The Internet: Now with the information you're not looking for!

posted by Jeff | Sunday, January 27, 2013, 11:05 PM | comments: 0

The presidential election is becoming a distant memory, but the stupidity people apply toward politics and other matters of cultural and societal importance is greater than ever. It's particularly bad on the series of tubes.

Look, I'm not a huge Obama fan myself given his total lack of followthrough on leading Washington out of the bullshit and into some kind of constructive, functioning entity, but the way people hate the guy is totally irrational. Before invoking Godwin's Law, I would almost have more respect for people if they just said they didn't like him because he was a black guy. At least that has some historical precedence rooted in racism. Some people are so out of their fucking minds that they think he's going to somehow acquire a third term, take away your guns, declare martial law and implant an RFID chip in the back of your head. I can't make this stuff up.

While I don't think there's any hope for people that batshit crazy, I still find it disappointing that people are so unwilling to understand anything on a non-trivial level. More scary is that I think people don't want that understanding because it challenges their beliefs and ideals. It's more cozy in your own echo chamber I suppose.

In the days before the Internets, when I was in college (get off my lawn!), I remember being politically minded to the extent that I had certain ideals I wanted to adhere to. Age and experience morphed my m.o. gradually. Then, in the last five or six years, I've found that the only practical thing to do is allow my ideals to be somewhat maleable. As it turns out, I can find real information about the world almost instantly, and little of it completely validates my position on anything. So provided I can allow myself to be "wrong," or at the very least, not have a complete picture of something, I can collect data and modify what I think. You don't have to be a genius to expect that most things are not all that simple, and rarely adhere to an extreme viewpoint in either direction. Sometimes there are even more than two directions.

So in our time, where we carry super computers in our pockets connected through air to a network of all of the information mankind has, we tend to squander the opportunity by simply allowing ourselves to be ignorant morons. Sometimes that really brings me down. How many times does someone have to share some nonsense on Facebook, without taking a moment to verify its authenticity, before you start calling people out for being lemming morons? If people are really happier being ignorant, what does that say about our culture?

I try to stay optimistic about this. Younger people who don't know the world without the Internet seem a little more open to seeing a broader and more complex view of the world. I wonder what it will be like when Generation-Z starts to lead in business, government and social issues. My generation is a bit of a mixed bag, and Millennials seem split into groups of entitled brats and fantastic over-achievers (hoping the latter continue to grow in influence).

Hopefully our culture-at-large will evolve past this stupidity. The opportunity is too great not to.


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