Wikipedia describes perception as the process of acquiring, interpreting, selecting, and organizing sensory information. Organizing is important, especially considering the overload of messages coming to us through advertising and these hyper-communication networks (e-mail, IM, SMSes, blogs, myspace, and now twitter). We have built up a culture of distractions – but what does it achieve?
An interesting article from 1999, discussing the negative effects of Change and Information Overload concluded:
It seems that the biggest problem facing present-day society is not that there is too little progress, but rather too much of it. Our mind, physiology nor social structures seem fit to cope with such a rate of change and such an amount of new information. Unfortunately, change, complexity and information overload are abstract phenomena, which are difficult to grasp. Therefore, few people have as yet understood that they contribute to the anxiety they feel. When trying to explain their vague feelings of dissatisfaction, they will rather look for more easily recognizable causes, such as unemployment, pollution, crime, corruption or immigration. These phenomena, which have become much more visible because of the attention they get from the media, play the role of scapegoats: they are blamed for the lack of quality of life which people experience, while being only tangentially related to it. This reinforces an atmosphere of gloom and doom.