Living In The Information Age We Know Less About More

In this information age we live in, hardly a thing can happen anywhere in the world that it doesn’t show up somwhere in the internet. The more import things that happen are noted in the main stream news or, at least, in the alternative news sources. This makes it very difficult for governments to hide what they are doing and that’s a good thing for those of us who love freedom, right?

The more knowledge a people have the more difficult it should be for governments to usurp power, right? It was Sir Francis Bacon that said kowledge is power. So, if the governed have more knowlege then the power should be with the people, right? But, what if too much information does not lead to more knowledge? What if too much information only leads to too many questions that never get answered because the steady flow of new information on different subjects leaves us in  a steady state of distraction? Information only become useful if it leads to truth and it can only lead to truth if all questions about the information get answered. But, if before the questions are answered or even before the questions get asked, the questioners are distracted by some other breaking news or multiple news stories then the thing that had the questioners’ attention yesterday is forgotten because something else has their attention today and it will something else all together that will have their attention tomorrow.

And so it is that we will never know the truth about Fast and Furious or voter fraud or the new names used by the old Acorn or who put the pork in the Fiscal Cliff deal or who opened the emergency exit door of the theater for Holmes or why bankers can rip off billions of dollars and never go to jail or about what the CIA was really doing in Benghazi or why  American arms were found in Egypt heading for Gaza or why, if al Qaeda is on its heels, are they invading Mali or etc., etc., and etc.

So, are we more knowledgeable because we live in the information age or do we only know less about more? It seems to me that we live in a constant state of distraction.

Well, now you know what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

24 thoughts on “Living In The Information Age We Know Less About More

  1. I cannot answer; I’m distracted by today’s news that raise a lot of new questions, and I forgot what were the questions of a week ago.

  2. “Information only become useful if it leads to truth and it can only lead to truth if all questions about the information get answered.”

    Wise words.

    It is ironic that we are drowing in information, everything at our fingertips that learned scholars used to have to go to musty books for, yet we live in an age of extreme popular ignorance.

    1. We get tonnes of information that we wouldn’t have gotten before. The problem is that the people who are allowed to ask the questions that would lead to the truth never get to ask the question because they are distratacted by the lattest information on a different subject.

  3. Information overload… A real problem. People have to be able to pick out threads… to see what so many different things have in common. Unfortunately, that takes intelligence.

    It seems that the information overload has actually become a strategy for the Democrats. Look at the election. They just kept lobbing false accusations (even during the debates) and there’s never enough time to answer with the truth before the next accusation comes. Why do you think Biden interrupted Ryan so often? They depend on people only being able to see the thread of “boy… there sure are a lot of negative things being said about Republicans… that must mean they’re bad.” Those of us who understood the falsity of the accusations reached a different conclusion: “anyone who would lie that often is unfit to hold office.” It’s also the reason the politicians have gone from orderly lawmaking, deliberative lawmaking as intended, to crisis management lawmaking done in back room deals and private negotiations. First we’re pressed up against the Debt Ceiling, then the fiscal cliff, now the sequester and then the debt ceiling again… Didn’t this stuff get handled once upon a time with a legislative process called “budgeting”? One that came complete with legislation that could read and amended and negotiated on the floor of the House and Senate?

    1. You said it better than I did, Pat. For example, before Fox or Congressional investigators can ask and get answers to all the question they have on Benghazi, they are distracted by three or more other hot news items and we never learn the truth about what happened in Benghazi and why.

  4. I measure the damage that the masses can inflict under a democratic system by how much they don’t know. Under the information age, what the masses do not know has increased considerably compounded by what they know erroneously (internet information).

    Or as Donald Rumsfeld would say, the “known unknowns” minority can now more easily take advantage and exploit the “unknown unknown” crowd (the masses) and re-write to their advantage the “known knowns”.

    1. I hear what you are saying, John. But, what is bugging me is that we get good information but we seldom get completew information because we, or the people who are alowed to ask for further information, get distracted by the next hot topic. When we are left with only part of the answers that is when we are left to fill in the blanks and we sometimes arrive at the wrong answer.

  5. If information is power, then individual citizens have more power than they have ever had before. It is the direct result of the Internet revolution.

    I prove that every time I write an article. I research everything online the day it is written.

    Open government records allowed me to easily answer a question you had about how many U.S. citizens come of working age each month. I could have answered your question over any range of months or years going back to 1947.

    For example…
    Since 1947, each month an average of 181,000 Americans become old enough to join the workforce. The working age population in the U.S. is 2.5 time greater today than in 1947.

    That is power at your fingertips.

    1. You are right, of course, AZ. After rereading my post, I see that I wasn’t clear that I was talking about news. For example, we learn about Fast and Furious or we learn that Benghazi was a CIA outpost, But those who are alowed to ask questions never finish their investigations because they are always other breaking stories to distract them. You and I don’t get to ask the question that are on our minds. The result is that we are left only part of the answers and so we never have a complete story.

  6. Yes, to answer your question directly, we are more knowledgeable. We have access to information that we never would have had in years past. Sure, there’s erroneous or even disinformation out there but I don’t find it too difficult to weed that out.

    The so-called “low-information voter” can be swayed either by ignorance or disinformation so I don’t know that can really measure the impact on them. They still vote the wrong way regardless of how they got there.

    I wouldn’t trade the access for anything, particularly in your case Jim. Being an ex-pat, you must be most appreciative of the information access you have to keep us tuning in everyday to read your blog.

    Can you imagine the ease that an ideologue such as Obama would have in putting his agenda in warp overdrive if people like us didn’t have the world at our fingertips?

    1. I don’t mean to complain about the information we have access to thanks to the internet. What I am complaining about is that the holes in the information can only be filled by reporters and/or congressmen demanding answers to the questions we have. But, they are too soon distracted by the next hot issue. We are left knowing a little about a lot of things and a lot of unfinished stories. Am I guess I am being childish? The more information I have the more I want.

  7. Other than Fox, the MSM avoids asking the right questions. Fox and others may ask the questions, but before they can ferret out answers they are off on the lattest hot topic and the previous story goes cold.

  8. It’s the MSM that’s to blame. Now, they’re on their way out into the dustbin of history, but still, too many people rely on them.

    If Fast & Furious had occurred under Premier Bush, it would’ve been an international scandal. Under Obama, an act of war against Mexico is treated like a mild hiccup. The way they craft a narrative–and leave stuff out–is the big source of our information overload.

  9. That is a very interesting question Jim and I don’t have the answer. One would naturally think that because we have access to so much information that we are better in tune with the issues, but what if the politicians realize this as well and use all this information to distract us and keep us chasing their tails? They throw so much at us and much of it is distraction and diversion while they keep doing whatever they want to. It is up to us to decypher what is real and what is manufactured I guess. And that can be a daunting task as we look to pick our battles.

  10. As a result of the Information Age, students and parents today have little regard for memorizing facts. They say, “We can always look it up on the web.”

    Then comes that day when the students have to write a timed essay for the SAT so as to get into the university. Without a bank of facts, the students are reduced to writing personal anecdotes, some of which are fine but most of which are trite and superficial.

    1. Reading is not the same as comprehending and writing is not the same as communicating. Knowing how to find information in the internet is one thing. Knowing how to use that information is something else.

  11. There is no simple answer, but there is an answer.

    There is knowledge, there is understanding, and there is wisdom. Then there is the choice in doing something about what we know.

    The Full Original Copy of the Serenity Prayer
    by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

    God, give us grace to accept with serenity
    the things that cannot be changed,
    Courage to change the things
    which should be changed,
    and the Wisdom to distinguish
    the one from the other.

    Living one day at a time,
    Enjoying one moment at a time,
    Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
    Taking, as Jesus did,
    This sinful world as it is,
    Not as I would have it,
    Trusting that You will make all things right,
    If I surrender to Your will,
    So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
    And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


    Because we perceive news as entertainment, we allow ourselves to be saturated with information we can not possibly use. Because we allow ourselves to be made to feel guilty about things that are not our concern, we worry about things we cannot change.

    The beauty of limited government is that we let people run their own lives. Then, instead of worrying so about “neighbors” on the other side of the country or the other side of the world, we worry about the ones next door.

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