Monday, September 29, 2008

Some thoughts...

I was reading the latest issue of Aperture this morning - latest being a relative term of course - and stumbled across this gem from David Levi Strauss:
We spend more time collecting and sorting images, but less time looking [my emphasis] at any one of them. Photographic images used to be about the trace. Digital images are about the flow. - Read the full text...

The article continues and expands on the idea that access doesn't necessarily equate to better... I've been thinking about something similar for a while in that I hoard masses of information and - more importantly - desire more thereof without the compulsion to actually engage with it... the classic example would be critical text.

I know that I need x or y. I then go through the exercise of getting x or y, then x or y gathers dust until I get to it. The problem is that as the quantity of stuff increases, the wealth of information becomes almost diluted... who do I choose? When do I get to it?

It's not dissimilar to the Paradox of Choice (another book I need to get to):
We normally assume in America that more options ("easy fit" or "relaxed fit"?) will make us happier, but Schwartz shows the opposite is true, arguing that having all these choices actually goes so far as to erode our psychological well-being... Choosing something as (seemingly) simple as shampoo can force us to wade through dozens, even hundreds, of brands. We are, the author suggests, overwhelmed by choice, and that's not such a good thing. Schwartz tells us that constantly being asked to make choices, even about the simplest things, forces us to "invest time, energy, and no small amount of self-doubt, and dread." There comes a point, he contends, at which choice becomes debilitating rather than liberating. Did I make the right choice? Can I ever make the right choice?

1 comment:

broken english said...

You can watch a Talk at TED by Barry Schwartz. Very, very good! Funny and thought provoking.