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Man is Becoming Less Knowledgeable Daily

Updated on March 31, 2012

"I told you we're supposed to eat it, not smoke it!!"

Pandas enjoying the world's tallest grass - bamboo
Pandas enjoying the world's tallest grass - bamboo

A lot of knowledge can be a dangerous thing...?

Is it any wonder that our teenagers have, in many cases, opted out from formal education? It’s perhaps not so much the cost and the fact that no jobs are guaranteed at the end of their studies anyway, but the very ethos of learning so much information and tucking it away in the grey matter seems unnecessary when another “brain” spews out all they need to know at the touch of a button.

Today, all you need be is a proficient button pusher and Google or Wikipedia provides your long-term memory, (now in their cell phones!)

I mean, however much anyone studies, they become progressively and relatively more ignorant during every waking day.

And none of this esoteric stream of facts and figures gives a life-form what it wants anyway.

Take Ray Mears. How many of us are going to need his advice on how to survive in emergency situations in the wild?

I personally love Ray, even though he’s got fat as butter and has trouble these days stooping to rub two boy scouts together and make a fire, much less dig an igloo or have sex with a female moose.

But with “the wild” becoming yesterday’s news, how many of us will trek into the Amazon rain forest when there’s as many trees as you find alongside a British A road? Park the car in the UK; head into that inviting thicket and two trees later you wander into another motorway.

How many of us will leap into rafts to ride the wild rivers which have become trickles as they wash lamely against a huge dam?

Man - or any bunch of particles calling itself “life” - still only really needs the good old “sex, food and shelter.” All the frills, as orchestrated by our complex cerebral cortex, we could do without, much as their loss would pain modern man.

Our kids, at some basic level, realize this and they get what they want in a simple manner, often using a language as mystifying to us as listening in to Martians.

Ask your teenager daughter if she is having sex. Her reply will leave you no clearer as to the real situation…not really because she minds you knowing (late teens anyway) but she has not the words to explain to mum. (dads could care less these days). Why ask anyway, of course she is!

It is doubtful love will be mentioned. Kids don’t seem to expand on this even amongst themselves. But I don’t want to go down this path too far, mainly because I am as mystified as anyone else. I will say, though, that having sex today amongst a group that adds metal all over their bodies to aid in stimulation, is treated with callous indifference indeed, by the oldie’s standards.

What interests me is the concept that we are becoming more and more ignorant, if you like, when compared to the sum total of human knowledge.

Once upon a time man could amass the sum total of all human knowledge. Each and every person on the planet, say, 500 years ago, could easily store all that everyone else knew, if they could have contacted the source. (There were no books apart from parchment porn available to monks).

Today: in 2012, one person rarely knows everything there is to know about a blade of grass, never mind a significant percentage of the other torrent of information about man and his universe out there somewhere.

“Nonsense,” you scoff. “I know all about grass, the gardens full of it: photo-synthesis and all that” (from biology 101).

OK, put your listening ears on, as Judge Judy is fond of commanding.

Did you know grass - all grasses - are “Graminoids?”

That they are “Monocotyledonous?”

You may well have known grass is herbaceous, but did you know that “True Grasses,” (in contrast to those libidinous stems who cheat on one another), are from the “Poaceae Family?”

Then there is a whole other related family of Sedges and Rushes. Moses even knew that!

Did you know that grass, as well as being the stuff of your lawns and (some) sports fields has representatives which tower over lesser family members” True, we call them “Bamboo.” We know grass has been around a while…how? It has been found in fossilized Dinosaur dung from the Cretaceous Period.

OK, I’ll stop being a smart ass. I knew little of the above, either, I did what the smart kids do and called up Wikipedia.

But we only scratched the surface of the plants called “Grass.” You could fill books and websites with all there is to know and you could never remember 1% of it.

And that’s just one thing: Grass. We are surrounded by, inundated by, suffused by a suffocating miasma of information, nearly all of which will have not one iota of influence on our lives.

No wonder I want to chuck the computer out of the window and go and live in my cave in Baja!

Maybe our brains, despite their huge capacity - as if evolution had forecast this imperfect storm of facts and figures - are becoming so stuffed that the pure doctrine of survival and needs are contaminated. Is this is why we seek the wrong nutrition, end up with incompatible partners, build houses in danger zones all over the world? Are we just so confused by our ancillary “brains” …computers?

I mean, not only are we supplied with information on anything that attracts our fancy, so much of it is contradictory and argumentative.

Have you ever looked on Google to find out about a medical condition you have - or might have? One site turns the other on its head and vice versa.

How often do you come away with clear thinking on your problem saying, “Great, that’s exactly what I’ll do!” Not often I bet. It would be interesting to do a study on how many lie in graveyards world-wide as a direct result of a “cure” they found on Google.

Don’t worry, your doctor’s been looking on the Mayo Clinic site, too! That’s why your on so many pills, not because he actually put his hands on you and made a “Diagnosis!” Doctors in that huge fraud called the NHS these days don’t do that, it might end up in a law suit!

Doctors in the main do what their drug company reps tell ‘em to do. Put you on another pill and hope for the best.






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    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Tilly. Thanks for visit. I thought you were churning them out: well done!!

      And not once did you use Wiki right? I don't know whether to resent Wikipedia or sing its praises; it's articles certainly leave our humble efforts for dead, yet I think many people don't need that much info about any given subject and would prefer a concise hub giving them the facts with a few laughs.

      Glad you have found Ray, he makes good TV


    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi, Kat: I wish a doc would ask me that, i'd get one with codein in!

      I don't mind a collegial relationship with a doc and have one with mine if I can ever get to see him. That's the Internet for you, to be forewarned is to be forearmed...

      see ya


    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Ha, Jools...don't think so badly of Ray, after all, it's lonely out there in the wilds of Canada; the moose may not strike a romantic note with us, but, well, those meaty lips seen against the light of the moon...!

      Re the Internet, there is just so much on there now that it is ceasing to be useful. Too much is argumentitive, badly presented or researched. Too many hubbers like me chucking sketchy stuff on there about moose shagging, etc.

      Thanks for visit


    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi people...A meaty comment with some significant thought. I agree with most of what you have said. I am not quite so sure about the first sentence. Understanding of art and literature, for example, might not have any application, but would give personal satisfaction. There again, it might if you were involved in the arts.

      Thanks for commnent,


    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 6 years ago from North-East UK

      Bob, an interesting and thought provoking hub. The internet is full of bits of information, some are facts, some are crap. Unless our kids/others already have some intelligence or at least the ability to discriminate - it is all fair game which is a worry. Computers have their place but they are not everything. I think my daughter's generation may end up reaping what they sow for living their lives 'public' so much on Fakebook, My Space etc. Knowledge is all around us, all the time and schools should be encouraging free thought a lot more that Ofted are allowing them to do.

      Ray Mears' weight gain shows he has long given up eating the fruits of the wild and instead turned to KFC but I can never look at him the same way now that you have suggested the moose! I think my patchy lawn is down to me not giving a crap about its health and wellbeing.

    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 6 years ago from Placentia California

      Knowledge without application is an exercise in futility. Wow! I just made that up. But it's based on my experience. I remember in high school all the math drills I took and could not see a need for them. Then I joined the Air Force and they sent me to electronic fundametals school to become a radar repairmen. Suddenly, I found a need for all the math that I hated and I found that I could apply myself to learn. Isaac Asimov said: "The best way to learn is learn it at the time you need it." Technologies of today are used as tools to build tools for the future. Wow, another one I just made up! Thanks for SHARING. voted up and interesting.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      "Jack of all trades master of none" has never been truer than right now as you've pointed out. The problem, some believe, is there is too much to be learned so it is better to use the Internet to garner information. I object! Just because you can use the computer to DO your math doesn't mean you're going to LEARN your math!

      I wasn't familiar with Ray Mears - so I looked him up on the Internet. My bad.

      While there are exceptions to every rule I believe you are humorously spot on! Voted up, funny and interesting. Had to SHARE so others can enjoy too!

      (Now that my 30/30 is over I can finally start reading and enjoying hubs like yours.)

    • profile image

      KatrineDalMonte 6 years ago

      Haha Bob, in other words, anyone can be a doctor, for all the info one ever needs can be easily looked up. LOL, I have a friend, and her GP actually asks her what cough syrup she would like....why bother if we can treat ourselves by finding info online or in the book? :-)

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi "Manna. I could come back at you with a few of the statements you make,(such as my observations weren't about the really smart kids), but, in the main, as usual, your comments are carefully thought out and full of wisdom (facts!).

      So I thanks you for your visit...


    • Manna in the wild profile image

      Manna in the wild 6 years ago from Australia

      Don't confuse experience, knowledge and wisdom with facts. Facts are what you seek during an internet search, but what you really get is a collection of statements, and each of those needs to be evaluated for truth, false and in some cases fuzzy conclusions somewhere between the two. Yes, the smart kids are using Wikipedia to find facts. The really smart kids are using multiple sources and evaluating the results. Computers can store and supply facts quite well but they don't as easily help you perform critical examinations and investigations. The name that we give something is very useful but it has little value. By this, I mean that you could form a billion different vocal sounds, signs or symbols to represent what is "grass", but the act of taxonomy is where the value is. So I disagree with you. Knowledge is not equivalent to facts, and today, on aggregate, people are becoming more knowledgeable.

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 6 years ago from Ohio

      Spirit - love that quote as well. I have always held a firm belief that it is more important to know how to think/learn than it is to retain a list of facts. Thanksgoodness I had many teachers who felt the same. Sadly, I did not see the same philosophy when I was a teaching assistant in gradutate school.... Bob. Thanks again for getting us truly thinking.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Dana: Accurate and welcome comment. I guess there's just so many of us only the really wealthy get top treatment/

      Spirit: So true and I love that quote..


    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Another very very interesting and thought provoking article. I believe education nowadays has put our children to sleep. Teachers now give their lessons using PowerPoint through their computers and children are expected to soak up information that is thrown at them like this all day long. In society's endeavor to make the transfer of information so efficient it has achieved the opposite. People like Ray Mears advocate a return to another way of educating our children and I love him for this.

      "Tell a child what to think and you make him a slave to your knowledge. Teach him how to think and you make all knowledge his slave."

      Thank you Bob.

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 6 years ago from Ohio

      This is great. Thank you for writing it! You are 100% right. So many of us don't bother to really learn anything anymore, or to appreciate those people that do. I just recently switched primary physicians because I swear my old one could have killed me at least 4 times, and I can't remember the last time she actually examined me! And too many people run to google rather than a real live expert that can give them real advice, if there are any of those left... You have refreshed my love of knowlegde and my desire to be a perpetual student and teacher alike.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      au fait: Maybe you have Japanese Beetle" You need starlings.

      clairemy: Yes, just what do you learn when the sum total is so vast and all the answers are a button-push away. It's a different world.

      Jkenny: Yes, I love Ray's programs, although the good ones are all repeats now. What a great life he has had.

      Chris...thanks for visit and kind comment


      Lyn... Glad you liked the humor, I was trying to lighten it up

      Angie: Hi. Yes, I guess I don't get around enough.

      Bob..thanks all.

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Funny hub, Bob ... and it's true that some kids know very little. I am constantly amazed at how little general knowledge they have these days.

      But there are still brainy kids out there who are so fascinated by a subject that they specialise. We see them all the time on TV if you follow the right programmes. There are youngsters (well, younger than us ... and that ain't hard) who have in-depth knowledge on history, say, and present programmes on complex historical subjects. Many of them won't see thirteen again ...

      But frankly, it is sad that so much of our present day youth would simply be unable to dredge up one interesting fact out of their own brains ... and sadly they seem to be content to be virtual morons.

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image

      Lyn.Stewart 6 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      loved the humour throughout ... I have notied that so many people now days don't impart all the wisdom they learnt as kids to the next generation. Most kids now days don't know how to fix a bike tire or how to fish.

      voted up etc.

    • profile image

      Sophia Angelique 6 years ago

      This is sadly true.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Great hub Diogenes, this is a very interesting topic. Voted up, interesting and sharing!

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 6 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Another reason why a lawn may be patchy is through the urine of a female dog. There's a chemical in it that turns considerable areas of a lawn yellow and brown, especially in the summer, when you get long dry spells as well. I can understand your frustration, Bob; the other day I had to explain to a teenage colleague at work who the Prime Minister was, and also how taxes work? Some kids seem to just live in their own world, detached from reality. I'm passionate about wildlife, and most of the knowledge I have was learnt through reading books and just getting out there and experiencing the wild for myself.

      By the way, I'm also a big fan of Ray Mears, I love his confident, yet calm attitude, he never seems flustered by anything, and his knowledge of the natural world is unbelievable. I think bushcraft deserves more attention and coverage, kids should be encouraged to at least learn some skills. Voted up.

    • clairemy profile image

      Claire 6 years ago

      People don't seem to bother to learn anymore. They seem to only learn about the things they need to use or think they need to know and then leave it.

      Its a pity because through learning we gain so much for ourselves and lets face it with good knowledge you can converse intelligently with others and that opens up doors to new friendships and maybe life experiences.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 6 years ago from North Texas

      If the lawn is patchy, it's most likely due to grubs. Pharmaceutical companies certainly encourage pill pushing here in the states by giving docs kickbacks for prescribing brand name drugs, but here it's the insurance company peons that tell them what to do. Better to have a minimum pay grunt making important life and death decisions for a person than some government bureaucrat! (See, I can be a smart ass too!)

      Agree people are loosing knowledge. Our schools here in the states no longer teach cursive and math is learned on a calculator. Won't be long I'd wager, before audio books are in the schools so kids no longer have to learn to read!

      Interesting hub you have here. Food for thought.

      Weekends are pretty much the only time I have with my machine. That's why my rating is so low . . .