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The Dumbing Down of America is Reflected on HP

Updated on November 16, 2016

We say."Is the glass half empty..." "I say is the moon half full/"

Fun totally inconsequential things to think about.
Fun totally inconsequential things to think about. | Source

This is a political social hub, keep that in mind please.

Far from my writing that reflects what my life is basically about I sometimes need to jump back into the fray of things to keep my wits improving in numerous areas that I study. Let us get that straight first. Achieving an advanced degree does not make you smarter. But it teaches you where to look for knowledge and that that is only the beginning. It teaches you to not scan or gleam but to study. Of course many of our greats simply had the self discipline to do this on their own. The degree is not the important thing, the practice of studying is that thing.

I have been taking on online cooking class from our own Carb Diva. She doesn't know it so mums the word. But instead of just throwing some recipes out there she actually has studied the feature food, this is thinking at it's finest.

I am taking on online writing course. From a great thinker and studier of the art. The course is his passion though he does no call it a course but a Writers Mailbag - Yes Bill Holland. He makes me study not just spoon feeds me. And I dare say he does that for thousands of others.

There are many more. They study the area of interest and never merely repeat what others have said. There are full on experts in their field here and it is marvelous. I have always been intrigued and therefor studied in the area of comparative religions and what I can only call comparative sociology. There are real students and real teachers here in those areas.

Now as you could have surmised I will now address the dumbing down and political discussions. When I was writing policy in the area of ICANN and it's NICs we still called this the World Wide Web and spent much time devising policy which would protect some semblance of copyright and trademark protection while at the same time keeping it net neutral and country sovereign. It was a daunting task to get countries that had no freedom of speech protections to accept at least some or be out of the web entirely. Some in fact at first refused. Vietnam was my country to work with and it was slow and tedious work. Trying to strategically keep an internet connection to the world and yet maintain it as a national resource is a sticky wicket. But we are almost there and basically there unofficially.

The point here being that back in the late nineties and turn of the century we worked hard to make the net available to anyone. And an old friend called me up and lamented, maybe that was not the best idea. People do not take the responsibility along with the power.

The future looks quite bright for him.

Easy world access to data. It is finally starting to hurt us.
Easy world access to data. It is finally starting to hurt us. | Source

Oh Society the Only Thing We Need More Of Is Learning - there is enough love.

Some of HP looks like Facebook.

My 6 year old and I set up and email account and a Facebook account with him punching all the numbers. (not his name thank you very much). And then he did the same with HP. I heard that they taught a chimp to register for stuff online -- I fully believe that - do you?

Now before you get ahead of this remember a good lesson that is learned somewhere every day but well recorded in the Bible. "a prophet is not accepted in their own home town". And as writers we know that we are not automatically accepted by our families. So I temper this notion that I will speak of by saying, sometimes it is in fact our achievements that others simply cannot accept. A big brother at a menial job cannot accept his little brother as a CEO and author. So then the elder only sees the little brother. And this is very dangerous for little brothers who also see themselves as merely the little brother. Self sabotage and low esteem usually follow.

This brings us back to the dumbing down. If you are associated with a group of people that do not study then your input into that group will not be well accepted if you are studying on issues rather than just reading headlines. Likewise if you are in a group that studies you would be well advised not to just parrot something you heard. So where do we stand on FB and HP? Do you feel that you study too much to participate or that you study too little? In fact do you think you may be mocked for being one or the other?

Here is a hint in our two most contentious areas the you are not to discuss at a dinner table. Religion -- Just blatant old quoting of scripture or overly abundant use of citations rather than writing out a concept. Politics -- when references of fact are clearly gleamed from sensational headlines with referencing to YouTube.

We find it very interesting that today more people look up a word's meaning and just accept that definition that pops up by Google. That is the epitome of not studying. Very much of the time that definition is not inline with Merriam Websters. These methods are popular now and studying is not.

This picture of my daughter was not splattered on FB the moment was between us.

Those little electronic devices.
Those little electronic devices. | Source

Like him or hate him -- at least he studied his art and shared it with us. A great in my mind.

I give this second tribute so we can see beauty in the practice of a craft. From being blind, to dancing to a perfect stallion.

Is the craft of living lost in this day?

It is the reflection of the soul and depth of at least an attempt to understand that speaks in our writing. Even our speech is sometimes not filtered with an effort to learn.

So I was sitting with a group of quite normal people. My friend and I were visitors. And acquaintances of some. There was an expert in the room. She led the discussion on an issue we had come to learn more about. During discussion someone stopped my friend and asked him what he did for a living. Instead of saying I would rather not make this about me, he revealed his profession which requires a great deal of structured studying. It was palpable the immediate ostracism. Just think of that social adjustment in the last 30 years. Where education is held in disdain rather than respect.

If you doubt what I say - pay attention to FB and HB. The most rejected people in social media are those with actual expertise in the area of discussion. If one is so bold to correct a clearly flawed thinking they are actually ridiculed as thinking they are so smart. Wow! We tear down leaders of our country, we tear down doctors as being thiefs, Lawyers as being evil though they just protected the constitution and a woman's rights. Cops are denigrated for their education in public safety. Does the flash opinion sensational accusatory writer actually deserve our "following" or does the learned?

We are shutting down in our prosperous 1st world society search and opting in for headlines. A wonderful example of this is modern religion. Of course we do not have Crusades or indigenous people eradication any more. But we have thought police as rampant as any liberal could accomplish. There is a wonderful saying that helps spur me on often; "contempt prior to investigation is in itself contemptuous".


Maybe we should all take this Rorschach test

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (cool name). Was a brilliant 20th century philosopher. Considered the best by his colleagues -- and below that by the general. Within areas of deep consideration like linguistics and how we think, how we think and linguistics, labels he was king.

I reference here labels. If we call a color brown then that color is brown and if everyone agrees then that is what brown is. If we call Eric a bigot and we say it often enough and loud enough and even mean enough then Eric is a bigot. And if everyone agrees that is what Eric is then he is a bigot. Facts are irrelevant. Language does not work on facts it works on commonality of communication. But can this be left to a common bully to lead the masses in changing the language? Me thinks not ;-) I mean what happens if Eric is not a bigot in reality? By the masses it no longer matters and in fact our reality changes by use. Sorry to tell you that a rose by any other name is still a rose, is false. A man who is not a father but takes on the role of a father is still not a father -- until we call him that and generally accept that,, it is not true. It is the old concept of the King having no clothes.

Today false headlines are repeated and repeated ad nauseum. And the problem here is that, let us say that 50/50 accept that as the proper label. We have a problem of communication. You say Eric is good, Joe says Eric is a bigot. So what is Eric and what is a bigot.

Total 80% communication breakdown and destruction of the American English language. Marriage; I got no problem with it being alternative. But now I do not know what marriage is. We changed the definition. I think we can adjust - it only took 50 years of effort - good for us.

But nasty sensational headlines repeated as fact and accepted by only a 3rd or so of our language speaking people is a major problem. I think you are the definition of bigot and you think I am because our sophistry makes us different? I question if even our core beliefs are different.

But what my buddies and I on panels in the UN Commission on Science and Technology failed to get was that the free access would change languages and actually distance people from actually communicating. Sure the sight and hearing is magnified but we have ruined the language that allows us civil discourse. And I apologize for my part therein.

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    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lawrence I sit in meetings requesting those who invited me to shut up about my credentials. Oh crap how they would resent my education and professional credits.

      It is like the most accomplished in the room has to shut up and play dumb. It is rampant.

      So I write ;-)

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 9 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      Ever heard of 'Tall poppy syndrome?'

      I do think there's a lot of that goes on, and it's not just here on HP!

      Great stuff

      Lawrence

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      By golly Mel, we have this thing that is parroting. It is disgusting. Of course the two subjects it is prominent in are religion and politics. Of course the two subjects that are and should be taboo at a holiday feast.

      What we should do is be the ones they parrot.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 9 months ago from San Diego California

      My emotions are so rabid I'm foaming at the mouth. So you were the one responsible. You and Al Gore foisted this worldwide cesspool upon us.

      Still, there are pleasant islands in that cesspool, and your profile is one of them. There are so many echoers on the Web it is hard to find true thinkers. Great stuff.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill I feel that way too, and yet ponder the notion that it is exactly that way for a reason. Why? I could not fathom.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 9 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Good question, Eric. I don't know, but what I do know is that we're a long way from the way God planned it.

      Bill

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      William, a nagging possibility effects my thought. Do you think that maybe each generation sees this fault in there own generation. I sure don't want to consider myself an intellectual elitist jerk. That would make me sad.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 9 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Eric,

      It's been coming for a while, and now it's here. I think we can officially designate, at least America, as dumbed-down. The sad thing is, as you pointed out, the dumb-downed ones don't even care, or know. Thanks for your timely thoughts.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John, Thank you. Your comment about the level of education tells me that you have far more than Thomas Edison. And you are the perfect example of personal discipline and the quest for knowledge. You have studied your whole life.

      Oh yes indeedy we know permaculture around here. My youngest daughter graduated Berkeley with one of her degrees in "Society and Environment". Great stuff that we need more of. Hey you should write some stuff on the stuff.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      How about this weather Tim? Cool in the morning and just right all day long. Your notion of etiquette is clearly right on the money.

      I was involved with the internet several years before FB. We had fairly strict "Protocols", including things like keeping it short and concise as dial ups sometimes did not have the bandwidth to download in one attempt. We had group restrictive email "boards". All caps was basically banned. And we generally used ICAO style of English. (short buzz words with about a 300 word vocabulary.

      Those were the days.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Eric, with Summer approaching here I will be compelled to write another Cackleberry story soon. I'm sure you won't have a problem with the language translation either :)

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John that was great. (as an aside; this morning I thought to ask you for another Cackleberry story) Your comment is great. Makes me think to write another article taking it from a Global perspective. I wonder how I will tackle the language translation issue.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 10 months ago from Escondido, CA

      Hello Eric :-) First, thank you for writing this article. It inspired me to begin a research adventure; The Dumbing Down of America? Education? I am at the point of that adventure where I just now can see the iceberg after about 7 hours of looking about. I can't wait as I progress to actually land and step onto it. I love adventures . . .

      Anyway, am in agreement with 'HP' and 'FB' along with social media may be dumbing down information. But, I also noticed social etiquette deteriorated too. I 'unfriended' many at FB including Christians on both sides of the political fence in the past months. To me behavior was dumbing down too . . .

      Anyway, the main point of this comment is to say Good Morning . . .

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Here, here, Eric! I have no advanced degree (a Certificate in Permaculture Design is my highest accolade and 90% of the population don't even know what that is). My wife has a degree in Psychology and Japanese Language, however, she believed much of what she was taught in psychology was flawed (no questioning or new thinking encouraged) and decided not to work in the field.

      Many people rely on Facebook, Twitter etc for their news and believe everything they read. Newspapers could once be relied on (up to a point) but journalism itself has been through a dumbing down and many news stories just re-dredged from elsewhere without facts even being checked. On a couple of occasions, I have believed things I read without having the time to research the facts, and been left red-faced. I did learn from that, however.

      I think it is a dumbing down in society in general, not just FP, HP, or particular countries. Our politicians, the media, and others seem to believe the population is un or ill-informed and talk down to the general public. You are right that there are so many good teachers here on HP .. thank you for directing your readers to a few of those. Great piece of writing and commentary here.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Yes, I just weighed the pros and cons and said no. Then about a year ago I watched it a few times. But my young son came into the area and asked if it was true. I just did the OMG and turned it the hell off.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 10 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I agree. I don't watch that either...

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby it seems to me that of all the information we can receive through standard news outlets was at least hinting at the reality and actual news then it may be worthwhile. I check in about once a month to see if it is getting better. About 4 years now, and I do not watch it. Why would it be that they use the same style reporting news as they do reporting the Kardashians?

      And like we know that trash gets repeated as truth on the net. Yykes!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora, thank you for coming by. You remind me that perhaps we miss the mark on truth and facts. But as they used to say in school "show your work". I may be wrong from time to time but I will show you why.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Clive you are one of those writers like Mel, that it makes no difference to me what your topic or subject is, I read because of the special uniqueness of your style. My grandpa taught me about whittlin. He said if the wood resists try a different angle. You have great angles.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda, I was very afraid to write this hub. It just sounds so elitist. But then I realized that if in depth thought is elitist -- just sue me. Helping homeless, caring for those less fortunate or in crisis, we do without thought. We need to include in that list, stepping forward by literary example. Writers like you do step up and give us something to aspire to.

      We cannot die off, we must propagate through exposing our best. Thank you.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 10 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Eric, I for one, have turned the news stations off. So many innuendoes. I don't know what is true anymore. Facebook is as bad as the media. I know what I know and if proven wrong, I will gladly listen and make a change if it is for the good. It's time someone stepped up to the plate and wrote this, and you did. Good!!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 10 months ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, so true that we have to recognize the changes; also facts have to remain facts. Thanks for the call to be responsible about what situations we accept and what standards we maintain.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 10 months ago from Nibiru

      very good hub with good points. pitty many will not see it

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 10 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, the dumbing down of America is something that my younger daughter and I have conversed about numerous times. She graduated (with honors) with a degree in Journalism. Worked for several years at a daily publication, but unfortunately that job, in a profession that she loved, came to an end because the daily business of print journalism is becoming a dinosaur.

      I grew up listening to Edward R. Murrow, Douglas Edwards, and Walter Cronkite. They were true journalists, reporting unbiased information. Where do most people in America get their “news” today? Unfortunately they rely on their personal hand-held devices and grab the top headline on FB, Twitter, or Instagram—trash written by biased people without journalistic ethics and standards. “If it’s on the internet it must be true.”

      What is termed “news” today is usually nothing more than trivia and/or sensationalized entertainment.

      Thank you for approaching this topic. (And thank you for your kind words. You are my best student!)

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Whonu, Here is a fun one. My wife and I can have a five minute conversation with about every sentence being finished by the other. One of those things you develop at around ten years of being together. However we have made a concerted effort to stop doing that and rather enjoy the other's wording.

      Now my adult son tries using Socratic method on me as I made him the student before. Very fun.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Top of the morning to you Bill. I just returned from a parent teacher conference. Maybe we are just lucky but our teacher is batting 1,000 and knocking a few out of the park. We are entering into that magical phase where learning is fun. I must think that being dummied down is inherited from parents.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 10 months ago from United States

      Yes my friend we seem to all have lost our ability to communicate in this technalogical time. We all need to it down and remember just what it is truly like to have a meaningful conversation. Thank you for this nice reminder. whonu

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Patricia, Thanks for your comment from your perspective. I had a boss once who told me "Dierker, I don't care if you make a mistake as long as it is a well thought out one." Kind of akin to "the only stupid question is the one you did not ask".

      We must agree that study does not make you right all the time. Your point is spot on.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I read this last night but my brain wasn't ready, so back to it this morning and my initial thoughts were correct....EXCELLENT! I agree totally...the dumbing down is in full-swing and heaven help us if it continues.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Ann. I do believe you are one of those word smiths that truly helps us in studying our language. The "Take a Word" series is just excellent. I had heard about discontent with the less than professional job BBC is now doing and it is a shame.

      I was working on a matter of a serious car wreck. The testimony was being translated. The translator took a word meaning "Villager" (from the same town or city) and translated it neighbor. It made a huge difference. I knew just enough Vietnamese to catch it.

      For me, the battle is trying not to get too upset with the issue.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hari, that is an excellent piece that you wrote, thank you for sharing it here.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 10 months ago from sunny Florida

      Well said for sure. As one who has more two advanced degrees I can identify with your message. (I always felt and still do that it did not make me any smarter than anyone else....better prepared for my job but not smarter ...my degrees helped me to acquire the tools and places to find the tools I needed to be the best educator I could be)...sorry I digressed a bit...but it is often the case that those who voice their opinions and reveal their expertise do get lambasted. On the flip side....there are many who have those degrees that espouse 'stuff' that is not sound...as I am sure you are well aware. Thank you for sharing this Eric. Hoping for you and your family a lovely Thanksgiving Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 10 months ago from SW England

      Bravo, Eric! This is well discussed and I admire your ability to do so and the salient points you make. Your sentence, 'Language does not work on facts it works on commonality of communication.', sums it all up I think.

      The press, the tv, facebook, twitter have all become the gods of communication and they all get carried away with their own importance. Our BBC used to be prized for, and was proud of, its impartiality. It is now an often biased institution which doesn't even bother to keep to good language and structure on many of its broadcasts - the standard has slipped and I for one mourn that.

      I used to insist that my A level students doing research for their various work should not use Wikipedia but more reliable sources and if they did use Wiki they had to check the information elsewhere. I also made them evaluate the sources with reference to possibility of bias etc. It made them think! Heaven forbid that people should do that - it takes too much effort! (joke, in case some don't realise).

      I agree whole-heartedly with what you say here and it's great that you've highlighted such an important issue.

      I often wonder how many mistakes are made in places where translators/interpreters are crucial. I've heard a few slips in the translations of French on television and in some circumstances that sort of mistake could lead to war! Is that what happens in international summits and conferences, in counsels of war?

      Great hub which as many as possible should read, so sharing.

      Have a great day, Eric! Best wishes to you and yours.

      Ann

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 10 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I will study that as is my want. It is such a tough issue. Unfettered access vs the acceptance of what is real.

    • shprd74 profile image

      Hari Prasad S 10 months ago from Bangalore

      Eric,

      Easy access to information via internet, has made us use less of our grey cells.

      I had written some thing on internet usage and it's Ill effects. Pl do check that.

      https://hubpages.com/literature/Internetaddict

      - hari