I read the following quote (but forgot to note where):
“The modern world--the one evident from observing human life--revolves around money, sex, power, and entertainment. If we are to believe what we see on television, too many people value brands more than knowledge/ideas.”
This provoked some thought. No one should have an issue with the first sentence. As the writer points out: this is evident. There is no value judgement. Sex is driven by nature and even the best attempts of humans to reign it in have failed. Money has become a prime measurement of success and necessity for even basic life. Power is, again, driven by nature. Competition is the human behavior equivalent of gravity. Entertainment is necessary to fill people’s time, now that humans have developed beyond hunting & gathering and even subsistence farming. None of that precludes the need for and/or interest in knowledge.
The second sentence suggests criticism and raises some questions, which would make interesting debate topics for intelligent people. What would humans to to keep busy between being born and death, if they did not work or watch television? What would modern life be like without daily conveniences and branded products. If one studies the evolution of packaging, the convenience and reliability of branded goods is evident. Therefore, does that make valuing brands over ideas wrong? Perhaps, there are people that value both (I am one). This becomes a question of magnitude. What is “too many”?
I am not sure who is to blame for the dumbing down of society. Perhaps the government or, more specifically, people responsible for education. I once read an article on the required learning of a high school graduate in the late 1800s. No current high school student--and few, if any, college graduates--could pass the test. That suggests that schools have become easier, which has led to the dumbing down of citizens. Was this a planned attempt to make voters less-discerning and more easily manipulated with lies?
Entertaining is easier than educating; and, being entertained is easier than learning/thinking. Given the standard distribution of intelligence (and I assume interest in learning), half the population resides on the “below average” side of the bell curve. If one takes two thirds or three fourths, then a whole bunch of folks are happy that school has become easier, tune in to whatever turns them on, and are easily lured by the siren song of brand advertising.
With the cartoon in an earlier post about declining education standards fresh in mind, an article in one of today's newspapers caught my attention. The content is surprising, but it is not surprising. It's a well-known fact that most Americans know little geography, but I had expected a bit of knowledge about basic premises on which that formerly great nation was founded. All that flag waving should have some residual effect. It's been proven that trickle-down economics does not work; so maybe trickle-down knowledge does not either.
The article stated that 70% of the population of the Beacon of Democracy do not know basic facts about the Constitution. The dumbing down of the population seems to be another Great American Success Story. The rich get richer and the poor are made dumber....
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.