Discover more from Zhebrak et al.
Humans are information-processing machines that operate on internal and external signalling. Some information flow, for example, on a molecular level, is hidden from our everyday experience. At the same time, other parts are more exposed and evident, such as the fact that you are reading this sentence. Larger entities—families, organisations, countries—all receive, process, and store information, even though the mechanisms and their decomposition may vary. Information sources like thoughts, books, conversations, or visuals launch the processing machinery. Then, intentional or not, we sort, analyse and organise the information to discard it or use it in the future. We store the bits deemed valuable and revisit meaningful and useful entries.
Perspectives on the information flow range from neuroscience research to the personal knowledge management systems subreddit. Regardless of the chosen level of abstraction, insights into the process could inform you about potential flaws and bottlenecks in the system. Listing and understanding the relative weight of your sources, designing an efficient sorting system, retaining the information in an accessible structure, and selecting appropriate tools could bring you closer to the desired objective.
It is easy to overlook another step in the flow, arguably the most important one. That is the change or action we take after the cycle of processing. By highlighting this component, we might find that we do not utilise some of the information to its full potential, or it affects us negatively. We can backpropagate the intended change differential through the information processing system and alter its elements or introduce a new step to accommodate an intended change. One of the reasons I am writing this post was my recent realisation that while I accumulate notes and thoughts on topics that interest me, this last link seemed to be missing.