It is one of the great wonders of the world that certain people cannot think in today’s world. They make decisions just because someone told them on the television to do so. Life decisions are not meant to be kneejerk reactions in response to what we hear. It is easier to live life not taking responsibility for our actions and blaming the advice we got, but the right thing to do is to think deeply about what we hear and come to an informed choice so that we take full responsibility for our actions.

Actions are the results of how we deal with information and eventually will determine the kind of life we live. In today’s world all the books written are available to everyone but not all people have an appetite for knowledge. With food it is slightly different for not all plates of food are affordable even though most people will not say no to a master chef’s offering. The talent to digest food is commonplace but the ability to digest information and make the necessary changes suggested by the information needs to be acquired through hard mental work, thus it is a rarity.

How do we improve    our handling of information? Well we could take lessons from how we improve our diets as follows.

  1. Less is more. Seek out a higher quality of information spending less time accumulating and more time meditating about what has been assimilated
  2. Avoid junk information. This is information about other people’s personal lives
  3. Be interested in useful ideas and spend time reading and thinking about ideas
  4. What lectures from top universities and learn to think in an orderly pattern
  5. Set aside thinking time
  6. Go on ‘info diets’ where you limit how much info gets into you. Don’t take calls from gossips
  7. Go on ‘info fasting’ where you decide to shut out all the access points of information to you for twenty four hours or more. The phone, TV, social media and newspapers could be ignored while time is spent on meditation.