Yesterday I tried to express my deepening puzzlement and alarm about the seeming rise of ignorance and disdain for education and reason.
You know how you have an idea flickering around the edge of your mind, but its so absurd or bad you don’t even want to consider it? The idea I’ve been trying to ignore is this:
Many people have become so used to conveniences and instant gratification of many types, that they don’t want to be inconvenienced by the effort of actually having to be educated and informed, becoming intellectually lazy.
Our educational system shares some of the blame for this. It was a mistake to turn public schools and education into training facilities for factory workers. And much more of a mistake to have taken so long to admit that type of education is definitely not needed in today’s post industrial world.
Unfortunately, I would think today’s huge numbers of unemployed people are more susceptible to this, since they tend to be more isolated. And not being employed means not needing to have mastery of a subject, or exercise skills needed to work with others, including using reasoning. Adding the “echo chamber” concept, of people selecting the social media and news sources that support their own viewpoints, it is easy to see how so many people have uninformed and unusual ideas.
Fortunately, my experience has also been that those ideas fade away when people, especially diverse groups of people, come together to work on concrete projects together. Working together, building community always shows us how much we have in common, and helps us come together, and differences (and odd ideas) tend to fade away.
We would do well to work to create opportunities for people to come together to work on common projects.