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refined versus complex information

Refined sugar is the new devil. Fat is a good old friend by comparison.

But once sugar was hailed as a wonderfood. In the inner city areas of England and Scotland 150 years ago refined sugar replaced many more complex ways of getting energy.

Then teeth fell out. A common 21st birthday present in early 20th centure Glasgow was a set of false teeth. Like many people, three of my four grandparents had false teeth at a pretty early age.

Information is another source of energy. It can also be over refined, complex or even organic. Video, TV, soundbites, recorded music, photos are all refined information. You can only have so much before there will be health consequences. Many video makers ban their kids from too much TV. I met a games maker who only allows his kids an hour a WEEK playing video games, extraordinary though that may sound. But I have never met a writer who bans his kids from reading...

Unrefined complex information comes from meeting people, doing business, being in the world, making things, travelling. More refined information comes from books. But the really refined stuff is video and recorded music- probably both together. The metaphor continues with the idea of digestion- when we rely too much on refined food our digestion suffers and we actually find compex or raw foods harder to digest.

Having an experience requires chewing and digestion, so does reading a book. But eyecandy on your phone or computer needs very little.

You can only have so much before your mental teeth start to rot.

The answer of course is a balanced diet. But also, like food, we only have so much attention to give. Give it away to tasty looking crap and you'll have none left over for the really nutritious stuff. You'll be too full of mental crisps and sweets to have room for a main course.

Travelling, long distance walking- good sources of complex unrefined information.


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