We are stimulated by external knowledge and information constantly. As commented by the American psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, “never in human history, our brains had to process so much information as today. We have now a generation of people who spend many hours in front of a computer monitor or a cell phone and who are so busy in processing the information received from all directions, so they lose the ability to think and feel. Most of this information is superficial. People are sacrificing the depth and feeling and cut off from other people”.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California-San Diego, under Roger Bon, according to the British Times of London and Telegraph, believes that people are every day inundated with the equivalent amount of 34 Gb (gigabytes) of information, a sufficient quantity to overload a laptop within a week.
This study has been conducted a few years ago so we are sure this number is much bigger in 2019-2020.
Through mobile phones, online entertainment services, the internet, electronic mail, television, radio, newspapers, books, social media etc., people receive every day about 105,000 words or 23 words per second in half a day (12 hours, during awake hours).
Although people can not really read these 105,000 words each day, this is the real number estimated to be reaching the human eyes and ears every day. After adding pictures, videos, games, etc., we reach the volume of 34 Gigabytes of information per day on average.
The total consumption of information from television, computers and other information was estimated (for the U.S.) to be 3.6 million gigabytes. According to the researchers, the main effect of information overload is that the human attention to focus is continually hampered and interrupted all too often, which does not help in the process of reflection and deeper thinking. Our ability to connect with the self, be alone , be silent and to go within becomes less and less. When we have lunch breaks, waiting for cups of coffee, or sat on buses and trains, we no longer externally communicate – we keep our head in our phones, thus producing a more disconnected society.
With depression, stress and anxiety related disorder on the increase, never has there been a more important time for self reflection and to truly know thyself.
A rich merchant and his four wives
There was a rich merchant who had four wives. He loved the fourth wife the most and adorned her with elegant clothes and provided her with the best food. He took great care of her and gave nothing but the best.
He also loved the third wife dearly. He was very proud of her and always wanted to show her off to his friends. However, the merchant was always in great fear that she may run off with another man.
He loved his second wife as well. She was a considerate person, always patient and in fact was the merchants advisor. Whenever the merchant faced some problems, he always turned to his second wife and she would always help him out through difficult times.
Now, the merchants first wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and buisssness as well as taking care of the household. However, the merchant did not love the first wife and although she loved him deeply he hardly took notice of her.
One day, the merchant fell ill. Before long, he knew he was going to die soon. He thought of his luxurious life and told himself, “Now I have four wives with me, but when I die, I’ll be alone. How lonely I’ll be”.
Thus, he asked the fourth wife “I loved you most endowed you with the finest clothing and showed great care over you. Now that I am dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”
“No way!” replied the fourth wife and walked away without anther word. The answer cut as sharp as a knife into the merchants heart. The sad merchant then asked the third wife, “I have loved you so much for all my life, now that I am dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No” replied the third wife. ” Life is so good over here, I’m going to marry when you die!” The merchant’s heart sank and turned cold.
He then asked the second wife, ” I always turned to you for help and you always helped me out. Now I need your help again. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company? ” “Im sorry, I cannot help you this time!” replied the second wife. “At the very most I can only send you to your grave”. The answer came as clap of thunder and the merchant was devastated.
Then a voice called out “I’ll live with you, ill follow you no matter where you go.” The merchant looked up and there was this first wife. She was skinny, almost as if she suffered from malnutrition and lack of attention. Greatly grieved the merchant said, ” I should have taken much better care of you while I could!”
Actually we all have four wives in our lives!
1.The fourth wife is our body, no matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.
2. Our third wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, they all go to others.
3. The second wife is our family and friends. No matter how close to us when we are alive, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.
4. The first wife is in fact our real self, our soul, often neglected in our pursuit of material wealth and sensual pleasure.
“7 Habits of highly fulfilled people’- Satinder Dhiman
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