(first published Oct 31, 2012)
*I decided to republish this piece after watching the CNN coverage of the capture of the second Boston terrorist and the president’s speech about information-gathering. We are all information creatures, as this piece pointed out. Every day we seek info of various kinds on various levels. That search is ongoing and often coincides with our other exploration of the missing pieces in our life. Think about the information missing in your own day and life that you yourself search for. As metaphor, the information quest covers a lot of our experience and lives.
“Infinite possibility is good, not bad.” –James Gleick, The Information
What do you know? What do you want to know or need to know in a given moment or situation? ‘The Information’.
You could be an executor dealing with a parent’s estate and phoning various people and companies to get information. You could be a parent telling a child how something works or why something is the way it is. You could be the same child learning what happens when you topple building blocks. You could be a student taking an evening class on intuition, trying to learn more about how it may work.
But always the quest to know, to get, to use, or understand some kind of information.
I think even the quest for relationships or a special someone who might be your ultimate partner in life falls along the same lines as another kind of information we seek. Getting to know someone, find out about someone, getting close/r to them. In our relationship choices, we want to know what makes that person ‘tick’. We want to see if they sync with us in attitudes, behavior, values, and tastes. ‘The Information’, the lowdown on them.
So much then, simply comes down to the information about something, someone, some process, some area. Our perpetual and restless curiosity that keeps us searching daily and over long periods of time.
Some of these information quests are themed as in the case of say an image or adopted totem, such as owls, that seems to ‘take over” our interests and sometimes become passions, even obsessions. And, in turn, the information we seek tells us much about ourselves–who we are, what makes us ‘tick’, what motivates us, and what makes us unique as individuals. The information that defines us.
A day in the life. I need to begin it by writing this blog entry about information, a topic which has emerged early in my morning coffee consciousness and ruminations. Information that bubbled up. Information to be recorded. Information to be shared. Like all the other info of this blog so far…
Many thanks to my writing partner and friend for his timely Christmas 2011 gift of a book, The Information by James Gleick, which has continued to resonate and produce more awareness of how much of our lives and life quests center around information. The author’s bent is historical, scientific and mathematical, but the potential spinoffs from the thesis are potentially astounding and downright epiphanic. It is no wonder that information technology and e-information have become so central to our age. I believe there is a power and application well beyond the book’s initial intentions which I have tried to articulate in this entry above.
Our minds, bodies, sense, feelings, spirits, and souls are constantly processing information from a world of sources. Life and whatever understandings we arrive at are not just one thing but a multiplicity of layers and levels of experiential information. I believe that once we understand and appreciate that we are receiving and sending information from many sources that we will better understand ourselves and how we might become more attuned to that wealth of information which many times threatens to swamp us and literally boggle our minds. (“I am large… I contain multitudes.” –Whitman)
To adapt an old quotation (“The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your thoughts.”), The quality of your life is determined by the information of/in your life and an understanding, appreciation, and expression of that information. In that, potentially–Maslow’s “self-actualization”, personal fulfillment, happiness, and the potential for true, significant connections.
ps/ Of course, whatever incoming information has to be filtered, sometimes critically questioned, examined for truth and personal usefulness and positive applicability. In much the same way, whatever information is expressed requires that it be beautiful, true, honest, heartfelt, or necessary in some way.
The matter of what information becomes personally meaningful, knowledge or wisdom is finally left to each individual. In the end, personal choice and the limits and limitations built into each person come into play. And so many other factors including such qualities as imagination, empathy, sympathy, and love.