Thoughtless Thinking

Audrey Cook, Managing Editor

We exist in the daunting age of information. We grew up Googling. We flip pages with the press of a button and we turn in tests with the click of a mouse. It is a controversial collision of technology and access. Information is always at our fingertips. Our generation hasn’t had to fight for it. We were born with it constantly shoved down our throats. A news story here. A blog there. Books. Articles. Buzzfeed. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. Swirling whirlwinds of images, words, sensory details and social cues. It’s overwhelming and it’s not what those who came before are accustomed to.

We do mindless research. We memorize our lectures instead of metabolizing them. We don’t appreciate brain challenges. We don’t settle for anything less than immediacy not because we want answers, but because we are too impatient to find them for ourselves.

I’m as guilty of it as any one of my peers, and frankly, it starts and ends with us. With more knowledge comes a society whose mentality is rooted in entitlement. We feel we deserve to know all that we can cram into our feeble minds and we often take information out of context or worse, blindly follow false information simply because we “read it online.” And worse yet, we actually have the gall to form political, societal, and ethical arguments from the faulty support of this vast waste of information.

There are benefits to an age of infinite information, but if we’re honest with ourselves, do we really take advantage of all that we could be? Or do we spend hours Googling our homework because our teachers focus more on testing instead of teaching, surfing social media, taking irrelevant online quizzes and having shallow, surface conversations with our “followers” or “friends.” I don’t intend to be harsh, but I’m only 18, and I’m already disappointed at the hours of time I’ve wasted when I could have been using the resources so readily accessible to me. Reading a book instead of skimming a review of one. Listening to a podcast instead of mindlessly singing along to whatever hit song is on the radio. Writing my stream of consciousness instead of limiting myself to 140 characters on Twitter. I’m not downplaying the power of brevity, but I am questioning the limitations in always expressing yourself through a format culture has created.

Help yourself out and think outside the box! Or better yet, think. Period. Don’t let someone tell you what to think when you have a brain capable of creating thoughts and ideas as quickly as you can blink. Your mind is your playground. Run wild.