People Are Getting Dumber

I believe that, all things considered, I am a positive person.  When things are bad at work, I laugh, and think up a way they could be worse to share with my co-workers.  I love grey rainy days, I live for a challenge, and grumpy people just make me try harder to make everyone around me smile.  So I don’t think I’m being terribly unfair when I say that we as a society are getting dumber.

I’m disapointed!  I want to talk to people who read books, and understand when I’m making a Catcher in the Rye reference…I want to know people who know a lot about philosophy and politics and astronomy…I want a friend who  is absolutely obsessed with geology.  Okay, time to be fair.  My sister and Mom read tons, and we can talk about all things literary…My ex husband knew more than anyone I know about politics and would brief me every time we went for coffee…I know many people who’ve taken different subjects at school and know a lot about lots of things.  These people do exist.  It’s just…WHY are there not more of them???  Why do I know so very many people who talk about nothing but what they watched on TV last night?  I may just be watching too much Gilmore Girls lately…but I’m pretty frustrated.

I blame our current state of afairs on several things: technology (of course), our growing acceptance of extreme laziness, and our unnatural obsession with beauty.

The technology thing is fairly obvious; the amount of time we are all spending on facebook, texting, on the phone, or anything else online…it’s eclipsing the rest of our free time.  Now don’t get me wrong, I use and love texting and facebook, ask anyone.  I will defend these things fiercely if called to do so…but the problem arises when it takes up ALL of our free time.  We need quiet.  We need reflection.  We as human beings need margin where we are not particularly directed  to do anything.  We need to read.  We need to think.  When we have no time in which to do these quiet things…well, you can guess what happens.  We get dumber.

The laziness thing is perceptible by all I think.  More and more, we are shying away from anything uncomfortable or difficult.  School enrollment is down.  Obesity is up.  What conclusions may we draw from those two unrelated facts?  Mostly that my Practical Logic class apparently made no impact…but think about your own experience!  Are you and the people around you more eager to work hard than before?  Think about our parents and how hard they worked for what they got.  Oh my gosh, I can’t even finish this paragraph.  Getting…too…sleeeepy…

Our obsession with beauty is in my estimation the most detrimental development in recent years.  As human beings, we are drawn to beauty in nature and people.  But now more than ever, the message is being transmitted that we need to be pretty, and nothing else.  It’s gotten so incredibly ridiculous, that I and several of my friends have a policy of not dating anyone too good looking; they’re always boring and useless.  And I don’t want to spend time with someone who’s purely decorative.  Girls now are all supposed to have pornstar hair for crying out loud!  I see realtors and lawyers…with pornstar hair!!!!  Being attractive is nice.  Being smart is better.  Being a wise person who contributes instead of detracts from the world is even better.  If you need to start spending less time on makeup or weight lifting and more on learning about the world around you, it would help all of us.  Really. 

As for me, I will far more likely date a man who’s witty and gets my pop culture and literary references than someone who just looks good.  Because brains are sexy, haven’t you heard?!?

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2 Comments

  1. Frank

    I couldn’t agree more Brianna. When I was young, I remember being so excited to learn new things, and even more excited to then share them with others. It didn’t matter if it was something learned in school or elsewhere. I see kids(and for that matter some adults) today, and it seems like a strong work ethic and eagerness to try things outside of their “comfort zone” has been replaced by a sense of entitlement and overall disinterest in learning something new.

    In our culture beauty is almost always associated with looks, and if you don’t fit the mold…well too bad, you are not beautiful. However, in my mind the intangible beauty that a person can have underneath the surface is often exponentially more attractive than that which can be seen. I feel that there is a laziness to dig deeper and actually get to know the person.
    I see a similar type of laziness regarding the arts; music in particular. Most people in my area aren’t as open to new music anymore, and only want to hear what is force fed to them by MTV or “pop” radio. That laziness to search for new artists makes it near impossible for those struggling artists to ever “make it” or be heard. I mean if this type of mentality was around during the 60’s would artists like Bob Dylan or The Beatles ever have been who they are today?

    Again, a poignant and thought provoking article Brianna. Nice work.

    • briannacarson

      Wow Frank, I never thought of it in terms of music. Of course, you’re right…I know I love to go see live music in small clubs, but I rarely make the effort to go. I need to do that more, it’s totally worth it, and it opens my mind. Thanks so much for the reminder!

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