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Unrestricted access to insight is destroying my capacity for original thinking.  Too much insightful, intelligent and appealing content is within my grasp. The more such content I consume, the less I can digest. This can’t continue.

In the past six months, I have sought out insight. The likes of Tyler Cowen, Seth Godin, the Browser, Paul Krugman, Tim Ferris and TechCruch provide a plethora of invaluable information as my interests diverge into law, economics, politics, marketing, blogging, and technology.

New sources are always desirable. This week I added venture capitalist Paul Graham as well as China-focused blogs China Solved and China Law Blog. In choosing these three candidates, a dozen others were deemed unworthy. For example, I weighed whether uncouth, entertaining TuckerMax should make the cut, but decided it didn’t have enough heft to sustain my interest.

After each insight, I feel I should reduce and record. I should write a pithy ‘rule’ to remind me of the lesson. And then the next post comes within reach, the next thought bomb goes off and the older flash of insight is destroyed by the newest nugget. Within ten minutes, the previous insight is lost forever.

This transient thought cycle is destroying my ability to think. Since every insight is replaced by new content (often in an unconnected field) the time to form a deep association between the insight and my existing knowledge may be mere milliseconds. Little can survive such excessive demands.

For all my eagerness (and excessive spare time) skimming the surface of topics to pick up an understanding is not developing my own capacity. Instead it promotes a superficial approach that makes me a curator and connoisseur of second-hand insights. I don’t mean to demean the curator; but no one would say the curator was on par with the artist.

The solution, as in all cases of gluttony, is a diet. In this case, the purge is twofold. I must (reluctantly) identify bloggers to remove from daily consumption. The broad eclectic range of topics must be trimmed down to a manageable list. I intend to do this by finding reliable curators to whom I can abdicate the search for fresh content.

I must also rid myself of the method of jumping from source to source. While it’s not possible to give each insight the time it deserves, I can stop to write a line about those pressing forward their claim to be fixed in my memory. I believe that returning to my blog will help achieve this.

It is clear that the current informational abundance cannot continue. I need to tie together more threads through my own thinking and analysis to obtain true knowledge, develop my understanding of the world and, within that world, my place.

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One Comment

    • shelley
    • Posted September 29, 2010 at 6:44 pm
    • Permalink

    so very true.. i see my reflection on u.. great idea u’ve proposed.. i’ve begun it too..


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