Sunday, March 08, 2009

How Much is Too Much?

This WNYC Radiolab broadcast aired on Minnesota Public Radio February 20, 2009, seems a powerful response (or precursor?) to Tom Friedman's NY Times column that I blogged about earlier today.*

Friedman's question, "What if the growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically?" gets the responding query from Barry Schwartz, "How much is too much?" As a contemplative writer and thinker looking at my own life, my community, and holding data and experiences about the larger world, I ask, "What is enough?"

"What is healthy human capacity? How much can we hold? What is sustainable?"
From the WNYC broadcast we glean a response, based on George Miller's classic paper, "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two." Turns out the average human is able to hold about seven pieces of discreet information in working memory at any given time. "Any more than that, and, as researcher Baba Shiv demonstrates, our good judgment can be overwhelmed."

Do you have more than seven plus or minus two things to keep track of at this moment in time? This research and presentation begs that we take a look at what we are creating, consuming, trying to hold and sustain.

I encourage you all to listen. Whew. It's entertaining. Informative. Perhaps, life-changing?

Happy contemplating,

No comments: