Intellectual Apathy

We are fortunate to be alive at a time when almost limitless knowledge is at our fingertips. There is little a person can’t discover if they put their mind to it. In what amounts to a paradox, it seems that people are more ill-informed than they were in previous decades. We have become a society that has machines to make our jobs easier, and we expect others that we deem more intellectually advanced than us to think about the more problematic subtleties of life. We have become intellectually lazy and in effect have allowed others to think for us. We seem all too content to think about this week’s sports contest as if it matters and enable our advancement forward to be thought out and implemented by others. Civilization as we have come to know it can’t exist as we now know it if we don’t teach future generations the importance of learning.

First, learning is not memorization. Any trained monkey can memorize a pattern and repeat it. Learning is being able to apply knowledge gained in cunning and innovative ways. The geniuses that currently drive our scientific development will die out someday, and someone must be there to pick up the torch. If that does not occur, then innovation will become stagnant and we will de-evolve from our current level of development. Technology is fantastic, but it has caused many in our society to rely on it too heavily and for the wrong things.

People tend just to believe what they are told and never do any research on their own. They use their internet access to check their social media, email, and watch online videos. They rarely use it to look up information that would enrich them intellectually and create a greater understanding of the world around them. To most, their universe is American Idol and the Walking Dead. There is nothing wrong with either of those things but after all, they are shows, and despite calling some of them reality shows, we all know they are as fake as honest politicians. It is beneficial to escape from the mundaneness of the real world, but it is frightening to think of the number of people that live in fantasy land ad nauseam.

Everyone is capable of learning and improving their knowledge base. Laziness is the driving factor behind not doing so. We can’t all be as gifted as Stephen Hawking, but we all can become competent in our assessments of world events and direction. I live in a small town, and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been accused of using “big” words. I never knew that expanding one’s vocabulary would be considered dissatisfactory. I sometimes feel like I’ve been transported here from some parallel universe. Of course, I know that isn’t true, but it lends much credence to my claim of intellectual laziness.  I’m fascinated by learning, and I don’t get put off by something that someone says that I don’t understand. I know that it only takes a simple search and a bit of quiet contemplation and then I too will understand. People don’t want to try.  I believe it mostly due to a sedentary lifestyle, and that is due to having such easy access to everything comparatively to previous generations.

I hate to see this in people because I believe we are all capable of accomplishing so much together as a species. But, when so many are only focused on trivialities I fear for the future of the human race. The only limiting factor in our evolution is ourselves. Our obstinacy will most likely lead to our downfall. Should we continue down the path of relying on others to meet our needs and never put in any work towards that goal ourselves, then we will reap destruction from the malformed seeds we have sown. We can’t be apathetic to intellectual pursuits, and just relinquish that quest to others. If we abandon that type of control then in effect we relinquish the course of our lives to people we have never met. We will quickly find ourselves led about like sheep to the slaughter and be none the wiser because we failed to care when it mattered. We control our destiny if we only choose to do so. Life is far too valuable to get marred down in minutiae and far too valuable to leave in the hands of strangers. We have faith in people we don’t know and somehow can’t spare an ounce for ourselves. They aren’t any more capable than you or I. So I would challenge anyone reading this to take hold of the reigns of your life and never fear that you aren’t good enough. You have all you need to drive your destiny in the way you see fit!


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