You can't argue with the brain: it wants what it wants what it wants.
—Dr. Katherine Ramsland
Stop reading for a moment. I want you to focus on being aware of every visual, tactile, kinesthetic, and auditory stimulus in your environment. Try to focus on the obvious to the mundane: the color of the carpet, walls, the chair you are sitting in. Study each person walking by you or near you: what they are wearing, their facial expressions, and the content of their conversations. What sounds do you hear? What textures do you feel?
Try to take it all in at once. Instantly overwhelming?
Now, imagine what it would be like if you were forced to experience this massive sensory overload all the time. It would paralyze you.
Much like a computer, our brains can process only so much information at one time. As the cognitive load1 grows, it slows down and becomes less efficient. The brain is unable to focus, and attention control diminishes.
From a purely evolutionary sense, this inability to focus can put you in danger. Should there be a threat nearby—say a saber-toothed tiger crouched in the weeds, or a bus rolling down the street—and you are so overwhelmed with incoming sensory information that you fail to see it, bam! You are lunch or a pancake.
Moving slowly had the tendency to remove one's DNA from the gene pool, so our brains evolved to think fast. With so much sensory information hitting us at one time, we needed a ...