We have all used the phrase from time to time when someone has finished telling us the details of something, sometimes personal, that perhaps we didn’t want to hear.
However, I just finished reading an article by Hal Lindsey that takes a different approach. You remember Hal Lindsey? He was rather popular in the 70′s with his books on Bible prophecy.
Now in this article he doesn’t give background to his claims, but giving him the benefit of any doubt, it made for some interesting reading. He opens that he was born during the depression, and says he has seen changes in our country over time, but says, now the rate of change is just so much faster. I can agree that keeping up with one day of news can lead me to some overload.
He also quotes another writer, Alvin Toffler, who wrote Future Shock, defining future shock, “the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time.”
We live in much greater stress and anxiety because of the “exponential rate of change” that is accelerating in our world. The world into which I was born ceased to exist a long time ago. But the change was gradual enough to allow me time to adjust. The world into which people were born in the year 2000 is already disappearing. It will not exist by 2012.
Just try to figure what the impact of the following facts will be. There are 3,000 new books published every single day. We’ve gone from information overload to information explosion. More new information will be generated this year than in the previous five thousand years.
The technical knowledge explosion is governed by Moore’s Law, which says computers will get twice as smart every 18 to 24 months. It takes four years to get a technical degree. By the time a student graduates, his education is virtually obsolete.
Naturally his setting for his point are prophetic books of the Bible and his article continues from there, but, it did make me think. Is the rate of change too fast? Is too much information bad? If there is indeed too much, how come test scores are down and many students today don’t seem to know how to read, write, spell, speak proper English, locate Kansas on a map, or even understand a news article?
I have seen Lindsey’s third point in action, I used to have a neighbor, excellent in his field with a great job in Technology, but having to return to school all the time, just to keep up with the changes in computers. (He loved his linux, but went nuts when he saw I had Barney Doom for my PC – he just had to have it! ) At the time I didn’t even understand what the game was that I had, nor why he was so excited. He was just helping me out with my new computer (Windows 95 Hewlett Packard), but later he informed me, he was subjected to Barney by his children daily, and later I found out, this Barney Doom allowed him to add that to his Doom game, and he could shoot the poor purple Dinosaur at will now. I remember at the time how many hours he put in to his work, and learning the new changes daily. I also remember his wife with stacks of mail as she balanced it all to her door, much of it computer magazines so he could keep up.
I like information. I like learning. But I will admit that I get frustrated that my head refuses to retain it all. Are we on overload?