Archive for January 30th, 2010


Over Stimulated World

January 30, 2010

Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, and most of the other Founding Fathers shared many attributes between them.  One great example was their ability to accomplish large volumes of work in many areas of interest.  Much more than it seems we do today.  Have you ever wondered why?  Perhaps we are no different really, just over stimulated.

We hear a catch phrase like “multi-tasking” and think it a good thing.  Maybe for a very few it is.  For the vast majority of people it is just a distraction.  This distraction increasingly occurs in our lives.  No longer can we simply watch the news, they split the screen into sections and provided information along the bottom and side.  Rather than concentrate on one subject, our attention is constantly switching between the sections.  The result being we do not have understanding of any one of the topics presented.

Movies over stimulate too, each one offering more explosions, blood or raunchy behavior than the last.  Rather than intrigue us with top-notch acting, complex plots, and well-crafted dialogue, our senses are overwhelmed with pyrotechnics and special effects.  The problem with this approach is it requires nothing from the viewer, we invest no thought into what we see, we react to its visual stimulation.  Even worse, we no longer require actors to act, it can all be computer generated.  That is not necessarily a bad thing but it does open the door to even greater feats of distraction as the laws of physics are easily ignored.

Not even the food supply is immune from over stimulation.  Sugar is everywhere.  Even French fries at many fast food restaurants contain added sugar.  Here in the South, everyone loves a good glass of iced tea.  Of course, its sugar level is through the roof.  This holds true for salt and other spices as well.  We become numb to the taste and need more and more to have the same stimulation level as before.  This phenomenon also describe how an addiction works.

Strangest of all is the long-term effect over stimulation has on people.  Rather than allowing for a better life, getting more accomplished, understanding the world around us, and living healthy – we are frustrated, constantly confused, and fat.  Over stimulation does not allow us to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.  We constantly need more and more stimulation for the sake of stimulation.  Just as we take in food without nutritional depth, we take in junk-food style information that deprives us of mental nutrition.

Going back to the example of our Founding Fathers, one possible reason they achieved so much was their ability to concentrate on one subject at a time, to give a subject its proper deference and thought, to understand a subject in-depth.  Couple that with a diet that nourishes more than stimulates and they had the energy to devote to one subject after another.  After all, it is the volume of quality work we remember them for, not just volume.

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