To Understand, or to be Entertained?
We no longer want to understand – but want to be entertained instead.
The first is active, and develops the mind – the second is passive and allows the mind to deteriorate. To me, this is the worst situation imaginable – but it does not bother many other people. In fact, they seem determined to not think about this – or anything else.
This seems to be the situation in America – Americans are determined not to think. And they consider this a positive virtue.
This can be seen as a reaction to the Enlightenment, which began in the middle of the 19th Century, but has acquired new force in the last half of the 20th.
The Enlightenment was seen as a failure, and the reaction to it as a success! And today’s non-thinking public is still basking in this success. They know that somewhere in the not-to-distant past – their side won a total victory! And they expect this victory to continue.
What actually happened was the triumph of Industrialization. Which my parent’s generation enjoyed enormously – while having no idea of what was going on.
This did not last long – by the Seventies it was all over, and America’s manufacturing muscle disappeared. And its mental muscle – which was not in very good shape to begin with. Americans have never been much good at thinking – and have preferred action – violent action, instead.
I would love to share my thoughts with my family and friends – but this is impossible. They will not think – no matter what.
What we have is a situation we cannot recover from – which has happened often in human history. People have an amazing ability to get themselves into situations like this.
We should add this to our inventory of things we know about ourselves.
We can easily become destructive – instead of constructive.