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Consuming

Talking to a friend last week, an interesting idea came up: We don’t just consume information, information also consumes us.

My attention is a scarce resource, and different ideas, media, schools of thought, compete for it. (This is what makes multidisciplinarity hard).

It makes me think twice about metaphors for learning that compare research and knowledge acquisition to foraging for food. What if, instead of likening ourselves to the predators and farmers, we liken ourselves to the prey and the farmed.

There’s plenty of discussion of memes as pseudo-genetic entities (evolving, reproducing, self-transmitting)… but underlying this is the idea that we are the medium of transmission, we are the host to the virus.

It certainly puts a new spin on the way I look at sites like All Consuming.

I don’t like this metaphor of being consumed, it feels too passive and fatalistic to me. But maybe it’s true.

2 Comments

  1. Quote: We donít just consume information, information also consumes us.

    I can appreciate that perspective. In fact, I disconnected my television a few months ago because I was tired of having conventional thinking beamed into my brain. (Some shows did rise above our cultural noise, but not very far; television is a business and it can’t afford to say anything that will seriously rock the boat.)

    Quote: I donít like this metaphor of being consumed, it feels too passive and fatalistic to me. But maybe itís true.

    It was coming true for me. That’s why my television can only display snow these days.

    Posted on 03-Oct-06 at 08:11 | Permalink
  2. mote

    Yes, I haven’t owned a TV for the past… 10 years or so? I don’t think I really miss it.

    But then, there’s plenty of other things that demand attention besides TV… thankfully not as many of them operate on the same self-serving, business-driven principles that the TV networks do =)

    Posted on 03-Oct-06 at 10:04 | Permalink