Encyclopedie frontispice

Information Overload in 1755. Plus Ca Change, Plus C’est La Meme Chose

Encyclopedie frontispice

From Wikipedia.

The figure in the centre represents truth—surrounded by bright light (the central symbol of the Enlightenment). Two other figures on the right, reason and philosophy, are tearing the veil from truth.

Information overload is not a new thing. Here’s a piece from Stowe Boyd’s thought provoking blog

Denis Diderot, “Encyclopédie” (1755)
As long as the centuries continue to unfold, the number of books will grow continually, and one can predict that a time will come when it will be almost as difficult to learn anything from books as from the direct study of the whole universe.

It will be almost as convenient to search for some bit of truth concealed in nature as it will be to find it hidden away in an immense multitude of bound volumes.

Cover of the "Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers" (Encyclopaedia or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts and Crafts) Edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond D'Alembert

From Wikipedia 

Some of us ADHD Adults (like myself) self-medicate with information. I love learning about new things and ideas. Quite stimulating, a great way to boost the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dopamine helps us focus & is the reward chemical among other things. ADDers have lower levels of dopamine so we do positive and negative things to help increase it.

If you’re an ADHD adult, you’re at greater risk for information overload. There’s so much more information available now in more very accessible formats.

We ADDErs are dopamine hunters, wired to look for possibilities and opportunities. We often have many areas of responsibility where information can be useful. Plus, learning is often not just a job demand, but also a competitive edge.

Many ADHD adults work in the high tech field, many advantages of working in technology for us ADHD adults. But there is an endless supply of information on any topic under the sun on the internet. Double edged sword.

It is very easy for some of us to binge or overdose on new information. We need to recognize when this is happening and find different strategies to deal with it.

One aspect of this is to use reminders to help us get out of that state of hyperfocus on information. I did a post on Internet addiction wake up devices with a few examples.

It’s also useful to find ways to develop greater bodily awareness. It is so easy to live in our heads all day and be semi asleep below the neck. Awareness is the first step in dealing with information overload but not the only one.

We ADDers by the very nature of our condition are likely to get overloaded and overwhelmed. We don’t filter so well, so we see, hear and feel more than other people do. The positive side of that is we are very creative.

That ADHD creativity can be:

• intellectual
• artistic
• emotional
• social
• technical
• kinesthetic

or a combination.

There is a negative side of inhaling more of the world than non-ADHD adults do.

We see, hear and feel too much, and get overloaded with too many ideas. We create too many to do tasks for our often undoable, delusional ADHD to do lists.

Then, we ADDers have the further delusion that we must do them all. And we must do them right now or doom! We don’t know when to start and then get overwhelmed by them.

Result? We then often tune out, act out, procrastinate out or numb out.

What methods do you find work for you to help cope with information overload?

5 thoughts on “Information Overload in 1755. Plus Ca Change, Plus C’est La Meme Chose”

  1. this is my drug, my addiction. I have no answers or tips, I am failing miserably. so much to know, so little time…

    beats heroin though.

    I totally love your quality twitter feed, thank you. (for feeding my addiction 😉

  2. Hi Adrian,

    yes it does beat heroin:) glad you find my twitter feed addictive in the hopefully good sense of the word:)

    One thing to consider, you can never know it all. can’t be done. once you start working at weaking that delusion that you’re God, ie you are or can be omnipotent, it gets easier.

  3. Even adults with ADHD can focus so much on the challenges that they do not see the potential benefits. Identifying our strengths and learning to highlight them is critical to living with ADHD.

  4. Stacey Taylor

    Info is my drug of choice too. I can spend years doing not much of anything but researching the trail of topics that come one after the other into my mind, taking notes, filling up book after book with disorganized treasures. Endless information documented in so much detail, but that I can’t actually manage to put into practice no matter how many times I’ve come across the same concept and tried over & over again. I’m realizing I need to stay in the creative zone. To be producing, way more than consuming. Trying to do the “normal” day to day tasks recommended by everyone to promote what I create have proved futile. My brain doesn’t work that way. But I can create whole new masterpieces faster than they can create the pieces of busy work filler marketing materials that I can’t seem to create except on the rare occasion I’m feeling particularly inspired.

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