Feeling any overload lately?
A superabundance of information defines these times. Who could wish it otherwise? But alas, much as with food, there are instincts to consume whenever possible, partly because until recently the objects were scarce, and partly because now there are a lot of empty calories out there. In an age of superabundant information, can you still afford to waste your attention? Can tuning out with entertainment just make matters worse? There is a paradox that the solution to too much information is more information. That may include social networks, tags, filters, and other such metadata, but because the role of those is to give better scope, it may also include the world itself. The world informs, often provides cues, sometimes restores, and generally gives media something more interesting to be about.
So instead of adding to the overload problem, taking notice of surroundings may be part of the solution. This is something much more than mental health breaks. And if this is something you have been suspecting, as the media flood ever more contexts of life, the inconvenience of sitting down with this slow, old fashioned print book may bring some helpful longterm change. Just please don’t expect some breezy self-help answers about how “we” think. On the other hand don’t expect long-winded academic critical theory. If this were that, you would not even have read this far. Instead please just consider an invitation to come along on one curious writer’s inquiry into the remarkable sciences of attention, and the strangely changing world of ambient media.