Cognitive White-Space

Cognitive White-Space

I started this post several weeks ago. I didn’t have time to finish it then and I don’t really have time to finish it now, only the situation has become such that nothing else is really coherent at the moment, so if I’m going to do anything productive this afternoon, it’s going to have to be this first. I spent a couple hours this morning “catching up” in my feed reader. Yes, I said hours. My classmates presented a dizzying array of intelligent Facebook applications, educational uses for Flikr, thoughts on the merits of video across domains from cooking to calculus, and critical commentary on the purported negative effects of social media on undergraduate intellectual life. They were thorough, sentient and clever, and I was … overwhelmed.

Lately, I feel as though I have been learning without thinking. Like I go directly from reading to writing because my schedule won’t allow for pause and sleep (and my body demands sleep.) There is so much out there—even just in my classmate’s blogs--that I sometimes feel there’s no room in my head, nor time in my day, for my own thoughts. As a designer, I am perhaps inordinately fond of white-space. I fight tooth and nail to preserve it, even at the expense of legibility, information hierarchy or any number of other lesser design virtues. White-space lets a design breathe, it creates balance, adds interest, and engages imagination.

In the current media landscape, “cognitive white-space” seems also to be something one has to carve out and protect. There is always something else, if not actively competing for our attention at least ready to slip in and occupy any moment not otherwise actively occupied.

The scriptures warn of those in the last days who would be “ever learning” yet never come to the knowledge of the truth. Is it possible that we could, in this new media age, be similarly ever “sharing,” ever “creating” and yet never come to know our Creator?

In Other News...

Relevance, Permanence, Social Discourse and Filtering