We live in an era of unbridled intellectual laziness. We are infused with the power of reductive simplicty and feeling.
People on the whole seem to have lost all their curiosity to confirm or dig past headlines that feed into their own confirmation biases. I actually saw someone online deduce X because person Y was a jerk, which to them proved that the entire system of belief to which they were “now subscribing” was justified.
That’s tribalism informed by an intellectual vapidity on a level that leaves me breathless. Unfortunately, it seems all too common.
Punk Rock Reason
I am flustered because no one wants to investigate things further than the 10 seconds they need to skim an article. Supposedly trustworthy outlets publish quick-hit articles to capture traffic, and so they don’t care about providing context. People will click on an item, that will bring them ad revenue, and they can worry about the correction later.
People, meanwhile, just remember the first headline or what they skimmed from an article, or what their neighbor shared with their own commentary, and move forward. And if they question, they are an instant pariah.
The very act of saying “I want to know more about this” before pronouncing a sweeping judgment seems a rebel act. Asking for more information is the punk rock of the social media era.
It frustrates me to no end. I don’t know what else I can say about it, to be honest, but I’m going to try with an example.
I had a friend relay to me a story about another person that voiced disappointment with their education because they now looked back on their college classes as insufficient. It was reasoned that, since the school did not assign things of a broad enough spectrum, it had hampered the student’s ability to learn the topic properly.
The problem with this argument, of course, is its presumption. Like training wheels on a bike, school is only supposed to get you established so that you can eventually ride on your own. The fact that this person viewed the completion of his degree requirements as an end point and not a starting point is the very problem.
You are supposed to be intellectually curious. You are supposed to branch out and explore things that challenge you. Otherwise you may as well just read franchise book installments and watch only Marvel™©® movies for the rest of your life.
For what better guide to life is there than a writer’s room?
I can’t fix it. I can’t change it. But I can rage at the sky that people are so lazy. We have mountains of technological advancement heaped upon us beyond anything within the dreams of the past, creating more free time for us to explore and grow.
Instead we spend our time bickering and attacking people for heterodox thought. We create videos meant to garner attention and trade on insecurity. We seek clout above camaraderie.
Maybe part of my frustration is age. Maybe part of it is something ingrained deep inside my psyche by my parents. Maybe part of it is the lingering trauma of battling people who continually conflate arguments for the sake of cheap points.
Maybe I’m just expecting too much of people. I don’t think I am. I think they expect too little of themselves.