Friday, June 30, 2006

People: Getting Dummer

To start, yes, I intentionally misspelled dumber. And yes, I did lose the 3rd grade Glen Loch spelling bee on the word dumbbell. Damn the double b.

There is an article on the Rolling Stone website that is an interview with Al Gore regarding his movie "An Inconvenient Truth". The movie is about global warming.. blah blah blah. Anyway, this blog is not about global warming, but I am fairly confident in saying that the official position on global warming is that human beings have an almost insignificant effect on the global climate compared to nature itself.

On to dumness...

I was reading through the "thread" of responses to the article (surprisingly, most of the responses were from positions and opinions that I agreed with) and one of the statements stuck out at me. Without quoting it verbatim, the idea put forth was that we are becoming more intelligent as a people through the ages.

My contention: Wrong. We are getting dummer.

The evidence is everywhere. We think that all of our technological developments are advancements- when in truth many of them just make us more fragile as a society. Could you imagine what it would be like if some hacker gained control to the databases of any major financial institution? One little hack- boom- world goes into complete chaos. My cell phone goes out, I'm screwed. My car breaks down... stuck. Yeah, we are brilliant. And don't give me any of your firewall BS you computer geeks... if a system is built by a human, it can be taken apart by a human.

We think that our medicine heals diseases- yeah it does. But it also gets abused and misdiagnosed in new ways all the time. We even create medicines to help ailments that don't need medicine. Such an advanced society- medicating ourselves to fight depression, medicating ourselves to help us pay attention. Unbelievable. Then we have diseases like AIDS that are incurable, but preventable, and we just go... "Eh, no big deal. I'll just go have sex with whomever. Consequences ain't no thang." Geez we are smart.

America is also dum. Every major empire in the world fell apart as it became more and more immoral. Now we are witnessing the decline of America as the world superpower amidst our own moral decay and we wonder why. Once again, brilliance.

Some of you may be thinking... "Well.. just because we are more knowledgeable doesn't mean that we're more intelligent." And some of you may have a point. I think at BEST we are more knowledgeable and the same intelligence. But it is more likely that we are getting dummer. When you have the same intelligence as those before you and make the same mistakes... that is dum. When you worship celebrities and reality shows... that is dum. When every hip-hop video has exactly the same content and lyrics... that is dum. When we keep finding out how infinitely complex and yet harmonious the universe is and we say that that has happened by chance... that is dum.

So in conclusion, we are getting dummer.


At 7/12/2006 12:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree with a lot of your points, I think that your conclusions are probably jaded by a lack of familiarity with life as it was 100, 200, 300 years ago. A day in the life of a man during one of those periods of time would probably demonstrate similar "dumbness" but just lack similar innovation. We live in a more dangerous culture where dumb mistakes can be more permanent and destructive. However, I would suggest that the dumb behavior has been one constant in the history of the human race. CC

At 7/12/2006 02:33:00 PM, Blogger mikeandtim said...

Good points. I think that our increasingly fragile society in the midst of increased knowledge is the main reason why I would consider us less intelligent than our forefathers.
I also think we value intelligence much less than our ancestors have and that the average person today is much less resourceful and creative than people of 100, 200, and 300 years ago. Thanks for your response.


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