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Dumbing down reality

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posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:48 AM
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Whilst there are numerous conspiracies circulating one that is perhaps most urgent is the general mental degradation of the modern westerner.

I have two topics I want to cover so here goes.

When I was a school kid growing up in the UK one of the Science teachers we had who was an old gentleman would often tell us that our exams were a joke compared to what he had to endure as a young man. He would say this whenever someone in the class would complain about how difficult a particular exam or topic was. We all thought he was just overly nostalgic about "the good old days" and generally did not believe a word of it.

The School I went to was a couple of hundred years old and it retained exam papers in its archives going back quite some years. One day when somebody in the class suggested that they were in disbelief about his statement he went to the archives and randomly selected three past science exam papers of perhaps 10, 20 and 50 years old.

He set us down and we took the exam under exam conditions on three separate days...we all flunked it completely! Even the persons who considered themselves to be the brightest walked out of that exam feeling like a total fool.

I realised he was telling the truth and have to say although it was an ego kick it was good to experience the truth. This experience helped me in two ways, firstly it opened up the possibility in my mind that "modern" humans may not be the cream of the crop that we generally think or are told we are, is it possible that there were ancient civilisations that were intellectually equal or more advanced then us? The second thing it alerted me to was the obvious decrease in standards in the western education system.

I started to actually ask myself why were the exams being made easier with passing time and I came to only one conclusion. The exams are being adjusted so that although the level of education "in reality" is plummeting in western country’s an illusion is being maintained so as not to alert the general public. Lets put it this way if exam grades were recorded as steadily plummeting with each passing year for the last say 70 years people would start to ask questions. If however exams were being rigged/made easier an illusion could be created that grades are being maintained or even improving.

Who would be behind this? Those who have infiltrated the western education system and are actively engaging in a dumbing down campaign against the general public in select country’s. See if grades were steadily dropping people would be alerted to the reality of this!

The second topic I want to talk about is related to the one just covered and that is the decrease of general awareness in humans which is now endemic among the young. What I mean by awareness is your awareness of your surroundings and people around you in everyday life.

I used to do martial arts and one of my teachers used to talk about this all the time. He said you simply cannot hope to defend yourself from any attacker if you have poor awareness of both your surroundings and those around you…awareness is key!

This man knew something about awareness as he had tuned his awareness over years of hard training and meditation to the point where he could literally fight you with his eyes closed which he demonstrated on a few occasions.

He spoke about a disease which was sweeping the modern world and he spoke with great sadness about how most humans are now walking around as though they had a blanket thrown over their heads. He said that this was a serious problem and that humans were losing their basic instincts and natural ability’s.

I started to notice this myself and the more I became aware of this the more it irritated me. When I am driving it’s not uncommon now just to have someone walk straight out in the road as though in a hypnotic trance neither looking left or right only to be shook out of their hypnotic trance by the sound of a car horn. Its not uncommon now to be walking down the road and have someone literally walk right into you and say “sorry I didn’t see you”. It is not uncommon now for a person to be walking down a road and be completely oblivious that you are walking right behind them, you could almost breath on the back of their neck and they wouldn’t even know you were there. It is not uncommon now to be in a bar and have someone trip over you or spill their drink on you. You could simply say that the modern population are becoming oblivious!

I was in absolute disbelief when one day whilst descending on an stairs elevator a guy a few persons in front stepped off and bent down to tie his shoes only to have everyone behind fall over him. He stood up in disbelief as though he did not understand what just happened. I was so angry I could have hit him but settled for calling him a prick instead!

A few weeks ago I was walking down the road whilst a young man was walking towards me on the same path. He had his mobile phone up in front of his face whilst at the same time was walking forward. I simply stopped where I was and waited to see if he would actually continue to walk into me which he predictably did….this sickness has effected almost all western people but particularly the young!

What the hell is going on and what hope do we have for the future if people can’t even manage the basics. If things continue as present we have little hope for the future but perhaps there are powers that want exactly that…a nations of fools who are unable to respond effectively to a given situation.

I have noticed that the media are increasingly trying to pervert the minds of viewers by promoting a trivial lifestyle where people are encouraged to be shallow individuals and the dumb are held on a pedestal as role models and fun people.



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posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:54 AM
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We as a group used to search for knowledge...

Now we just want to be entertained.

Learning is hard work.

S&F



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 10:01 AM
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It's not a conspiracy.

Life is easier now than it was before.
There is also a point of not making education harder than it needs to be. That way we have more time to do progress, not reinvent everything. However, this requires more discipline from the individuals, which is clearly lacking in many, and only a smaller part can handle it.

Oh, and conspiracy theories are usually good examples of people being too lazy to first learn what they are going to talk about. It's easier to make things up and believe that "science is a lie", or things of that nature.
Slightly humorous, considering the OP.
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posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 10:09 AM
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Also there is the problem of the sheer amount of information one is required to master any subject. I mean, we know quite a bit more about nearly every area of intellectual inquiry now than we ever have in the past. It brings me back to a conversation I had with a few friends of mine about whether anyone can truly become a "Renaissance " type polymath in this day in age. We came to the conclusion that no, the average man can not. The breadth of even one subject area is so wide and the depth so deep that it would be practically impossible. Even the greatest intellectual giants of our day usually spend their life-time of investigation in a narrow and esoteric field.

Also, while I'm not trying to dispute your argument, I would argue that perhaps your making a very common fallacy by arguing your one particular case of human intellectual inadequacy (or in this case many particular instances) applies across the whole of humanity (fallacy of composition?). Also, you seem to be making two entirely separate points. Where point one seems to be an observation/critique of modern man's intellectual ability and the second being one of modern man's disconnect from physical reality. The second one, I would argue is actually a sort of defense mechanism, particularly in highly stimulating environment of the modern world where nearly everything is attempting to vie for a person's attention. Everything from the internet (are we not the case in point? Heh), television, advertisement, cell phones, social interaction, and so on. Anyone who was a little too aware of his surroundings would probably be overwhelmed. (Just an argument of course, I have not real statistics or data to back this claim. However, I would consider those with ADHD to be a possible example of this argument.) Anyway, good topic, certainly something to consider.

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posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 10:10 AM
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reply to post by Consequence
 



Hope your not insinuating that I'm one of those too lazy to study considering if you stacked every book I have ever read it would probably reach the send story of a house. I spend all my spare time reading and learning, if anything I could be accused of the reverse


I would also like to point out that we are not living in a time where we can afford the masses to become trivial minded. We now face some of the biggest challenge that humans have ever faced in terms of environment, energy etc
edit on 6-9-2012 by LUXUS because: (no reason given)


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posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 10:21 AM
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reply to post by LUXUS
 


Good thread, OP. Star and flag.

I have noticed the same things. People are definitely being dumbed down. Exam papers are getting easier and yet, children are not achieving higher marks. Off course, the mind is being bombed all the time by propaganda through television, radio, music, fashion, advertising and trends. I call it mind pollution. When the mind is constantly stimulated by these things, it is also incapable of using a larger percentage for retaining constructive information, as it is already occupied with stuff; stuff that has absolutely no true value to human growth, yet manages to hypnotize into oblivion. Totally unawares. Yes, the two go hand in hand.

On your second point, here are some more evidence of total lack of awareness in society:

1. People standing in a busy door entrance, blocking it by mindlessly sms-ing or in conversation with each other, completely oblivious of the crowds trying to gain entrance.

2. Trollies in supermarket that are parked in an aisle in such a way that no-one can get past them, while the guilty shopper leaves the trolly there for a 'little while' just to fetch something from another isle. Also, when selecting fruit and veggies, trollies are left in such a way that they obstruct the passage of shoppers.

3. People are much less aware of facial expressions in others. Surely if you really look at a person while you speak to them, you will know so much more about how that person feels in regards to what he is telling you. We seem to have lost the awareness to communicate with more than words. Looking in the eyes, and seeing what is really there, can open doors of understanding.

4. There are so many examples of unaware, sleeping people on the roads!! People drive without communicating with each other. If I need to change lanes in heavy traffic, I love trying to catch someone's eye in the lane to which I want to go, so that I can ask them, literally if I can please have a space. You will be surprised at how many people simply sit and stare, unaware. There are literally millions of examples of people on the roads who are unaware of life around them. Try communicating while driving, and you will be surprised at how good it makes you feel when a stranger has crossed your path and there was a moment of strong connection. Saying thank you and please while driving, smiling and achieving a moment of pleasure through communication with a stranger that you most probably will never see again, makes you feel great!

5. What about awareness of environment. Do people notice when the flowers open their buds, when the a sky turns exceptionally beautiful, when a dog runs to the gate to greet passers by, when a child skips past with delight in his being, when the birds chirp out pure pleasure into the air..... on and on one can go.

Zombies. That is the new word of the youth. They just don't realizing that many of them are already becoming it!
edit on 6-9-2012 by UnlimitedSky because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 10:29 AM
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There is some data to back up your claims that exams are getting easier for example the five decade challenge run by the Royal society of chemistry where pupils sat exams made up of questions from the 1950's all the way up to the the 2000's
The result?


2. Performance against each decade showed a remarkably steady step-wise progression, with the average
scored for the 1960s questions being 15%, rising to 35% for the current 2000s decade

Although it does point out the the largest discrepancy was in the difference between the older O-level questions and modern GCSE's

Also this test for the Engineering council
Which sums up with



There is strong evidence from diagnostic tests of a steady decline over the past decade of fluency in basic mathematical skills and of the level of mathematical preparation of students accepted onto degree courses. Possible reasons for this include:
• changes in GCSE and A Level syllabuses and structures;
• greatly reduced numbers taking A Level Mathematics and Further Mathematics;
• changes in the teaching force and in society;
• lack of practice and poor study skills


So it does seem that students while getting higher and higher grades every year are indeed worse at some core vital skills like Mathematics



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 10:35 AM
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reply to post by davespanners
 


Well, the data has it. Thanks for the find. I guess the question, why is this? in my case, I will admit (with a GREAT degree of embarrassment, mind you) that I have terrible basic mathematics skills. But its quite odd, because I understand the more "non-linear" concepts of mathematics (In other words I understand how and why the connections between mathematical data make sense, but I can't remember what 9 x 7 is, if that makes sense). So, yes, we seem to have lost something within the last two generations that relates to working memory and the ability to understand/manage details that deal with forming relationships/consequences in the physical world.

I find that my generation isn't necessarily dumb, exactly. We just seem...I'm not sure how to describe it. In a fog?
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posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 10:38 AM
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I was thinking it was odd during the Olympics that alot of the participants were walking in the opening and closing ceremonies with their phone infront of them. Woldnt you rather look around and see the real thing then to see it on a little screen?



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 10:44 AM
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reply to post by AhabMD
 


Funny, I was getting a bite to eat and I noticed that most people were looking at their phones, rather than engaging "reality". But to answer your question, I guess the resounding answer to that question is no. It seems most people would prefer the sensation of being stimulated by activity on their phone, than their physical surrounding. Honestly, when you consider it, it makes more sense. It takes more cerebral "energy" to interact on a device that is constantly streaming information than to engage with a "reality" which does not stream information at the same frequency/intensity as said device. Perhaps were just victims of our own natural ability, as a species, to seek out more and more stimulus.
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posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 10:47 AM
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reply to post by LUXUS
 


Great profile pic. It's always been this way. Education is watered down so as to make it more available and convenient. This does change it's underlying purpose and effect.

Our food system is no different. Much more available and convenient and completely lacking in substance (nutrition).

Mindlessness is an epidemic that attacks the very defense which evolved to combat it. Awareness. It's always been this way. It's demonstrated in a novel way now because of the number of people and complexity of society.
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posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 10:48 AM
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reply to post by theghoster
 


Firstly I would say the primary objective of the human is survival and shutting off from the world to the point where you are walking out in front of traffic completely unaware is hardly a survival mechanism. Actually I bet the number of people getting knocked down whilst crossing the road has increased massively based on my observations whilst driving around town.

Secondly the two are linked since they are both related to the functioning of the mind and thus mental.



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 10:57 AM
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Originally posted by LUXUS
reply to post by Consequence
 


Hope your not insinuating that I'm one of those too lazy to study considering if you stacked every book I have ever read it would probably reach the send story of a house. I spend all my spare time reading and learning, if anything I could be accused of the reverse


No, I agree with pretty much all of your points regarding how people of today live/behave/learn.
However, I see rather non-controversial reasons as to why things are the way they are today.
The world is more complex today than it was before, and we don't have time to go into great depths in every single subject - we simply know too much as a collective.

Another aspect is that we are now in a more "applied" world. We can actually use all this (still rather fresh) knowledge to create things. But to create things we need a broad set of knowledge, so again we cannot delve into every single detail. We use teams when great detail is needed in many areas.

Now, what is important today though is that we need to be good at digging up information when we need it, and learn it quickly on the spot. So no, you will not be as good in an exam from the 60's in subject 'x' because the "recently found interesting stuff" is neither recent anymore nor interesting until you actually need it.

I do personally think that the education in Mathematics is suffering too much today in the western world. Neither calculating nor understanding of Mathematics seems to be taught out until very late, which is a shame.



I would also like to point out that we are not living in a time where we can afford the masses to become trivial minded. We now face some of the biggest challenge that humans have ever faced in terms of environment, energy etc
edit on 6-9-2012 by LUXUS because: (no reason given)

Well, life is both easier and tougher today.
It's easier as in "there's a lot of smart guys who build all this stuff to me, and I can just become a pop star".
But it's tougher as in "holy crap. It is up to ME to keep up with everything. There's no time to teach me everything, so I have to put some effort into it myself. Which is a bit hard, because 'So you think you can dance' just started on telly".



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 11:01 AM
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Originally posted by LUXUS
reply to post by theghoster
 


Firstly I would say the primary objective of the human is survival and shutting off from the world to the point where you are walking out in front of traffic completely unaware is hardly a survival mechanism. Actually I bet the number of people getting knocked down whilst crossing the road has increased massively based on my observations whilst driving around town.

Secondly the two are linked since they are both related to the functioning of the mind and thus mental.




Well, no, I guess it isn't. In fact, my points were irrelevant to the larger point of this topic. Forgive me. Having said that, I face you with this question. What can we practically do about it? Nearly every way of life comes with some inherent risk of life, does it not? Two generations ago, people were dieing, not because of cell phones and lack of physical awareness, but because rampant smoking and alcoholism (this is just one example of course, I'm not making a point about the merits or lack of merits of alcoholism). Modern media and anti-smoking campaign, utilizing modern media (the same media we are presently condemning) helped reduce smoking and prevent future deaths. At the same time, that same media helped introduce millions of young kids to the "wonders" (sarcastic) of McDonald's Happy meals. My larger point being this: I don't think its the devices, it us. But we have no real incentive to change behavior, other than good (if not all together true) rhetoric. This isn't something that can be legislated or controlled. People want this. How can we persuade people from not wanting it. That is the hard question. Any ideas?



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 11:03 AM
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I wonder though is our basic knowledge or education better than it was in previous generations? Functionally speaking? Sure, in specific subjects or curriculum it's inferior but does the average person know more than before? Or do more of us in general know slightly less than the educated few of yester-year?

We no longer have to eek out an existence from the land and so much of everything else is automated. But a citizen of Rome might think a Smart Phone was magic whereas a modern person at least understands the basic concepts.

Can the basic, functional knowledge or intelligence of the collective be compared to previous generations?



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 11:12 AM
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reply to post by UnlimitedSky
 


agreed, the brain is a computer and if you give it enough worthless junk to process is will never get around to things that are important. Those who own the media are experts in mental spamming the public!

On the subject of unawareness me an a friend were laughing at a group of girls at a bar who had positioned themselves in the direct path of the toilets. A large number of people were walking up to them and around them. They were completely oblivious as to why so many people were approaching them and my friend joked suggested that they would probably come to the conclusion that they were just popular or really good looking lol



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 11:14 AM
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Originally posted by Sergeant Stiletto
I wonder though is our basic knowledge or education better than it was in previous generations? Functionally speaking? Sure, in specific subjects or curriculum it's inferior but does the average person know more than before? Or do more of us in general know slightly less than the educated few of yester-year?

We no longer have to eek out an existence from the land and so much of everything else is automated. But a citizen of Rome might think a Smart Phone was magic whereas a modern person at least understands the basic concepts.

Can the basic, functional knowledge or intelligence of the collective be compared to previous generations?



Excellent point and I would argue, no. It is a bit like comparing temporal apples and oranges, right?



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 11:22 AM
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Originally posted by LUXUSit opened up the possibility in my mind that "modern" humans may not be the cream of the crop that we generally think or are told we are
Well, let's look at this from the evolutionary viewpoint, and what it's failed to get across in the education system.

(OMG, a Creationist is about to blame evolution for this?!? Pay attention, evolution is going to blame "evolution" on this point,so it's not that kind of argument.)



Humans (Homo sapiens) are primates of the family Hominidae, and the only living species of the genus Homo.[3][4][5] They originated in Africa, where they reached anatomical modernity about 200,000 years ago and began to exhibit full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago.[6]


My point? We spend so much time teaching kids that they're "the pinnacle of evolution, so far", and we fail to teach them that this pinnacle has been achieved for the whole of "recorded history". We're not physically different for 200K, and we have the evidence of what we do for roughly 50K. To think we're any better than our ancestors when we're not physically different enough to matter is plain dense.

So, why do we have more technology, now? It's scaffolding. We build upon well established concepts that are easily accessible, yet do not go through all the preparatory work to build the foundations we stand on. We've built tools that do the hard thinking automatically.

And it's not like everything we have today is better than the past. Most, if not all, modern buildings wouldn't last as long as the pyramids, or a Gothic church for that matter. Homes from 200 years ago are better ventilated than the ones we build today (to the point where they don't mold like modern ones can). And that's just housing!



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 11:24 AM
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reply to post by LUXUS
 


Gawd Luxus. What a post. I think that western culture has become so dependent upon consumerism that our people to a large extent have grown up believing that a better life can be obtained from somewhere else. We rush around looking for that somewhere else rather than realizing that the better life can be found right at home, from within.

If you haven't, look up the Book "Time Machine" by Wells, and check out the Eloi.



posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 11:37 AM
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reply to post by Consequence
 

I would not say the young have a wider knowledge actually quite the opposite in my observation unless you ask them trivial questions relating to media or pop culture.





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