Thursday, January 29, 2009

When does too much become too much

Today there are hundreds, if not thousands, if not millions of places to get information.  I'm guilty of being something of an info-monger.  I read news and opinion off the net, I listen to news radio, I rarely have less than a dozen non-fiction books checked out of the library, I use Google alerts and rss readers, I listen to audio books, I blog, I post, I observe, I wonder.  I can't say why I do it.  I just like to consume info.  The only problem is that more info is just more data.  But when does information become actionable?  Probably most of it never does.  If you think like David Hume, then none of it matters anyway because without cause and effect, what is the point of studying anything? 
This morning as I was driving back after dropping my kids off at school on the radio I was listening to Tom Keene interviewing some Nobel Laureate in economics from some school.  He is in Davos, Switzerland and the World Economic Forum and he mentioned George Soros referencing Karl Popper as he talked abou the current financial crisis.  I think if there is one person in the world who understands what is going on, and who would be able to get us out of the current crisis, it's George Soros.  He's pretty smart for a billionaire (sic).  So now that I know Soros studied Popper who is a philosopher who had a run in with Wittgenstein, who was influenced in part by David Hume.  I know a bit about these giants among men.  Is any of this information actionable, besides a random comment on some totally obscure blog?  I'll save that thought for later.

1 comment:

  1. Collecting information day after day, no matter what the pace, could bring a benefit or not. I think it is the basic idea behind school. At school, lectures are often boring and unproductive. It is only when you are tested on the material or explore the info you learned by discussing it with others. It's kind of like street smarts and book smarts. I'll take the street smarts any day of the week because that kind of knowledge is information being used or actionable information. Passive learning is a waste of time. If you don't do anything with the stuff you consume, then you might as well not have taken the time to explore it in the first place. Luckily most of us live a long time and get the chance to use our brains. The more we act, the better. The more we know, the better we act.


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