Maybe it’s ironic I’ve used three posts to say all I want about information, making my series on TMI too much information. Or maybe it’s just redundant.
Nonetheless, I’m finishing up the series with these last thoughts.
Information itself can become a danger—we can end up knowing too much.
We’ve all used the catchphrase: “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” Not seriously though. Well, most of us. If you’ve ever used that phrase seriously I want to encourage you to stop reading and never visit this site again. You’re scaring me.
We have held to the idea that knowledge is power. And that those who are in the know have an exclusive advantage over those who are not.
I used to believe that knowledge reigns supreme over nearly everyone. An idea first introduced to me by a high school friend through the rap group Boogie Down Productions.
Both of those ideas are reinforced through popular culture, that knowledge is key to having power and control over others.
So we make and keep secrets.
And we gossip.
Have you ever wondered why gossip is so powerful? Why we are so susceptible to listen to it? Because it draws us in with some secret word that is being exclusively shared with us, but not with others. We’re drawn in and accepted.
But I’ve come to realize that information and knowledge aren’t truly the greatest source of power. By themselves, they are merely tools used to manipulate and maintain the illusion of control.
You see, there is a great danger of knowledge without appropriate action. Maybe that’s why we keep secrets. We’re afraid of sensitive information getting into the wrong hands.
We live in a world full of information. There is too much to ever think we’d be able to consume it all; we can’t keep up with what’s served up to us each day.
That is our new reality, and it demands that we come to grips with how we are going to handle and interact with that plethora of information.
When Apple introduced the iPhone, it changed the way we interacted with information. It put more information at our fingertips, and shrunk the globe.
It became a blessing and a curse.
The danger is that we can become intellectual fools—acting as though we had power, but really only had a piece of information.
The world is already full of these people; and I fear we have assumed their posture by hunching over our phones, both hands gripping tightly as we ignore the reality around us. We have recreated Plato’s cave and furnished it with comfortable seating around the fire.
Knowing more has never been enough. But the lie that knowledge alone is enough has been a subtle deception from almost the beginning of time. The serpent used a lie about knowledge to trick Eve into doubt and disobedience.
Knowledge is only a piece of the puzzle; the key comes in knowing where it fits. This moves us from knowledge to wisdom, acting rightly with the information we have at our fingertips and frontal lobes.
So those who know more hold a greater responsibility to act rightly.
Exposure to the plights of the world around us demand we act justly. Knowing my friend is hungry forces me to feed him. Recognizing another is weighed down under the burden of life necessitates me to step in and relieve her load.
Information is really only too much if we continue to consume it without acting on it. As if holding it would mean power and control. Living in light of it—demonstrating grace and forgiveness, justice and mercy—that is where true power comes. Not because we use it to manipulate the masses, but now we are able to love and serve and grace others.
Grace is active, not passive. We can’t roll up our sleeves with our thumbs still searching for more information.
What will we do with our Twitter and Facebook feeds? What good and humble use can come from us holding CNN and Wikipedia in between our two hands? At some point, don’t we have to put the devices away to lend our hands to another?