Is the Interweb making us stupid?
All knowledge is two YouTube videos away. You need to fix your garage door opener; there’s a YouTube video for that. How do I install a toilet? There’s a YouTube video for that. What’s the hero’s journey according to Joseph Campbell? YouTube. What’s the difference between an ionic and covalent bond? YouTube, YouTube, YouTube and so on. I say two YouTube videos because not all YouTube videos are created equal, as well you need the second one to confirm the findings of the first one and lastly if you’re like me you have trust issues. Who does this guy think he is explaining the laws of thermal dynamics anyways?
So why with such a rich wealth of knowledge at our fingertips are we becoming so stupid?
We really don’t have to look any further than the comment section directly underneath our lovely YouTube University. For every drop of insight there’s a sea of ignorance. Everything’s political and no one’s listening to anything that diverts their emotional base. My new pet peeve are the political videos that claim So-and-So DESTROYS So-and-So. The only thing being destroyed here is the value of words. In most cases casual viewers cherry-pick their team’s words and claim instant victory. Discourse is healthy unless it becomes a Garfield without Garfield comic where you remove your opponents ideas from influencing you in anyway. Destroys: the ball hasn’t moved an inch.
Both sides of the argument are equally guilty of demonizing the opposing team and the internet is a giant megaphone. How did so many smart people get sucked into such a stupid predicament? This sounds like a textbook example of hell: you’ll be condemned to a circular argument with a deaf, dumb and blind troll with a bullhorn for eternity. Insert proper cliche here. Indignation has become the designer drug of the 21st century.
Maybe the potential of the internet was too good for us and we weren’t meant to have nice things. Maybe we should just stick to Aunt Petunia’s gardening blog and call it a day. Maybe politicians do have our best interests in mind. Maybe internet trolls are really doing God’s work and exposing the flimsiness of our convictions. Maybe brawn over brain is the way to go. Maybe facts don’t really matter. Maybe listening and compromise are antiquated ideals. Maybe a world without Art is better off. Maybe we get what we deserve. Maybe… but no.
Don’t be stupid.