Is there some truth in what I term as "Dumbing down of the generation? Is the current generation...
suffering with too much information and too little knowledge (and even the thirst for it)?
I think the younger generation may have some unrealistic expectations in life because things have become so much easier for so many but, at the same time, the availability of information has made young people better informed about life in general.
Young people may place too much importance upon entertainers and their importance in the scheme of things but human populations, as a whole, are not overly intelligent and never have been so, on the whole, I don't think there is a dumbing down at all but a trend to the opposite because of information technology and the availability of experts to explain things.
Your description seems alarmingly apt. This generation seems so inundated with - well, I hesitate to say "knowledge" which to me implies a degree at least of understanding! - I'll say "facts" instead. They are bombarded so with those that they hardly have a moment to probe or delve into them for understanding. To make matters worse, while that is going on, they seem less inclined or equipped to notice, observe, wonder and seek either facts or ideas on their own. Everything seems predigested and requiring no further inquiry other than adding it to their hoard of facts stored on their computers, cellphones, iPads or wherever. Their heads must be kept ready to receive and store more at all times.
I've watched a great grandson from birth to age 10. He received so much at his first several Christmases! He wanted to look at each thing and fiddle with it, to find out what it did, but before he had a chance to, it was snatched out of his hands and another gift thrust into them! As a toddler, he finally was so frustrated that he went to his room with one thing and didn't allow any more "things" to bombard his attention. At the recent Christmas, he got a (second) X-Box, a bicycle and all kinds of fabulous things, which he opened and oh'd & ah'd over. But at the end of opening, guess what he was actually "into" - a little zipper case with a small spiral notebook and some pens which I gave him as sort of an afterthought. The cover of the notebook had "Athletics" inscribed. He was working out football plays inside it! No one prompted him to do anything with it, but he saw the possibilities and was enjoying pursuing them. That did my heart good! The second more favorite gift was a little electric guitar. It was raining, so the bike had to wait. lol.
Of course this is a sort of generality which always bothers me. The bell curve apex may be like this, but there are those at the narrow top end with imagination and curiosity and the ability to process what they find themselves, as well as what they get from the vast stockpile of facts.
Anyway - there is something to be said for what seems a bit lost in this era, which is, by virtue of a less abundant stockpile, in a need to be more inventive, to make things from "scratch" and to find things which were unnoticed by others.
saket71, I think that the definition of "knowledge" is changing. I don't know if it's dumbing down so much as reprioritizing. Younger people are reevaluating what is important to know and acting according; I imagine this happens with every generation. To you and me, there is too much focus on info and too little focus on knowledge today, but we have our own definitions of each of those terms. I'm not so sure those definitions apply to the next generation.
I would agree with your assessment that there is a dumbing down of the generation. The powers that be do not want rational, questioning citizens. These types of citizens are hard to control, they instead want simple folk who believe everything that they are taught via the media, religion and political speak. They want people who are smart enough to work the machines in the factory, but not people who are clever enough to run the factory or go out and start their own. So yes, we are given too much entertainment, too much meaningless information and very little real knowledge. This is compounded by us sitting in front of our televisions, using our i-players and not really reading, debating, discussing ideas and facts. Instead we talk about people, about what's going on with celebrities and we discuss things. We are so caught up in buying stuff that we forget that life is much more than things. It is about true understanding and knowledge.
Well my son is 24 and he even tells me not to believe what is in the mainstream media because much of it is fabricated. So not all of the younger generation buys everything they read on the Internet. I think he is right in that the Internet is a great way for the powers that be to feed us the truth according to what they want us to see and that it is a wellspring of misinformation. Good question though.
It is a hard call.
Using my own family as an example...my daughters know much more about the tools of technology at their fingertips than I do. The world is open to them at their touch. I struggle to manipulate all that my pc is capable of. In fact, I am lost in the terminology.....
On the other hand, my children know little that is not told to them via Yahoo, Google, CNN.........their schoolwork has embraced them to prepare them for the future, it has not taught them to confront the past. They lack a sense of history.
They could not grow enough food to feed them for the winter, wash their clothing without Maytag, Whirlpool or Kenmore panels. They can not tailor fit their own clothing, change the battery or altenator in their vehicle.
While I grew up in the kitchen, they think hamburger helper is home cooking .I can change a tire, and they call a tow truck ( or their Dad) over a low tire....if they bother to inspect them.
Texting a lengthy message is a task for me, yet each of them can send many texts, between bites of their salad. With the touch of a few keys, they can do in seconds, what I have spent the day trying to figure out.
No, our youth are not 'dumb', they simply know different skills. I predict, the day is coming when we will embrace one another just to survive . If we do not, we will have several generations of people with no choice but to sucumb and become victims of the world at large.
My children are not dumb, neither is yours. We just know different things. In a quickly changing world, economy, financial structure, we all need one another, just to hang on.
Dear Nellieanna, thanks for taking time and putting in such thoroughly rounded thoughts as the response. What I refer to is the fact that possibly because there is so much of information, so easily available that people have grown almost immune to what is thrown at them, one; and secondly, there is so little time and patience for them to allow one single idea to be deliberated, understood and explored about. Their quest of knowledge, even in those, in whom there is some, is driven by such external locus of control, that knowledge to be pursued and gained is driven by their desire to look good in the eyes of their peers, enhancement it offers to their social ranking and improvement it offers to their economic status. What is important for kids to understand is to pursue the facts to the truths, facts are merely flags which marks the pages which are to be read in entirety, and sadly I find even parent tell their kids not to "waste" time in what is out of syllabus or what will not add to their academic score. I keep looking at my growing daughter and then look around at kids in school at their rudest best, since that is what the extremely competitive environment teaches them and I do nothing but worry. Then I look at close to thousand books on my bookshelves and my young friends with post-graduate degrees to the boot with no interest in reading or getting provoked at intellectual level in whatever their preferred subject may be, and worry even more. Where is the depth and why education is not turning citizens into kinder souls, with what you so rightly term as "understanding". I do not what her to know how to pronounce "chrysanthemum" earlier than other kids of her age (or in her class) but to go to the wild and be able to the visual ecstasy which it offers. I hope when they grown up and visit the ruins of a fort, they will not look at them as a picnic spot only, though I sure would want them to have fun, but also understand what built those great structures and what human fallacies led them to a ruin.
Difficult to answer.
A lot of information overload is happening, and that jeopardises the ability to proccess information to make it knowledge. the solution goes through the right approach to information consumption, a problem affecting us only recently.
Also, a very much in demand and need skill of today is nor writing, but presenting information in new ways, such as data visualisation or drawing
I think its easy for us older people to look at the younger generation and assume that they are suffering a dumbing down in some way or other. We all suffer from the 'well in my day..' mentality at times, but in my opinon its just a different generation and things are different, not necessarily worse.
There's a great song by Lupe Fiasco called 'Dumb it down'.
It answers your question from my perspective.
But in a nutshell.. YES.
We can't simply underestimate how we humans adapt. Even though we could say that we just sit and watch a movie rather than watching a play which requires rigorous thinking, there are avenues our thoughts seek for higher learning.
I feel that it's hard to stay such a thing, particularly as such terms are usually applied to my generation or the generation coming behind me.
It's not just one generation that is being "dumbed down" by the deluge of information presented to us, it's society. The applications for university in the U.K (where I live) have never been higher and I can honestly say that some of my peers are perhaps some of the most knowledgable I've ever had the pleasure to meet. I wouldn't disagree that some people are dumbing down - but they tend to be spread evenly over a range of society (from teenagers to pensioners)
However, there are a lot of people who do question what is presented to them, people who fight against the flood in order to discover their "Truth."
I wouldn't deny that there is some truth in the term "Dumbing Down" but it should be applied to society rather than a generation.
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