Spit, gulp and chew

When it comes to consumption of information you have three choices: spit, gulp or chew.

To spit means to discard it immediately. This is an action reserved for B.S. For fake news. For clickbait. For media than creates more heat than light. For articles and videos that are designed to prey on feelings of outrage and fear. You toss them out as soon as you recognise their lack of substance.

To gulp means ingesting without question. It is being uncritical and accepting whatever you see or hear without thought. The gulper is the one who tells a friend about a spurious news item as if it were the truth. The gulper is also someone who trusts an authority figure. Who is so taken by their knowledge and influence that they believe everything this person or organisation puts out.

To chew means considering what you’re consuming. It is tasting. It is questioning. It is asking about the reliability and the validity of the information. It is weighing what you have in front of you against what you’ve seen before. It is cross-referencing, fact-checking, and remaining sceptical. It is the awareness that most information is noise, not signal.

In terms of frequency I propose the following: 

Spit a lot. Most of what we’re bombarded by is B.S. Act accordingly and spit regularly. 

Never gulp. No information is 100% meaningful. Gulping information is how you end up with a distorted, dangerous worldview. Don’t do it.

Always chew. Anything you do take in should be weighed and considered. Create filters and systems that help you figure out the value of an item. If, after chewing, you decide something is valuable or useful, assimilate it into your mental machinery. If you discover it’s not helpful, discard it.

That is how to deal with the consumption of information. Spit a lot, never gulp and always chew.