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The Gospel Of The Clueless

“There is an almost universal quest for easy answers
and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people
more than having to think.
– Martin Luther King

Do you get the feeling lately that there aren’t very many people paying much attention these days? I don’t mean paying attention to an individual issue, I mean paying attention period. Everywhere I go whether it is online or in the real world, I run into people who are so lost in their own little time and place they are completely oblivious to what is going on around them.

I was downtown the other day, stopped at a red light. A nicely dressed man, about forty, crossed the intersection in front of me with his finger buried up his nose. I can understand people in their cars forgetting that their windows are actually two-way glass and indulging in a little nasal mining but out on the street?

He struck gold and hauled it out of his nose to take a good look at it in the middle of the intersection, pausing to hold his finger up to seriously examine his find. What in God’s name could anyone possibly have up their nose that they would want to examine it? Were they expecting that this one time, whatever it is would be different than the hundreds of times before?

It’s incredible. People are completely tuned out.

Everywhere I go people are on their cell and smart phones. They’re texting, emailing and talking and they do it while they’re driving and while they’re trying to cross the street without regard to personal safety or the safety of others. Too often, they are so focused on the momentous communication they just received that they are completely unaware of the half-ton truck in front of which they’ve just walked.

I watched one young woman walk out into an intersection against a red light. She was so focused on her mobile phone, she didn’t notice either the light or even the intersection until the traffic slammed to a screeching halt to avoid running her over. Then, of course, she was suitably annoyed that someone almost hit her and forced to look up from her phone.

It is life without thought; life without even an attempt to think.

Earlier today I was listening to a radio talk show I particularly enjoy and they were discussing the issue of swaddling. You know, swaddling; as in “and Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manager.” That kind of swaddling.

After centuries of swaddling newborns, apparently it has suddenly become dangerous. It arrests the development of newborns, could cause hip dysplasia, lead to SIDS and death. Where is the evidence to support this nonsense? Where are the overwhelming reports of cases of swaddling having threatened, injured or killed babies?

There aren’t any, of course. Like so many of the solutions being offered today, they are solutions by self-anointed experts looking for a problem.

The sad thing is that because we have become dumber, a lot of people will jump on the anti-swaddling issue just as so many jumped on the “vaccinations cause autism” bandwagon. God, even Oprah was behind that cause and her devoted fans followed her mindlessly as if she was a female reincarnation of Moses leading them out of bondage to the Promised Land.

It was a crock, a fraud by a single doctor in England who falsified a study for no more noble reason than the cash he received from a pharmaceutical company. Hundreds of thousands stopped having their children vaccinated for diseases like polio which was all but eradicated and is now making a comeback thanks to this stupidity.
It wasn’t that there wasn’t more than ample information available at the World Health Organization and government health departments around the world that contradicted the report. There were but people were too lazy to do any independent research. People like Oprah and Jenny McCarthy said it was so and that was good enough reason for them to risk their children’s lives.

To this day, even though the fraud has been exposed, there are still far too many who believe that vaccinations cause autism because people like Oprah once said so.

We have more information available to us than ever before thanks to technology but technology has dumbed us down to the point of becoming almost mindless. It has made us intellectually fat and lazy; too lazy to actually research things for ourselves and then analyze critically what we’ve learned. Why bother when you have Wikipedia and thousands of blogs and social media sites just itching to tell you the truth?

We can no longer separate fact from opinion let alone from fiction or fantasy.

There was a time when we actually paid experts to provide the facts for our encyclopedias. Now, any idiot with a keyboard and an Internet connection is an expert and there are plenty more idiots just willing to believe whatever they type.

It is the Gospel Of The Clueless.

The technology whiz kids predict that soon our refrigerators will maintain an inventory of the food they contain and when we’re running low, they will order more for us. Samsung is already producing a refrigerator with Wi-Fi for that amateur chef who suffers separation anxiety from being away from the computer for more than a few minutes.

Isn’t that just what we needed; machines that think for us and keep us connected to the Great Mindless Void that the Internet has become? Our phones are already smarter than too many of us and now we’re getting ready to have household appliances that will be smarter than us as well.

At this rate, we’ll be lucky if most people remember how to tie their shoe laces in the not too distant future although some bright light will probably develop an app to do that for us.

Whether it is political debate or an understanding of the major social issues challenging us today, most people have no more clues about what drives them than their toaster, although it appears their toaster may soon have enough technology to figure it out.

Everything has been reduced to emotions now rather than analytical thought. Emotions are easy, thought is difficult and requires some effort but we are becoming a society that is unprepared to make much of an effort to do very much of anything.

We don’t even want to pay our own way anymore. It’s just easier to whine about how difficult life is and demand that someone else pay for a part, if not all, of what we want.

University is expensive and working to earn enough money while going to university is hard so, make someone else pay. That’s easier and doesn’t take any effort at all.

Voting based on a candidate’s record actually means having to examine the record and compare it to the promises that were made in the last election and that, we all know, is hard. It’s just easier to support someone based on our feelings. If we like him or her, or think they’re cool; that should be good enough reason to vote them into office. What damage they might do while in office is really irrelevant compared to what we feel.

We’ve reached a time and place where nothing matters but what we’re doing at the moment. We don’t plan, we don’t think and we are unaware of the bigger world around us. We go online, see a few tweets about an issue and thanks to Twitter or Facebook or whatever, we have all we need to know to decide whether or not we will support or oppose it.

Thinking is not required. Neither is being aware let alone committed.

You don’t have to take my word for it, look at the inane comments from both sides of the Presidential election argument currently on Twitter. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear it was a badly written comedy show starring Charlie Sheen or an episode of the Jerry Springer Show. The amount of rational thought or critical analysis that has gone into the discussion is less than is required to slap together a piece of Ikea furniture.

Ok, bad example. Assembling Ikea furniture isn’t all that easy but neither is thinking. It takes effort; more effort than picking your nose in public or fiddling with your iPhone. It takes assembling information; real information, not the opinionated articles of this blog or others and once you have that information, it requires analyzing it.

I know that’s a lot of effort for many but if deciding who you’re going to trust to govern your country isn’t worth that effort; then you might as well let your refrigerator vote for you because it will probably give it at least some serious thought before casting its ballot.

 

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© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07546712685011755912 LMC

    Common sense is what lacks most people today, and that is a consequence of lazyness, which in turn is a consequence of the level of automation we have today. If automatic machinery or electronics gives us more time, this extra time should be used wisely. Not messing around with more automation. It is know that before Goethe died his last words were: “Mehr Licht”, or “More Light”. He wanted more lifetime, to read more, to feel more to experience more. Today I guess that the sheer vision of dying without having time to update their facebook status will kill most people.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I remember when it was only adolescent girls who talked on the phone all the time and they eventually outgrew it. Now everyone is on their cell and smart phones as if the Prime Minister might have contacted them. It’s absurd. The real world is being overlooked in favour of gadgets, video games and inane messaging. It still astounds me that people line up to buy the new version of the iWhatever let alone sell a kidney to buy one as one young man in China did last year.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

    I have a Cross fountain pen. I love it.

  • Anonymous

    LOL! Very entertaining. I knew it was all over when schools started to say handwriting was passe and an unnecessary skill in the age of computers. I gave my neice a fountain pen for her birthday this year.