There are facts I need to act upon. If my train enters my station I better get going to catch it. If it’s going to be freezing outside today, I better grab a warm cozy coat. This stuff is relevant (to me) today. Tomorrow? Not so much. Unless I’m packing my bag for a trip — but you get where I’m going with this…
If „acting upon it“ means smarting off at a dinner party, then well, all kinds of issues might be relevant. But what I can never quite understand is how some general insights into who or what makes the world turn is relevant in one second and irrelevant the next.
But Timing is Everything!
Sure, opinions about some outcome A might not be very interesting once another outcome B came true, but something decisive happened: the event of outcome B. I get that. Though, still there could be learned a lot from that before uttered opinion. But how does information lose all its value without anything happing except time passing?
This is a Treat: The Perfect BS Filter
„Was interessiert mich die Zeitung von gestern?, so a German proverb disguised as rhetorical question goes. „What do I care about yesterdays news(paper)?“
This just might be the best bullshit filter you ever stumbled upon. It does wonders deciding what info to engage with in the first place.
If you can’t imagine your tomorrow’s self giving a shit, why in the world would you watch, read or listen to it now?
This works the other way around, as well. If there is an op-ed written by an interesting person or an interview with somebody with insights, why would I not care just because it was printed last week?
I’m not watching sports for betting. I’m watching my team to see how they solve problems on the pitch. Did the opponent spell out a convincing game plan? How did my team cope? How did momentum shift? I don’t learn about any of that when somebody tells me the score. So guess what. I throw a tantrum if anybody or anything does tell me. If I can’t watch a game live, I watch it re-live because I still care about all of those questions.
On election day, I vote and turn on the news two days later. I don’t care about how the score was at 2:46 pm if the polling stations are open until 6 pm. What am I going to do about that knowledge? Anything? What about terrorist attacks? Do I learn anything from some expert uttering hot takes while the numbers of reported victims change every half an hour?
Does that mean I don’t care about politics? About attacks? About the victims? Not at all. But maybe I just want to engage with information that stood the test of time.*
*Of course, hereby I run into a whole new set of problems like the narrative bias and the survivorship bias, but that’s a topic for another day… In case you still care then…