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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Info Burn
Jonathan Pait
October 2, 2001

Are you suffering from information overload?

Since the attack on the World Trade Center, many Americans have been glued to the news services to learn what happened, what is taking place and what the plans for the future may be. We find ourselves concerned with protecting our shores, our economy and our way of life. Of course, there is also that ever present question, “When are we going to do something to strike back?”

Those of us who are news junkies to begin with are susceptible to having brain burn in situations like this. If our brains would handle it, we would be visiting our favorite news sites on the Web while listening to talk radio, watching 24 hour cable news and thumbing through news magazines and papers all at the same time!

Do you ever ask yourself, “What difference does it make? Who cares if I know anything? Does knowing when we plan to attack a terrorist cell make any difference in the outcome? When a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The answer—to the first questions—is that really it makes no difference.

So we ask, “Why?” Why do we do it? Are we addicted to information? Perhaps that is the answer. Some psychiatrist reading this could probably give us a name for the disorder. Maybe there is even a support group we can go to for help in overcoming the complex.

No, it must be because deep inside, we are people of action. Very few people ever have the opportunity to impact world events. It can be frustrating to those who want to act and make a difference but who are just one small voice among millions. This drives us to live out our desires vicariously. Our minds pace the floor when we read of actions by those in power that conflict with our own conclusions. We exclaim, “Yes!” with a pump of the fist when we read or hear of one of those leaders acting on what we ourselves have thought.

Well, this news junkie is tired. Talk radio seems like nothing but more of the same. The cable news talking heads are starting to get on my nerves. Web sites seem to be caught in an infinite loop of information—or misinformation.

Maybe a break from it all is in order. It sure is beautiful outside. The leaves are just beginning to change on the dogwoods. Some Haydn or Beethoven would sound good during a drive through the mountains. Or maybe just some silence among the turning leaves. Who knows, out there could be the answer to that age-old question about falling trees.

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