What is being average and/or ordinary so prized in our society?
I think this question can be answered in two ways. The first is that experts, especially in the economic arena, have been woefully wrong as of late. I'm not sure why anyone takes most of mainstream economics seriously anymore, when the majority of them, right or left, but especially right, didn't see the housing crises coming. If you are supposed to be an expert, and you fail miserably in your area of expertise, then your credibility is lost. So experts are hyped up, but don't do any better than the common person in predicting the future, and sometimes are worse.
The second reason, which is not complimentary, is that most people are mediocre. Their thoughts are mediocre, and so are their jobs. They could have fulfilling relationships, but if divorce rates and mental illness are any indication, the average person isn't doing well there either. An ordinary mediocre person does not like admitting that others are smarter than they are, so they place more value on "people like them," rather than the more insightful and clever. This can be seen with climate change and evolution, which have a vast amount of scientific evidence on their side, but are denied by the ordinary religion person because he/she feels like they are privy to special information, e.g. the Bible.
People who have no intellectual conscience, or the ability to think critically, the second description explains partly why they are anti-intellectual. It's a self-defense mechanism. I also want to add that what I mean by smarter is, spending more time thinking about issues in the world, and keeping an open mind, rather than closing their mind and accepting a religious dogmatic interpretation of the world.
Being average or ordinary ensures that everyone is the same. This makes social relations very very easy and we are a society that likes easy! Imagine you see two people on the street - an ordinary woman in conservative clothes pushing a baby carriage and another woman of the same age wearing heavy piercings, tattoos, accompanied by a large dog, and perhaps wearing clothing you wouldn't personally choose for yourself. Which one of these women would you want to ask directions from? Unless you are part of a community that doesn't mind and/or encourages people to be tattooed and pierced you're going to go for the mom. The mom is 'safe' because at first glance you can make the judgement that you know what to expect from her. We, as humans, create stereotypes so that we can easier deal with people around us. They may be completely wrong and at a individual level even more so, but we still do this and it doesn't have to be about a particular creed or ethnicity. I was speaking to someone the other day that hated the drivers of Civics because "almost every one of those cars has a reckless speeding teenager in it!" Observation or stereotype, you tell me. Of course the mom in my original scenario might be a serial killer for all we know and our tattooed woman might be someone who spends every Saturday doling out soup to the homeless. Who knows? Most of us don't have the time to talk to every individual they see and find out - so instead we go with what we 'know,' what we are familiar with.
Also when it comes to things like skill sets, intelligence, and general talent most of us don't like to feel like we're being bettered by someone else. So in part this obsession with the mundane is rooted at least partially in jealousy.
Prized? I honestly don't know. However, I try to value someone who is unique and special in their own way. If someone is normal, I wonder what is wrong with them.
Terribly sorry, but I really don't understand the question. If you can please elaborate.
American society glorifies the average, the everyperson while it has an animus against those who are highly intellectual and above average. It seems that everyone is pressured to be nondescript and like everyone else.
Wow, I had no idea. I've been gone from the States since '83. Things change, don't they? It wasn't like that while I was there. Is it perhaps that what some people are aming for, modesty?
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