Information overload

The weeks are fly­ing by. Last one was a week with­out rain, so every night I was out with my water­ing can to take care of the tulips and wannabe veg­etable gar­den. Today moth­er Nature watered the plants for me, which is much eas­i­er. I also got involved in the fight against the dan­de­lions in the grass. As nat­u­ral­ized Brits we obvi­ous­ly have a beau­ti­ful lawn in the back­yard, only slight­ly marred by moss, weeds and the occa­sion­al cat poop. Main­tain­ing it is a dai­ly task that is unfor­tu­nate­ly assigned to no one, but I’m at least com­mit­ted to root­ing out the dan­de­lions.

"Don't walk on the grass..."

Don’t walk on the grass…”

I read an inter­est­ing thought in the book Sane New World from Ruby Wax, a come­di­an who writes about her depres­sion (not kid­ding). It is about how we run away from the big ques­tions about the mean­ing of life:

To com­pen­sate for this under­cur­rent of use­less­ness, we pre­tend we’re all ter­ri­bly impor­tant and that we have some­thing to bring to the world.

She then talks about Twit­ter, which remind­ed me of this video clip from Stro­mae. I do not have Face­book or Twit­ter, but I do have a weblog and a feel­ing that my life should some­how improve the world. But is that as obvi­ous as I think it is? Would it be wrong if I just live — work a lit­tle, water the plants, being hap­py? I have not decid­ed yet. Wax describes anoth­er phe­nom­e­non that is famil­iar to me:

When I have a day off and wake up, I jolt up from the pil­low, pan­ick­ing that I may have noth­ing of impor­tance to do. Maybe this is why I, and peo­ple I know like me, have to keep busy com­pil­ing and end­less ‘Things to Do’ list.

… we have sped up to such a fren­zy of things ‘to do’, we make our­selves ill just to avoid hav­ing to look inside and see that we might not have any point at all. So who is ulti­mate­ly the win­ner? The busy, run­ning peo­ple? Or maybe it’s some­one who sits on a rock and fish­es all day or some­one who has the time to feel the breeze on his face?

She also address­es the ques­tion of how much infor­ma­tion our brains can han­dle. Can we with­stand the con­stant flow of news, emails and tweets that wash­es over us 24 hours a day? And what dif­fer­ence does it make that I know of the earth­quake in Nepal? It is beau­ti­ful that human­i­ty is now so inter­con­nect­ed, and we should help each oth­er where pos­si­ble — but it is clear that we can not get involved in every­thing that goes wrong in the world. At the same time we know about it. A lit­er­al­ly heart­break­ing sit­u­a­tion that makes me feel alter­nate­ly hope­less and jad­ed.

When I start­ed my cur­rent job, I got so exhaust­ed from work­ing on the com­put­er all day that I decid­ed to do noth­ing on the lap­top at home dur­ing the week. We still used it to watch series, and my inten­tion has grad­u­al­ly watered down. Of course I am also bet­ter used to it now. But maybe I’m going to apply the rule a bit more con­sis­tent again. It will give me more time to fin­ish my books. And to pick dan­de­lions in the back­yard.