Why NOT be an Information Sponge?

As a lifelong learner, you’ve probably been described as an ‘information sponge.’ But is that a good thing to be?


As an organism, this simple creature barely makes it into the Animal Kingdom. It does not have a circulatory, nervous, or digestive system: It’s heartless, brainless, and unable to actively process what it consumes. It behaves the same way on Mount Fuji as in your local sewer system.

I think — or at least hope — this is not a good metaphor for my relationship with information!

Of course, we all absorb a lot of information involuntarily — so, in that sense, we’re all information sponges. But when it comes to conscious, intentional consumption & processing of information, I’d like to think we’ve all evolved beyond the sponge.

In this chapter of history, there’s a lot of pressure to absorb a really, really high volume of information. This pressure is ubiquitous — and that’s what makes it dangerous. It is dangerous because the more information you need to process in your life, the more quickly you need to process it, and the more quickly you try to process high volumes of information, the more likely you are to make mistakes. This is true not only for individuals, but also for societies.

So, for this reason, I currently believe that each of us must move away from the ‘information sponge’ mindset and try to develop a more nuanced relationship with information.

What does a more ‘evolved’ relationship with information look like?

I don’t have the answer, but I believe that among us, we do.