A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
I’ve been roaming this planet for a few years now, and I’m constantly amazed at how little I know. In fact, my comprehension of ideas and events seems to be working backwards — like an intellectual Benjamin Button. Stuff that I knew with all certainty to be true when I was a younger man has become – not so much. Here are just a few examples of how dead wrong I was.
When I was a kid, I was certain that the best minds would always, eventually, rise to shed light on, and perhaps even vanquish, the dark forces of ignorance. Welcome to 2020, boys and girls, when the leader of the Free World is going to be either Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders or – holy crap! – Joe Biden.
As a young person, I believed information and education were the keys to solving the world’s problems. Not even close! Here we are, the most educated population in history, with all the information in the universe available to us at the click of a mouse, and what are we doing? Playing “Fortnite” and binge-watching The Walking Dead. I rest my case.
I used to think that popular democracy was a good thing. ‘Fraid not! I have one word for you – Twitter.
At one time, I believed that intelligence was a sliding scale. It was my assumption that all people were relatively smart, depending on how you looked at it. Nope! The world is full of evidence that stupid is real, it’s everywhere and, in some cases, it’s thick enough to cut with a knife. Plus, it’s contagious. Hang out with stupid people long enough and you’ll end up buying outrageous amounts of toilet paper because – uh – a bunch of other people are buying it? (Too soon?)
At one time, I thought the truth was an absolute. Actually, the truth is a moveable feast, and thank God for that, because there are certain times when I want to be lied to. For example, I don’t want to know how many nuclear weapons have been lost since 1945. Just tell me none and I’ll be fine with that. Nor do I want to know how close we are to economic disaster, why climate change can’t be reversed or what kind of bums and noses are in my hotdog. The fact is, in some cases, the truth will not set you free — it’ll just totally stress you out.