Infomagical Challenge 3: Magical Brain
This is Challenge Three of Note to Self's Infomagical project. To learn more and sign up, visit wnyc.org/infomagical. If you want to hear how it's going for the thousands of other people participating, our hashtag is #infomagical. Yes, we do see the irony.
Here's a link to our custom emoji.
No, you didn't read it. No, you haven't seen it. No, you somehow managed to miss that one.
Let's practice: "I was spending my time doing something else."
Your instructions: Today, you will avoid clicking on something "everyone is talking about" unless it contributes to your information goal. This might be trending topic or a "must read" or whichever article or video or .GIF everyone in your world is sharing. You've got a strict rule in place: "If this does not make me [insert your Infomagical week goal here], I won't click."
Even the woman who discovered the most memorable meme of all time (argue the point, we dare you) knows that she needs to take a break sometimes.
If it starts to feel itchy, remember: Endless information does not make you better informed. According to historian Ann Blair, author of "Too Much To Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age," this is a lesson literate people have struggled to learn since the advent of the printed word. Blair says our ambivalence would sound familiar to scholars in the thirteenth century. People felt both grateful for the new wealth of information at their fingertips, and so overwhelmed that they started creating cheat-sheets, "best of lists," and signing their letters "in haste."
The settled-upon solution hundreds of years ago was to exercise a faculty called "judgment." Back then, it meant the best Latin scholars didn't copy everything out of Aristotle, they only chose the bits that meant the most for what they were working on. Today, Blair thinks the trick might be exactly the same: decide what you're doing, commit to it, and make choices.
Listen above for more.
And judge away!
P.S. The Lenny Letter Manoush mentions about endometriosis is divided up into articles here. Open only if reading 9,000 words about an under-diagnosed women's health issue fits into your goal for the week. OK, back to judging!