Consumption versus creation

I consume a lot.

On a regular basis I consume podcasts, RSS feeds, emails, phone calls, text messages, books, magazines, TV, movies, radio, social networking noise, music, advertisements and occasionally sky writing.

It’s comforting to know I am not alone in my maddening consumption of information.

The population of th United States consumes an staggering amount of information every day. Luckily our brains are the most sophisticated recorders of video, audio and text known to man. While we’re awake our surroundings are meticulously captured and stored for later recall (although, certainly not perfect recall in my case).

I was half-listening to a podcast the other day while I was doing a little work at home. After typing away, not really paying attention to the podcast, I heard the phrase “I want to create more than I consume.” I must have heard this between mouse clicks or browser refreshes, because I heard it clearly and it stuck in my head for a couple days.

I considered the ramifications of creating more than I consume on a daily basis. The idea was so completely foreign to me I didn’t know where to begin.

As I write this post, I am listening to a podcast, watching my Twitter & FriendFeed streams, answering some emails, and trying to figure out what to make for dinner tonight. This is ridiculous, now that I think about it.

And probably means several things.

One. I am doing none of these things very well because you can only stretch your attention so far, right?

Two. I have a very short attention span.

Three. My rate of consumption far exceeds my rate of creation.

Is it honestly possible for us to create more than we consume? If you are a painter, is it possible for you to paint more pictures than you are able to see in a lifetime? Not comfortably – without locking yourself in a room with brushes, canvas and a steady supply of coffee.

Regardless of the possibility, the idea is an interesting one.

How much do you create?

(Photo by reflexer on Flickr)

This entry was posted in Personal, Productivity and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Consumption versus creation

  1. as in nature as on the net: A fraction of what you consume is actually useful. The rest is caca

  2. Dave says:

    Very true, but even if you only consumed “useful” information, could you create more useful information than you consumed?

    Seems nearly impossible to me, but still very enlightening to try.

  3. epiphenita says:

    you crazy quantitative kid.

    our brains are more expansive than our waistbands (no obesity epidemic yuck intended…yawn) but your “drinking from the fire hose” metaphor applies. if we gorge on information we will end up in the same place: tasting nothing and feeling sick. not to mention having no time left for creation.

    perhaps the best solution is to (regularly) push away from the ever-laden info table and take a mental walk. without the ipod, of course.

  4. Dave says:

    Wait…walk away from my computer without my iPod? That’s crazy talk.

    (Can I take my Blackberry? Just in case…you know…I need it.)

Comments are closed.