Too much information can harm the brain and body

“Good to see that you had a good ride yesterday but I did not like some of your choices in cornering…” Mail message from acquaintance long forgotten; message dropping inbox as a surprise.  Yes, I had a good ride and yes, I was not happy with part of my cornering style.

But riding style was not the point: how the sender of the message knew about my activity and my performance?  I do not publicize my ride and I was never followed by a TV crew anxious to syndicate the news.  I do not use social media and, in general, I tend to cover my mistakes.

It was a short ride with a small group of friend and it explains… some of them were, unknown to me, filming part of the ride and occasionally I was “in candid camera” as well.  And my mistakes (and some good riding) went on FaceBook or “Face” as frequent gossipers call it. Other riders took still pictures and post them “on the spot” just to announce the great achievement of being there (wherever it was).

Touched by all this unwanted notoriety, I started a more serious look at the social media of rider’s group and at the tweets going around in the community: not a great show, not a great reading especially if one starts asking the key question “WHY?”

Why do we want to share news of no relevance and pictures that are, in the end, all the same: groups at lunch table, selfie with bike on the background, landscape of eternal monotony.  It looks like only the teams and groups that remained over time faithful to the original reason for being and to the web site/blog format (HorizonsUnlimited for example) managed to keep attention, usefulness, quality and style.

The skills of writers and the proliferation of media are responsible for this loss of quality: ride reports are now long minutes of excited and not exciting rider shouting in the helmet, test ride clips are, again, riders screaming in the mic while the bike moves in uninspiring landscape and the voice reads the producer’s specs. It looks like we simply want approval and participation to the “LIKE IT” tribes.

Social media promote pictorial presence not good writing inviting all of us to a competition on “Magic mirror, on the wall – who is the fairest one of all?” The mirror may be honest but the reflected eye is the one of the watcher. Look at yourself, be happy and close to the outside.

Why posting? It is mostly a celebration of egos, the fulfilment Andy Warhol prophecy that “in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” Maybe not world-famous but at least on the screen. And with Everyone invited the noise becomes confusing: after all we lived for millions of years in a quieter environment.

“Just six millions years ago, a single female ape had two daughters. One became the ancestor of all chimpanzees, the other is our own grandmother”

If the statement of Yuval Noah Harari in his “Brief History of Humankind” offends your noble origins (and the origins of our grandmother) you must admit that the big animal in us has still a strong link to the natural, savage world. With a developed animal brain we are now governing machine that can move us at inhumane speed toward what remains an unmovable landscape (forests, rocks, water and big animals plus vehicles, cement walls, metal plates and guardrails).

It is a lot to ask from our Sapiens brain: not only it did not have enough time to adapt and to cope with velocity but it is, as well, overwhelmed by a large quantity of noise and information. With old hardware not yet upgraded to operate with new applications, it is difficult to separate useless noise from good information.

“Blessed are they who have nothing to say and who cannot be persuaded to say it”

This is a sincere criticism of ourselves and an apology to our (few) readers on the blog: we at thinkingomm should use knowledge and restrain in acting and in communicating as powerful antibacterial: asking “why?” before messaging, writing, adding and buying is a healthy exercise leading to better quality in content, life and rides.

Or maybe not, maybe it is all a secret complaint of not having so many followers as more sexy blogs.

By Paolo Volpara

"Si sta come d'autunno sugli alberi le foglie"