I Can’t Think! , The Twitterization of our culture or how constant input gives many of us a techno brain freeze
So much for the ideal of making well-informed decisions. For earlier generations, that mean simply the due diligence of looking things up in a reference book. Today, with Twitter and Facebook and countless apps fed into our smart phones, the flow of facts and opinion never stops. That can be a good thing, as when information empowers workers and consumers, not to mention whistle-blowers and revolutionaries. You can find out a used car’s accident history, a doctor’s malpractice record, a restaurant’s health-inspection results. Yet research like Dimoka’s is showing that a surfeit of information is changing the way we think, not always for the better. Maybe you consulted scores of travel websites to pick a vacation spot—only to be so overwhelmed with information that you opted for a staycation. Maybe you were this close to choosing a college, when suddenly older friends swamped your inbox with all the reasons to go somewhere else—which made you completely forget why you’d chosen the other school. Maybe you had the Date From Hell after being so inundated with information on “matches” that you chose at random. If so, then you are a victim of info-paralysis.
The problem has been creeping up on us for a long time. In the 17th century Leibniz bemoaned the “horrible mass of books which keeps on growing,” and in 1729 Alexander Pope warned of “a deluge of authors cover[ing] the land,” as James Gleick describes in his new book, The Information.
I was around and was very aware of decision-making, and the responsibility of gathering information and making decisions, before Twitter or texting came along. It did not seem much easier back then, than it does now. I confess I’ll shut down any distraction from e-mails to coworkers, if it all starts to get on my nerves. Most people think there will be consequences. You’re friends will stop liking you. Some are even concerned complete strangers will not like them. There are ways to take an instant mental retreat without seeming rude. Establish the necessity for such breaks as part of your personality – having lots of people establish this rule makes it the new culture. Intrusions or actually unrealistic expectations of immediate response to every text are rude. Maybe even needy in non-emergencies. The expectations of the Twitter generation are destined for a backlash. Not all of everyone’s moments belong to others. Don’t intrude on my day dreams. Day dreams are underrated as relaxation, a way to recharge and a way to tap into new ideas. Not everything that happens requires that someone else has an opinion. Does anyone really want the opinion of someone who is always connected, but never reflective .
The books analogy seems a stretch. If you read a book that you really take an interests in you have to digest it. Turn around the thoughts, actions, emotions, characters, philosophy and loads of details in your mind, than you can discuss it. If you can find someone who is willing to listen.
I don’t like to write about Israeli-Palestinian issues. There are other bloggers and magazine writers who cover the subject much better than I could. There being an exception to every rule this post about the current leader among potential Republicans presidential candidates caught my eye. Sure, Democrats and Republicans frequently only give lip service to the two state solution, but in theory it is a reasonable solution. Not for Mike Huckabee, Rev. Mike Huckabee-Style Foreign Policy
He says that Jews have the right to rule “the place that God gave them,” and that the Muslim world ought to find some other spot for squatters on the Chosen People’s land. “The Jewish people have indigenous rights to the land in which they occupy and live and it goes back not 60 years or 80 years but it goes back 3,500 years.” What’s more, in true God expert style, he vilified everyone who disagrees with him as racist: “To tell Jewish people, ‘You cannot live here, you cannot raise your children here,’ this is the true racism, this is apartheid,” said Huckabee. “I cannot imagine as an American being told that I could not live in certain places in America because I was Christian, or because I was white, or because I spoke English.”
The place that a god gave them? That requires a little knowledge of ancient and modern geography. As the writer of this article notes it is best not to dismiss Huckabee’s opinions on religious matters as pandering to certain right-leaning fundamentalists. Huckabee has been fairly consistent in acting on his beliefs when he could as governor.
There are many concepts in the Bible that are a little vague or ambiguous, but the borders of Israel isn’t one of them. Genesis explicitly states that:
In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
There can’t be much doubt that the river of Egypt is the Nile. As shown on the map, the territory from there to the Euphrates would encompass all of today’s Syria and Jordan, and huge chunks of Egypt and Iraq as well – including most of the Iraqi oil fields, which must be why God placed them there. What this particular mapmaker overlooked, though, was the list of peoples God put under Jewish control. We don’t know much today about the Perizzites, but we know a lot about the Hittites, and what we know tells us that God gave the Jews control over lands extending all the way north into central Turkey.
Does Rev. Huckabee really mean to expand Israel’s borders from Cairo to Basra to Ankara?
Unfortunately there are people who are ready for a U.S. foreign policy which includes executing, in whatever ways Huckabee would decree – endless war and squandering even more American financial resources, to create an Israel with the geographic borders defined. Why? Not because right-wing fundamentalists in the U.S. have suddenly discovered a love of Jews ( theologically most still believe Jews are doomed to eternal damnation), but because the territory of Israel is the launching pad for the end-times. You can’t have the launch pad occupied by Muslims.
Horse sculpture by Doug Owen. You can visit Mr. Owen’s site here. It’s in flash with a book you can flip through as he takes you through the process of finding the discarded metal he uses to make his horses.