One of the bigger challenges we are confronted with in our times is seeing the available information.
It is work that is overwhelming.
The flow of data is broad, interesting in many ways, often desired. But there is now much more need to categorize it than it was necessary while I was growing up. Looking back to that time, trusted sources of information meant more than only being able to trust them. A trusted source of information was clear about the purpose it could serve.
A quick categorization might have been: data that was available to inform me, information helping to make sense of what was happening, and information describing the shared experience.
Today, it is interesting to observe how this is becoming mixed up.
It appears for example in articles providing information and at the same time explaining what it means. It is a manifestation of how challenging understanding information has become.
The internet has become the space in which everyone can share some “information”. And we receive them in all available shades. Facts are embedded into opinion pieces to provide news. Pragmatic and yet often uninformed ideas are being shared as solutions. Feelings transform the way evaluations are shared, regularly leading to stereotyped judgments. Social media then becomes the place where everyone can relay such data calling it valuable or read-worthy information. It’s naturally read-worthy if I’m interested in gathering other people’s opinions. It is much less worth reading if what I’m trying to do is to get an overview of the situation and be informed of its facts.
This is a difficult task, there are no clear boundaries as we may have different approaches to make sense of a situation or the news. It very much makes sense to find oneself confronted with opinions others have to help me make up my mind. It is also very helpful to get an idea of the emotions people felt when they shared what they’ve heard. That is how I know the atmosphere of a crowd and enable myself to react to it. But I also have to put that information into a structured understanding of what the situation is.
It’s for example not possible anymore to have an unbiased perception of the AstraZeneca vaccine as it stands now. The data has become mixed up with the story and how people feel about it. To make up our minds requires us to go back to the research data. It also requires disconnecting that reading from the trust we have in the product and those involved in distributing it. Last but not least, we have to use available statistics as well as our opinion as to what society needs now to decide on using the product. That is hard work.
Having complex information and complex situations, it quickly becomes challenging to make up our mind on all the things we need to decide on.
Being able to align the data is essential.
Making sense of our environment and complex world requires us to learn to sort through information. It is about being clear as to what we need to understand and thus what type of information is adequate to fulfill our need to make sense of what is happening around us.
While there are still quite a lot of people helping us do this, it has become harder to find them.
Should you wonder:
What I’m trying to do with this blog isn’t providing answers, it is much more to create questions and review assumptions. It’s an invitation to think and have a choice.