We have access to more information than ever, yet we remain uninformed.
“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”
Reality. We have the exhausting task of dredging through the sludge of information.
It’s also why we’re able to connect so well to Lewis Carroll’s “rabbit hole” in Alice in Wonderland. In today’s culture we, like Alice, free fall down this deep complex hole of information overload.
This is why the industry of minimalism exists. This is why minimalism is so attractive yet so difficult to achieve.
Too Much Information = Ignorance
Somehow as we have acquired access to unlimited information, we have also acquired greater ignorance. This is counterintuitive. How can we now have the ability to know everything instantly, but it still doesn’t dispel ignorance?
Responsiveness is the key. I recently read that there are three requirements to being responsive. They are caring, validation, and understanding. I think I could summarize those three into one act. Listening. If you’re truly listening, you are caring about what you hear. You are validating or confirming the information. Through your validation you come to a place of understanding. So why must it be so hard to listen?
Like minimalism, a whole industry for listening can be found in the self-help sector.
Both minimalism and active listening preach awareness. I love that in biblical times the people would name places and landmarks based on the experience they had there. What an exclamation of awareness! In Genesis 34 Jacob labels the place El Bethel because it was where God revealed himself to him. Even their given names were changed based on their experiences. After wrestling with God, don’t you think Jacob’s eyes were opened when his name was changed to Israel, because he struggled with God and humans and he overcame (Genesis 32). His identity was built on that awareness.
We can take it a step further to see God even identified with numerous different names depending on the characteristics he was exhibiting. I’m jealous of the clarity these biblical people portrayed. This clarity requires a humble awareness in recognizing the circumstances one is facing and their response to that experience.
When I’m consumed with every piece from every informational feed I grow tired. When I’m tired in this world I lose my awareness. When I lose my awareness I grow self-serving and greedy. After falling down this rabbit-hole I find myself ignorant and unresponsive.
Name Your Experience
Reflect on your current circumstance, what would you name it? Name it, accept it, and trust God to lead you through it. In what area have you lost awareness? It’s a constant struggle and we need guidance.
We’re a kinder, more thoughtful people when we take time to reflect on our experiences.
May we be more self-aware, relationally-aware, and culturally-aware.