There is a planetary view of humans that pictures us as just these tiny living objects scattered about the world compulsively exchanging information, much as ants provide mash for each other or stack one thing on another reflexively. In that view, none of the bits of information is reliable individually, but in the aggregate it allows us, nearly unthinking creatures that we are, to build interesting things and improve our lot. All our grand philosophy and logic is not real, but because the sheer quantity of information exchanged is so great it eventually results in a good idea here and there, and these are additive.
We all believe our logic is much more elevated than this, and our science, religion, and understanding are Real Knowledge. I generally think so too. Yet our understandings are built out of such vast quantities of information, much of it embarrassingly trivial, that I have to wonder. While out walking on a rail trail today two women approached rapidly on fat-tire bikes. As they came along I could hear "(mildly irritated tone with indistinguishable words)...There was a raging party at my house. I went to bed before (indistinguishable)" and they were gone. I can't remember now, but at the time I unconsciously noted their age, dress, appearance and a hundred other things: time of day, speed of movement, writing on their jerseys. Multiply by a million over the course of a lifetime. Have I ever really thought about anything, or am I just a collection of these fragments?
This comes up in the context of wondering whether intelligence is anything other than memory storage plus hyperactive, compulsive brain connections. In discussion with my son and his new wife last week why I have less interest in playing games than when he was a child and I was deeply conscious of my responsibility to teach him, I came slowly onto the idea that I compulsively acquire and discharge information, and that is pretty much it. Sponge absorbs, squeeze sponge, repeat. It is not a virtue. It is a reflexive physical act. As this type of exchange is useful for the anthill I get some reward. I'm not sure that's not a clearer explanation of my life than my other theories which are much more congenial to my ego.
Absorb information (mash). Discharge mash to other ants. Repeat with relief.