Some Much Information, So Little Use…

I remember writing my first real essay in high school in the early 1960s. I don’t remember what the topic was, but I was determined to do a good job of it. To do that, I needed more information about my subject than the small rural high school library had. In fact, it didn’t have anything about my subject. To get the info I wanted I had to go to the big town of about 20,000 people to visit the public library there. I couldn’t do that until dad made his weekly visit to the laundromat there on Saturday. Since the paper was due on Monday, it meant that I would have to spend most of the weekend writing it.

Fast-forward to today and just about any subject you can think of you can get the info almost immediately through a number of search engines on the Internet. Dozens of sources will instantly appear that are directed at your specific topic. I spent hours on my first essay but I kinda think most high school kids now spend minutes. Most will simply copy some info from those instantaneous sources and paste it onto their essay, and hope that the teacher doesn’t check for plagiarism. Essays are now eazy-peesy, or whatever the slang for that is today.

Is this instant access to information a good thing or a bad thing? As usual, a little of both. Yes, it makes gaining knowledge a good thing but now we must figure out whether that knowledge is fact or fiction. Anybody, including me, can put whatever they want out there and if enough people believe it, it becomes their “knowledge”. Just look at what the current Oval Office occupant puts out there every day. The vast majority of it is true only in his self-contained narcissist world but unfortunately, there are enough proudly ignorant lazy minded people out there who also happily latch onto it as their truth.

Another good thing is that many different points of view are now readily available for someone who wants to learn as much as possible. But, for some this almost overwhelming flow of information means that they can latch onto a particular information source and disregard everything else. Of course, Fox News immediately comes to mind as the primary example. All you have to do is to bookmark those sites in your browser and you will never be exposed to any alternate view. That is likely the reason that we have become a “Us vs Them” world. It’s just too easy to see the things that only support your current beliefs.

Yet another good thing about this free flow of information is that we can celebrate a wide diversity of views. RJsCorner certainly would not exist if people did not accept that premise. I recognize that my view of the world is often quite different from most neurotypicals out there. Some celebrate that diversity, some ignore it and others sadly fight against it.

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