Friday, January 11, 2013

Culture and education are things that are portable, that don't require lots of technology to acquire

Yet folks in the U.S. seem to think that they're way too expensive. Much more expensive then, say, all of the industrial production needed to make some of the more extraneous goods around us. I'm amazed sometimes that pre-literate or literate but non-industrialized societies often have higher levels of general education than many places in the United States, but it's the truth. In the case of the pre-literate societies, what they lack in actual schooling is often made up for by culture, stories, ideas, that are passed on by word of mouth, but that people know and revere in ways that are similar to the ways that people approach formal learning. In certain places in Greece it was common for people to have memorized parts of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and to be able to talk about it intelligently. Philosophy, or at least an interest in the big questions of life, was also pursued by people.....because although it took time, it didn't take any extra money. You don't need to buy anything to pursue philosophy except a few books.

In contrast, look at what we have today, here where we have so much materially: folks whose idea of the world is shaped by the worst, dumbed down, pandering of "reality" and sitcom television, where the most idiotic people are presented as being a-ok folks. Television plays to the worst in human nature, the desire to be lazy and indulgent in whatever sort of consumption or lack of impulse control helps advertisers to sell their products. The sort of Bro, just go for it, ideal, is just what people selling goods need: just chug it, buy it, do it. Don't think about the bigger things in life, just lead your life like it's another episode of Fear Factor.

Self reflection, to say nothing about contemplation of any deeper questions, is not encouraged, because if people checked themselves, they may not go for what's being pushed at them.

As William S. Burroughs once said in his skit about talking dinosaurs "Where can this end? In a natural museum, our bones gawked at by pimply adolescents saying "I wonder how big his prick was?"

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