Last Sunday, I started a “philosophy inbox” that sits on my desktop and which contains all the articles I download which would otherwise clog the desktop and distract me while waiting to go somewhere out of sight. I’ve yet to move anything out of the inbox, which lets me see that an impressive 18 articles have now accumulated. This isn’t bragging (I didn’t say I read those articles). It just indicates a complete inability to prioritize. Did I mention that I still have ungraded student papers and I’m moving tomorrow (Ed–today)? Over the past week there have been 18 different things I’ve thought that I needed to read and digest. But it’s worse: none of three articles on the modularity of mind that I found last night go into the inbox, or Nisbett’s blunt dismissal of hereditary racial differences in IQ. Nor do the chapters of Anil and Bob’s books that I read for their classes, nor does the Sellars I’ve been rereading, or the collected works of Descartes that I looked at on a whim.
Someone or several someones, I forget who, said that the central problem we’re each going to have to solve in the future is dealing with abundance–filtering it and finding someone way to find the things we actually need (of course this is “we” tube using nerds). They were right.