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Essential Filters: Knowing When To Turn Off or Tune Out

August 14, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

When violated, our norms undergo one of two processes: “explain & maintain” or “adjust and reform.” Such adjustments occur automatically when our sense of expectation has been altered, moments when even our most exaggerated notions fail to include an event. These are profound moments, events whose details are so violent, so stunning that we must adjust our sense of the world. Altering our norms is the powerful reactions to these moments and occur as a requirement of these moments. Tasked with tragedy we must assess and draw conclusions, working to change who we are in order to better meet potential events.

In this sense, major moments take on “major” status only after we undergo this procedure. Our outer shells are essential for our interpretation and as we consider and re-hash our notions we begin the gradual process of understanding. This may be obvious, but while the common perspective that experience develops instantaneously it is only our personal explanation of our experience that determines reactions.

These “personal” responses are only part of the process. We also are subject to the responses of others and tailor our perspectives to the responses of those around us. While earlier generations had limited outside influences, contemporary culture is defined by the plethora of perspectives available. One could absorb and consider different perspectives forever, creating a situation where a definitive position is impossible. Given that this option is available, do we exist in a culture where definitive perspectives must come at a point of selective ignorance? Must we decide that our absorption of information is suitable for our reaction? It is impossible to gather all perspectives and though they are available, we must choose to disregard certain pieces of information in order to make a decision.

This act of filtering is a new process that contemporary society has imposed on citizens. Largely at the hands of technology, this responsibility to look away from the information is a symptom of our incredible progress as a society. Paradoxically this need to disregard info comes from a cadre of tools that provide too much information at too fast a rate for our brains to consider. Our brains are far behind the capabilities of technology. Media often muses on technologies power over users but I would argue that the power struggle has long been handed to technology. In terms of information reception, gadgets are capable of doing far more faster than its humble users.

Though power has been lost, users have the ability to filter information. This is the saving grace for human kind: the ability to turn off or tune out is the key ability in the battle. Utilize a filter and make a decision. Though you don’t know every detail, rest confidence in your sense of knowing enough and the eternal possibility of revision. The info is always there and waiting for attention.

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