We Don’t Want No Education?

Science fiction writers have been worrying about dumbing-down from The Time Machine (Wells, 1895) through The Marching Morons (Frederick Pohl, 1951) to Idiocracy (2006). The reasons have varied. Wells saw it in terms of evolution and the loss of qualities that are neither needed nor used; his leisured classes lost their intelligence by being pampered. Pohl, suffering from the then customary confusion of social class with intelligence, was concerned with the proles having more children than the middle classes. The final example, they tell me, fingers the deliberate dumbing-down by American culture, the careful cultivation of ignorance by the corporations. It starts in America, of course, but is then exported and propagated worldwide. One day the tide of artificially-induced idiocy will deluge even North Korea, displacing the indigenous variety.

This third version of dumbing-down strikes me as being the most accurate scenario. When Disraeli more or less accidentally gave the British universal franchise, he quipped, “Now we must educate our masters.” Education of the masses seemed like a good idea at the time, but, judging by the modern “infotainment” industry, the elite seems to have subsequently decided that it was all an unfortunate mistake.

It is fondly imagined that the job of our media is to inform and debate, and that the job of our entertainment industry is to amuse, divert and move. In fact the main task of both is to aid the corporations in extracting resources from individual workers and entire countries without proper remuneration. This is accomplished by the demonisation of enemies, domestic and foreign, and the disparagement of intelligence.

Posted on June 20, 2011 at 14:44 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!, The Great War On Brains (GWOB)

2 Responses

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  1. Written by urban
    on June 20, 2011 at 19:05

    Yes. It sometimes seems it has gotten so bad that to want anything at all from one’s life besides that which is dictated, anything besides a wide screen TV with ‘the game’ on and a beer in ones hand is to be ‘elitist’. Anyone who asks difficult questions and expects a good answer is an ‘elitist’. Anyone who uses their brain for anything besides accumulation and status burnishing.

    I see it rather differently. The elites are the ones siphoning the nation’s wealth into their own pockets through this ruse. No shortage of suckers, is there?

  2. Written by Mick Whitehead
    on June 21, 2011 at 10:28

    A prominent statesman in ancient Greece was speaking at a public gathering. A statement he made was suddenly met with wild applause. The speaker turned to his aide and whispered, ‘have I just said something stupid?’

    Technology has brought the stupidity of the Grex to centre stage, made it prominent and ‘in your face.’ But it has always been there, as we see in the writings of great men from the dawn of recorded history.

    Aristotle tells us to, ‘find the correspondence between things.’ I see a parallel between the structure of Mankind and a vine. The vine first establishes its superstructure, the support base, the thick stem. In Man this base is represented by the ‘voting cattle,’ always, of necessity for DNA replication or maintenance of the species, a majority.

    The plant then launches tendrils into unexplored territory searching for a toehold. These are our Spinozas, Brunos, the sages of Chinese antiquity. Like tendrils they are the most delicate, most likely to be damaged. If tendrils could ‘feel’ they would experience unsteadiness, estrangement, and note their distance from the stem.

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