“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.”
When Gertrude Stein said this she didn’t know what Facebook or Internet in general or even TV was. She probably read a book, slowly and with attention, every now and then throwing a pensive look at the tree near her window, or talked to a smart guest of her literary salon, maybe a scientist, and thought, “Oh, this is so informative! I don’t know if my brain can take it all in.” Yes, I can see her ready to faint for the superfluous information she had to deal with.
I don’t think that today we truly take in all the information we witness. If you are on Facebook, for example, you can see people sharing quotes of wisdom all the time, many post dozens of those each day, and if we read those quotes with attention and thought about them afterwards then maybe we would learn something indeed and our common sense would be affected, somehow, I’m not sure in which way. But we throw a shift glance at wise people’s thoughts as if they were an advertisement poster and scroll down the newsfeed as fast as we can to see a photo of a cute little kitten so the common sense stays untouched.
Many people never switch off TV, it hums and shines and talks all the day long while a person eats, chats on the phone or scrolls down the newsfeed on Facebook. The flow of information is unstoppable, it truly is a tsunami, but the person who sits on the couch in front of the TV set with a smartphone in hands doesn’t absorb this information, at least consciously, as his or her mind is elsewhere, perhaps with a cute little kitten.
Probably there’s a sensor in our head that works like a fire alarm. When the informational temperature gets too high and the brain feels it’s ready to be washed away with the hot wave of excessive data it blocks the perception door, and we stop hearing everything that disturbs our overheated cerebrum. I don’t know where common sense hides at this moment, but I hope it’s still there, with you, especially if you are much better trained than Gertrude Stein.