There was a time not long ago, less than two decades perhaps, in which we looked to the future of a digitally interconnected species, worldwide. We believed then that famine, war, and daily strife would all but be eliminated, information the saving grace of the human race.
With satellite imagery we could greatly increase global crop yield and with internet-based communication, improve distribution. With real-time digital photography rogue military regimes could no longer get away with ethnic cleansing for the world would be aware, instantly, and take action to make it stop. Somehow, we believed, our cell phones would make us more connected, as individuals, towns, and nations.
Yet we now know things have simply not worked out as we had hoped.
I don’t need to quote the facts, for that is the heart of the issue. We simply receive too much information and for the overwhelming processing of it all, we filter and we turn away. Or we shut down.
If each of us was wet-wired, Matrix-style, to a massive computer which provided all the information we desired, real-time video feeds of every catastrophe and military invasion and non-wartime action worldwide, they would continue. In fact, they do.
It’s not for lack of compassion nor a desire to do the right thing, but the reality that it simply takes too much energy, too much time, too much empathy to open ourselves to the quagmire that unfolds when we learn that no human conflict on any scale is simple in its form nor easy to resolve.
Too much information is available to us. Too much information is required to truly engage and understand. Instead, we pick a side given the little we do know, and defend our position because we struggle to simply say, “I don’t know.”