With Paradox of Choice, I'm nervous there is no answer. Noise just gets louder, as we buy Real Simple magazine and retreat to Pottery Barn for mock rustic reminders of simpler decades.
Christina, What we are learning now is that the 50's was the WRONG answer to the scariness that was WWII and the crumbling of our fantasy of isolationism. The Marshall Plan was a gruff admission that we needed to expand our idea of "neighbor." Now, we know that someone halfway across the world should be considered a member of our community based on shared knowledge or experience or need for some piece of information we have.
The term "intelligencia" is evolving from "one with knowledge*" to "one who extracts knowledge from the whole of available information." We can no longer go to one mentor to relieve our worry of noise. We have to rely on a patchwork of our own intuition, the exponentially expanding body of information, and a cadre of sages and interesting thinkers to help us craft our own knowledge base.
Jonathan J. Harris is one of those people. You are one of those people. I have hope (and humility) that my talents are conspiring to take me there. Press on!
*As defined by a learnedness based on the generally accepted classical theorists, mostly from Western cultures.