Schizophrenia

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Definition

Schizophrenia is a term used to describe a mental imbalance in human beings. Baudrillard's view of the schizophrenic mindset is useful for understanding how the modern human subject might feel when faced with a reality of information and instant access. "…The schizophrenic is not, as generally claimed, characterized by his loss of touch with reality," states Baudrillard, "but by the absolute proximity to and total instantaneousness with things, this overexposure to the transparency of the world'.[1]

Baudrilliard concluded that the current era was defined by a new form of schizophrenia, due to the "emergence of ʻan immanent promiscuity and the perpetual interconnection of all information and communication networksʼ leads to ʻa state of terror which is characteristic of the schizophrenicʼ, that of ʻan over-proximity of all thingsʼ[2]. Under this definition, the human brain when overwhelmed with information technology is similar to that of schizophrenic--an endless array of interfaces produces skitzovision, the desire to look in multiple places at the same time. “Whoever is able to filter and sort the information at his or her disposal, and is thereby able to discard ninety-nine per cent as irrelevant, wins this game – not whoever is able to remember the names of Russian rivers or African heads of state".[3]

Those who will be able to act normally in an environment filled with so much over-stimulation will be those capable of putting up walls between data and limiting the instantaneousness of all things to a prioritized list. Enter the GTD movement. A reordering, conscious process that resembles what a hard drive goes through during defragmentation. Locate all files. Move small things. Move large things. Re-order. Attack. Repeat until clean. Clean is inbox zero. A fleeting moment that is over the moment it is reached. It's reminiscent of the scene from I Love Lucy with the chocolates on the conveyor belt. Had Lucy innovated, she might have discovered more efficient ways of sorting the chocolate. Unfortunately, she couldn't program like we can today. Her loss is only a gain for those of us who set up increasingly efficient sorting systems. 

References

  1. Baudrillard, Jean. The Ecstasy of Communication. Foreign Agents Series, Brooklyn, N.Y., Autonomedia, 1988. Pg. 27.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Obsessive egalitarianism to pluralist universalism? Options for twenty-first century education. Keynote speech, NERA conference, Oslo 10 March 2005. Thomas Hylland Eriksen University of Oslo and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam t.h.eriksen@culcom.uio.no).