Dumbing Down

Reading time: 3 mins

I have no idea which part of my brain starts these thoughts but sometimes I wish it would stop. The following is the result of a lot of hypothetical reasoning and is probably completely tosh. But if I don’t write this down I’ll go mental.

Recently there has been a recurring thought rattling about in my head concerning the de-education and de-sensitisation of society that has lead us to our current state of low morals, low intelligence and lowest common pandering.. but I’m struggling to piece it all together.

I read an article the other day that bemoaned the manner in which the news is reported, claiming that it is deliberately sensationalist and dumbed down. On the whole I have to agree, but the TV stations have to maintain an audience so it’s not really their fault, is it?

Let’s start with the standard of TV in general. The rise of consumer based programmes can be linked to the record levels of debt in the UK, we are an increasingly materialistic society the reasons for which lie in a variety of areas including but not limited to globalisation and a general decline in religious beliefs — the former gives us cheaper and cheaper products, the latter is an excuse for selfishness? Hey, I didn’t say this was well thought out…

I think the fascination with celebrity can be thrown into the mix as well. And as our credit cards provide us with the extra money, and thus the desire to spend, we apparently seem to need people to emulate — What does [insert celeb] have in his/her living room?

So the next obvious question has to be why we feel the need to emulate these people, and how much of that emulation is actually a need for validation; If I own what that popular, well-known person owns, then I’ll get a little of that same popularity and recognition for myself, I’ll be just like them, love me too!!

Are we all really THAT lacking in self-confidence?

I’m guessing we are for I can think of no other reason why there is ANOTHER “design a new room (a new you?) in only 6 hours using sellotape and dead hamsters!” program ‘coming soon’.

Right, we are getting somewhere now, a lack of self confidence can be traced to… come on, you know… that’s right, lack of validation, reassurance and encouragement as a child. Simple. And who do we blame when that goes wrong, why the parents of course!

So there you go. Simple. Blame the parents.

But we can’t. It’s not their fault. For starters, they are only a product of their generation, many of whom lived through a war…

Hang on, is THAT what we are lacking?

Is the fundamental reason our society continues to exhibit less than wanted traits because we’ve not had a ‘hard time’ recently? Because, these days, the wars are in far off lands, relayed via satellite into our living rooms (and thus helping with the de-sensitisation).

Do we lack respect for authority because authority is, essentially, meaningless? Disobey a warden during war time may have meant wandering under a falling bomb, what punishment do we give today for ‘anti-social behaviour’? A few weeks community service? Do we have it too easy?

Of course there is no one answer, especially not given the huge amount of generalisation that I’ve thrown about, willy-nilly. Lack of education, respect, and obedience are all lining up as potential victims, but more importantly what is the solution? IS there a solution?

The evidence is there for all to see, and here is a final thought on the matter. As the usage of the internet grows, the number of TV channels increases and the long tail kicks in, will the divide between the ‘dumb’ and the ‘not so dumb’ increase? If we can all pick and choose our life experiences, our knowledge and our specialisation, then how will we be able to interact with one another in the future? If we are cocooned in our own mini-societies, what becomes of us?