This is the Information Age. We live in a society that depends on information and communication to keep moving. Google receives 34,000 searches per second. That’s 2 million per minute; 121 million per hour; 3 billion per day and 88 billion per month, give or take. That’s a lot of information.
We are unique in our tastes, we love music, politics, socialising, fashion, sport, travel; so we expose ourselves to our favourite streams of information more frequently than others. We’ve probably all experienced this at school or college; you’re either a sports fanatic, or a nerd, or a popular kid, or a something more ‘alternative’. We associate ourself with other people like us, we do the stuff our group does. We shape our lives around unique blends of interests, and the information we consume moulds the narrative we live by. Our narrative is our ‘world-view’, the lens by which we make sense of what we see going on around us. It’s really important because it determines how we make our decisions, form our beliefs and create values.
In actual fact, a lot of us may feel the information we’re surrounded by is useless. We’re bombarded by a media that tells us what really matters is what we look like, how much money we have, and how popular we are. We are constantly being seduced into believing that the tiny confines of our own individual life is the only reality out there. Our brains begin to turn to mush as all we’re presented with is what we need to do to make our lives better.
But sometimes we come across a piece of information that shocks our world-view; something contrary to what we believed our story to be. We are surrounded by information that supports our cosy little narratives. But these unexpected nuggets are the ‘BOOM’ facts, that are just too much for our narrative to hold. They makes us question our story. They say ‘Hold on a second, I really didn’t realise that I’m richer than 90% of the world. How does that challenge my desire to have more and more and more?’ Our world-view is challenged and changed.
It’s so important to expose ourselves to information that’s going to stretch the story we’ve shaped. It’s about seeking the truth of who we are and where we fit in the world, putting aside the assumption that we already know it all, and being open to something else.
Information alone cannot change us, it can only shape our narrative. We need to find stuff that challenges us, that doesn’t quite fit our story, so that the reality of the world can overpower our comfortable beliefs. Reading the news, getting to know the stories of our global neighbours, being aware of how our clothes were produced, getting to grips with ethical banking. Allow this information to shape a new narrative that’s deeply concerned with the state of our world that desperately cries out for freedom from injustice. We need to expose ourselves to the facts, to the knowledge of those who are living in poverty so that our actions will champion their cause. Having the information is no guarantee that we will change, but it is the first step in hope. When our minds are focused, our bodies act.