Filtering the World around You: Survival or Sadness?

A core tenant of rewiring, one that is well grounded in the neuroscience research, is the importance of filtering. Our brains can only process so much information.  Deleting, eliminating, and filtering out information allows us to restrict the flow reduce distractions. By filtering, we increase our ability to deliver results. We rewire.

Reading an excerpt from Rupert Ross’s book, Dancing with a Ghost: Exploring Indian Reality, left me questioning both this core tenant and the lives we lead that necessitate filtering. As a wilderness guide, Ross’s success hinged on his ability to open his senses, to tune into everything around him, the movements, smells, and shifting lights. He describes the chaos of returning to an urban setting where the onslaught of urban stimulation was overwhelming. Assaulting.

Have we become a culture where we have shut down our senses so as to control the degree of stimulus? Filtering distractions is a critical strategy for delivering results in an overwired world. How do we ensure that we are not eliminating these vital senses? In the wild, our outcome was to absorb all possible stimuli for survival. In our urban lives, is our outcome really to restrict our senses? How long will it take for our senses to atrophy beyond a point of return?

I wrestle with these and other questions, as I strive to help people be as purposeful and productive in our overwired world.