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The Cost of Information

Dennis Brotzky
January 6th, 2014 · 1 min read
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I’ve become a fascist when it comes to information intake. I haven’t owned a TV in over a decade (And, no, I don’t have Netflix). I’ve seen two seasons each of Breaking Bad (the horror!) and Game of Thrones. In the car, I listen to classical radio, because the only people they talk about are dead. I’ve built a firewall against news so that the only things that get through are tsunami warnings (@NOAA) and early warning signs for the zombie apocalypse (@CDCgov). My dream house would be free of branding right down to the refrigerator (imagine a refrigerator placed in the 18th century—no labels, plastic, or non-reusable wrappers. That’s my fridge.).

Five years ago, 500 channels of cable-TV was a luxury, today, it’s just more noise. Follow the more-is-better approach to information and you’ll quickly run into the law of diminishing returns. It’s not that the information itself is bad. Some of it might actually be useful or entertaining. It’s the passive non-critical way we take it all in that I find frightening. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but whenever I catch myself reading another celebrity top 10 list, a part of me dies inside. “How did I get here?” “Was this the most interesting thing I could be doing?” This is the voice of my inner Luddite.

The irony is that I love knowledge.

I read voraciously and have ever since I discovered the library. I’m an avid listener of music and love exploring its genealogies. I’ve even had a few years where I watched more than 200 films, which is around movie critic range. I love media. I just don’t like being bothered by it.

We’re slowly getting date-raped by information. We think it’s our friend, that it has benign intentions, but all it wants to do is fuck us. And the only defense against it is an all-out reclamation of our boundaries.

Let’s all have a moment of silence. The stream can wait.

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