Ever seen Idiocracy? Mike Judge’s cult classic starts out with you going “Ha! Everyone’s stupid!” and within maybe 20 minutes has every intelligent person watching going “oh…oh shit.”
I don’t necessarily find this article is saying anything new, but it does bring us back to looking at this concept of the lowest common denominator. I’m both quite cynical and quite idealistic in this regard. My cynical side says that the majority of the population isn’t intelligent enough to bring any positive impact to the world at large, and will never do better than turning some form of repetitive labor into money. You will point out how many people in this country have college degrees, to which I will say, “yeah…think about that for a second.” Thanks to the existence of the MBA, I’m not entirely sure that even a Master’s degree says definitively that you are an intelligent person.
Yeah, I said I was cynical.
I do think our society is getting more intelligent as a whole, and having access to and retaining more information. As we know more things, more people are able to absorb and use more information, making us more enlightened as a whole. The ultimate problem is that a larger amount of information betrays an utter lack of critical thinking skills…and the fallacious idea that knowing things makes you intelligent.
Here’s a test. Go to any mass market news site and look at the comment section. If you feel depressed, angry, or a sudden desire to hurt people, you probably are fairly intelligent. If you have the sudden desire to reply…well, there’s a small chance you’re a masochist, but it doesn’t look good.