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We are Drowning

Dr Navniit Gandhi Sunday, May 5, 2019
We are Drowning

Have you anytime felt that sensation as if too much is jammed up and crammed inside our tiny brains? That feeling of fatigue and suffocation when one can’t think straight? Do you feel a kind of heaviness in the mind on some days? Those days when we feel weary and tired; not light and bright, as if there is too much pressure or burden?

The reasons could be many indeed. However, one reason which comes to mind is the loads and loads of junk with which we are filling up our minds. Don’t you think so? There is an explosion of information and our cups are overflowing, even as we are drowning in it. And worse still, the entire extra load of information which we neither sometimes need and nor which is often correct—is turning a large number of people towards pessimism. Of course, there are many other reasons for the pressures and stress and that heaviness in our lives, but one of them certainly is the overdose of information.

Think about it for a moment. There is too much load we carry within us because we know a little bit too much, even as we ceaselessly strive to know still more! We seem to be forever rushing and pushing ourselves far too much to know it all! Be it about politics or about sports or about crimes or about the world of glitz and glamour---we keep digging for information. To make the matters worse, there are giant-sized boulders thrown at us all day long by our friends and family on whatsapp groups. By way of pictures, videos and wisdom-filled messages, we are being crushed under the boulders. As soon as we get up in the morning, we are desperate to check all the messages, and for some of us—it is important to read all of the wise advices and see all the pictures and videos sent on the phone. Then we are eager to check what has transpired on the national and global scene while we were asleep. We want to know how many have been killed or abused or accused of corruption or if there was any mud-slinging that happened between two political or business or Bollywood rivals. We want to know it all, whether it concerns us or not; whether it makes us feel good or terrible; whether we can do anything about any of it or not and whether it is even correct or not.

Somebody has correctly understood the problem and commented: “In the age of technology there is constant access to vast amounts of information. The basket overflows; people get over-whelmed and the eye of the storm is not much about what goes on in the world—but it is the confusion of how to think, feel, digest and react to what goes on.”

All the information that streams in our brain and seeps in our psyche, cannot possibly be digested and certainly not at the same pace at which the information is hitting us. While there is a large dose with which we are involuntarily bombarded, there are also large amounts of info which we deliberately dig and seek. We want to know everything. We keep checking exchange rates, gold prices, weather forecasts, recipes, tips to lose weight, stock prices and even offers and Sales in shops. We try to find the prices of things we have no need or inclination to buy. We read stuff which is not needed or desirable; we speak and seek a lot which is neither needed and nor is relevant or desirable. We keep on googling and checking about events, places, people, and diseases---none of which adds any real value to the quality of our lives.

Don’t you remember and miss those good old days before this information explosion hit us? Those times when we knew little and had limited access to information. We did not know all the developments and on-going events in all parts of the world and yet whatever we knew, we stored and analysed it better. We used that information to understand our nations and communities better or to be better teachers and policymakers. Even letters, greeting cards and messages from friends and family reached us at leisure. And there was a limit to how much could be shared. And because we could not share instantaneously and share unlimited stuff, we were used to expressing our emotions with restraint. There was no rush or pressure. Everything, including information, had its own pace. We were not desperate to know it all and we never felt uneasy about not knowing certain bits of information. Today, information travels at great speed; and there is no limit to the amount of information we wish to convey. Hence we share too much and too fast, and this includes the negative emotions as well.

The heart has begun beating unduly fast. The restless mind has become a reality for most of us. There was a time we did not know what our foods and medicines contained and how the lack of vitamins D and B12 or the lack of sodium or excess of sugar were creating havoc inside our systems. We did not know what the chemicals in foods were doing to us and yet we were never this unwell. We knew little but lived well. Today, we know a lot and yet we are more unwell than ever. Every bit of information is available instantly at the click of a button. How many of us feel good or grateful or blessed just because we can check the symptoms or causes of an ailment instantly on the internet? We can check the composition of tablets and their side-effects but does that matter a lot? Worse, sometimes, the information is incorrect or the matter on the net drives us further sick with worry and fright. And in the process of digging out more and more about carbs and proteins and glucose--- we are burdening the brain; the cup is overflowing and becoming heavier.

Whether it is when we fall sick or when we plan for holidays—we want to know it all. We want to check everything; want to cross-check everything—right up to the minute detail. We are going crazy about gathering information. Whether it is before choosing a Hotel to stay in or before choosing a girl or boy to live with or before choosing a mutual fund to invest in, we want to grab every bit of information and cram our minds with it---in the futile hope that we shall then be safe and secure. However, is it really so?

It is not that we should remain ignorant all the while, but I sometimes cannot help wishing and believing that yes, ignorance was bliss. Today, this sense of bliss eludes us. We feel restless if we do not know. And worse still, when such a lot is stuffed and stored in our brains, the real and relevant information gets buried and lost somewhere. We are often unable to remember birthdays, gestures and love of our loved ones and other crucial details. We read such a lot of whatsapp messages all throughout the day, that we cannot now remember the stories of our own grandparents told to us in our childhood. We either cannot comprehend the pain and woes of our loved ones or we have no time to take cognizance of the pain of those around us or our minds are so very crammed with the woes of the world that we have been desensitised now. Cynicism and depression have set in, because we know too many gory details now of people, nations, foods, events, and situations. And, not much of it adds any value to our own lives. We read; we watch and we seek more.

There was a time when the wise sages advised that the thirst for knowledge makes living worthwhile. However, do remember that they used the word ‘knowledge’, which is far too different from ‘information’. We cram our minds with information; senseless and ceaseless information. We do not strive to elevate that information up to the next level—which is ‘knowledge’. If you are interested in sports and you use the available information to actually play or to analyse pointedly and write your inputs in an article---then that information has added value to your life.

We are not fully immersed in anything. While we are doing one thing, the mind is running about trying to gather some information about something else. While at work, we want to have the information what are the maids and our kids doing! While sending our kids to schools and tuition, we tell them to keep the mobiles with them so that they can inform us of all their whereabouts. It would be good to remember that if we have access to information about them because we have given them cell phones, then they have access to all sorts of information about everything else because we have given them the cell phones.

‘Information overload is a symptom of our desire to not focus on what is really important. It is a choice.’ -Brian Solis

Do you want to be overloaded and drown?

Dr. Navniit Gandhi is an academic, writer, author and a trainer/counsellor. Her write-ups can be read at
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Express your comment on this article

Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Simply superb mam. You deserve a great applaud for showering such a great reality. Though the caption of your article was so catchy., yet I ignored almost 3-5 times by seeing the length of article. Yet something was tickling and reminding my mind i.e "i should read and know whats it all about" and yes...its worth reading it and iam glad I did. "its a article comprising information about various horizons of information which gives you vital information that gathering information alone is not life"

Monday, May 6, 2019

Pls read

Sunday, May 5, 2019
Nice Article ! Nowadays our brains are ruled by gadgets and Internet. Thank god. .. In our childhood days we never had such addictions.

Sunday, May 5, 2019
More is less...we receive information without caring to filter it either because we choose to do it or because we feel it is irrelevant.Filtering information and using it carefully with a sense of purpose to better our''s and other''s life is knowledge..which gives u power over urself...information is a tool..knowledge is power.

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