I’ve come to a realization in the past few days.
I guess maybe my age is showing but it’s becoming increasingly evident people are unable to think for themselves. I remember as a child, I built model cars built by AMT, JoHan, or Revell; piecing and gluing each individual part, following instructions meticulously, painting each door, body and engine to perfection, assembling the final product and marvelling in it’s creation.
I was taught Mathematics, Geometry and Algebra (along with other advanced courses) in High School; as well as the English language and the construction of our language. In order to solve mathematical problems we used the Slide Rule, a device complicated enough to require it’s own learning process. Remember diagramming? To take it even further, some of us were fortunate to learn other languages which enabled a deeper understanding of the construction of, and more importantly, the deconstruction of words and sentences.
I remember when I joined the Air Force and was being considered as a Language Specialist. One of the tests to determine the ability to learn new languages involved the development and structure of a “non-language” (The exam was the Defense Language Aptitude Battery).
Each of these facets of learning had one thing in common. The ability to reason, or quite simply, “figure it out”. One actually had to think in order to formulate a response and/or answer to a particular situation. Whether it was a mathematical formula, a sentence, or even putting together a model car, the success and gratification was in the accomplishment of the final product and the thought that went into it.
It’s not like that today. Today our children (or more importantly – their teachers and school administrators) focus more on passing state standard exams such as the woefully useless FCAT in Florida. Today we don’t buy model cars to put together, they already are. Today our High Schoolers depend on expensive electronic calculators to merely show them the correct graft or equation on a little green screen. Today the art of learning a language, nay…the art of learning the discipline of language, is lost in Google Translator. Today, people are spoon-fed information without the need to think about it.
As is our ability to research. Again, and once more – think for ourselves! Case in point: A few hours ago someone I know (without a computer) called me and asked me to Google a personal Hurricane Evacuation Plan for him.
Aside from the obvious fact that A. You get in the fucking car and head west!, or B. It’s all in the fucking phone book! is the most distressing: C. You couldn’t figure out A and B for yourself?
Which brings me to one final epithany.
Our country has always been one of political partisanship. The Constitution was written with the goal of perpetual discussion of the merits and demerits of a democracy. The process of our government has been under the microscope of evaluation for centuries.
What’s missing today, especially on the right, is Reason. We have pundits, politicians, prognosticators, and populists even networks throwing out wild theories and accusations. Why? Because they know the folks who listen to them are totally incapable of the thought processes needed to think things out. They are incapable of processing the words they hear, they can’t think it out…
When we have leaders of the Republican Party telling people ridiculous stuff like “The President’s not born in America!”, or “Brown people are illegal and don’t deserve rights”, or when people like Bill Wilder say “I want to see Florida a fag-free state!”, or the Attorney General of the State of Florida state that he doesn’t want a child raised by two loving people, or the outlandish Islamophobia coming from politicians and lilMike‘s keypads, we’re in a conundrum. Those of us with the intelligence, and reason, to realize this is bullshit, aren’t the targets.
It’s those who just don’t get it. Those who lack the intelligence or ability to “think it out“.
Think about it…