Information: Food for the mind

Writing Motivation

As of a few days ago, Canzhi and are accountabilibuddies to publish something publicly at least 3 times a week for a month.

As I observe the world slowing down during the coronavirus pandemic, I’m trying to use this as an opportunity to slow down my own mental life as well. There’s a lockdown in Tokyo so the pressure to leave my home to indulge in new experiences is mostly gone.

What I’ve been pondering:

Food for the mind

It’s fascinating to me that humans have biologically remained the same since leaving Africa 50,000 years ago. A quote I like from Stephen Jay Gould, a Harvard paleontologist: “There have been no biological changes. Everything we’ve called culture and civilization we’ve built with the same body and brain.” In other words, the primary difference between modern society and early human society is the thoughts people have (and the actions that they take as a result of thinking differently).

In many ways the it feels like the world is getting smaller and moving faster than ever before. We’re living in an time of extreme information and communication abundance. Communication and information tools like Wikipedia, YouTube, Twitter, and Instant Messaging have stirred vast advancements and changes int the past 15 years. It’s interesting to consider what the implication of these types of tools will be on the next 100 years.

To me, all of this is just a nice to reminder that the information one consumes (intentionally or not) drives the human experience. Our environments and the information these environments create for our mind so heavily drive our concept of “the world” and the actions people take as a result. This information comes from the things we choose to read, the people who choose to spend time with, and the broader zeitgeist of what people as a whole think is “important.” I’m excited to see what new possibilities emerge from this recent increase in information and communication abundance.

Related to information abundance, I liked this quote from Globalization: A Very Short Introduction by Manfred B. Steger:

“The greatest challenge facing global studies lies, therefore, in connecting synthesizing the various strands of knowledge in a way that does justice to the increasingly fluid and interdependent nature of our fast-changing post modern world.”

This quote reminds me about the importance of quickly and deeply synthesizing information in a constantly changing world to gain insight.

Interesting Reads

Chang and Eng Bunker - Conjoined Chineese-Thai twins where the term “Simianese Twins” originated from. Fascinating to read about their lives and wonder what it would be like to spend your entire life attached to another person. Also they owned slaves.