Geography of the Mind

Navigating a toxic culture...

We live in a time with so much information bombarding the wired and wireless world, the old and new media, online and offline life, that if we are not discriminating and filter a lot of it out we become overloaded. So much of it is like zany Morning Zoo radio that our minds drive time in the wrong direction, on roads that either lead us endlessly to nowhere or to dead ends. It is up to us to distinguish what we are exposed to, distilling the stream of data flowing in, to avoid pollution of our intellect.

This can be difficult to do but critical since more than we cognizantly recognize, our everyday lives are affected by what we see and hear, consciously or not. It has the ability to affect our judgment and perceptions more than we realize. There is a menu of junk for the brain readily available that damages our mind just as much as fast food does our body. Much like surface-radiation inversion creates a bad air quality cloud over an urban area, too much mix of poisonous information creates a low quality cloud over our critical thinking.

Some of this can be hard to turn off but an effort to do so is not as hard as it seems. There's a barrage of messages, sales pitches, broadcasts, banners, announcements, links, friend requests and spam to fend off. The first place to start is television and radio, few original ideas come out of them and they're mouthpieces for their sponsors, noise is not news. My choice is not to watch it at all. The web is both wonderfully full of information but a lot of it is disorganized and useless. Because most of our media and communications have moved onto the internet, it is not as easy as turning off the television or radio, since it also contains a lot of useful and valuable information. This requires choosing careful discrimination on what sites to go to and how much time we spend on them to avoid saturation.

Another source of information blast is not so easy to quiet and that is people. We may be exposed to cynical contrary people we can't avoid in our work, family and in public. We can choose our friends and who we associate with by choice. Avoid negative people and don't listen to constant whining and failures. Anyone who is involved in too much excess or extreme at anything, constantly complaining, never resolves their own problems, stay away from them. The chances they're going to change are highly unlikely. With inescapable people at work and family members this requires developing a mechanism to tune the discord out, a difficult but not insurmountable task. There are ways to mute their dissonance both by your approach and response to them but it requires some trial and error effort.

The more distilling down of the babble of information streaming at us from multiple channels we do, we discover that day to day life becomes more harmonious and less disquieting. Cleaning out the clutter of the clatter and chattering blows the bad air out and improves our field of vision. The knowledge we intake is of better quality and allows us to breathe clearer air and think with more clarity and calms the mind and soul.

Arizona Landscape

Tapatio Cliffs...

View of pollution cloud overhanging desert floor of The Valley

photo by Gregory A Z Nelson