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Are people not as "smart" as they were years ago?

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posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 02:59 AM
When I was young I thought my teachers and adults around me were pretty smart. They all knew more things than I did but looking back I really feel like it was an illusion of some kind sort of like when you have a teacher (or professor) that is learning the subject a chapter ahead of the students (like learning history the day before they have to teach it to the class). Not all teachers or adults are or were like this, but the older I get the more I feel like this was the case.

When I was in college I realized that I wasn't learning to the level I thought I would so I did A LOT on my own which is the only reason I feel I had a good grasp on my major, had I not, I feel like I would have been totally lost going into the job world.

Now when I ask people questions, specifically related to their profession, I too often get the response of not knowing or worse, totally unaware of what I'm talking about (and I'm not an expert in their profession). It seems that many professionals I would not call experts but very often drones that know a set of procedures which may differ from business to business, company to company.

One of the only places where I have found people where I feel they really know what they are talking about are in jobs where people have a passion for what they are doing, like metal working, tool making, wood working, some computer techs and others. Forums seem like a good place to find knowledgable people, usually because they have a passion for the topic not because they are being forced to be there and answer questions (at least I guess that is the case..)

I sometimes feel like my generation was the first to really go to school and my parents, aunts/uncles, teachers (boomers and Gen X'ers) didn't attend schools like later generations and colleges weren't like what they are now. I'm sure many will think this is ridiculous, but it's one of those weird feelings that I know isn't plausible but evidence often makes me feel this way.

Does anyone else feel like those in authority and or experts are either getting dumber or I/we are just more aware of the BS they spout and how they dance around answering things when they don't know or don't want to answer.

Maybe this is just part of getting older but I often feel like things have reversed in many ways and I am just astounded at how some people don't know some things or “know things” that are very questionable.

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 04:07 AM
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

I think the internet helps. Problems are highlighted by others. Communication is the key.

Additionally, teachers have changed as the schools fill with snowflakes in positions of power.

The US takes the booby prize of late though. Lol. Arresting seven year olds. What a joke that is.


posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 04:18 AM
im confused, are u saying schooling is better now then in the past right after you said that u felt the professors werent teaching you what u needed to know for your professions or phd?

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 04:31 AM
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

You might be noticing the effects of league tables in education. The tables are supposed to raise standards but it's like a trickle down incompetence system in practice.

Universities need to attract students by offering high pass rates. Lecturers need to demonstrate their pedagogy by achieving high pass rates. This can create a climate where students are 'taught to the test.' What this means is they are taught what it takes to pass their assignments instead of the learning skills to develop deep subject knowledge. It introduces a (sometimes subconscious) bias in the way assignments are marked and students get more leeway than perhaps they should.

I've simplified it a great deal and it's not every university although I expect most have at least one lecturer teaching to the test. Basically, there are people with Bachelors degrees who don't have the breadth and depth of knowledge their predecessors had.

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 04:36 AM

I sometimes feel like my generation was the first

.....said every new generation. Don't look down on your elders. You are standing on the shoulders of giants.

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 04:38 AM
This is a good question. This day in age it is easier for people to appear smarter than they actually are, considering the technology, communication, etc... but wisdom comes from experience; Intellect comes from within, and true enlightenment is a gift.

As far as different time periods, it's hard to say because of the discrepancy in resources...

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 06:01 AM
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

it sure seems like most people are #ing stupid these days
we all have the tool at our fingertips to learn and research # and most people prefer to snapchat and tinder it up

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 07:59 AM
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

I think the education system has seen a major decline. I meet ppl today that are hs graduates that have limited reading comprehension, non existent basic math skills and terrible problem solving logic processes. It's not that they are stupid (some are but that has always been the case), they haven't been taught.

I have heard many say "why do I need to learn algebra? I will never use it." for example.

It's not the fact whether you will use it. It teaches the brain how to assess and organize information, and come to a valid conclusion.

I have to blame parents as well. Children need to be pushed to do their best. A 4.0 GPA is not what it used to be, and colleges are more interested in politics and cultural diversity than education.

The US used to be world leaders in many fields. Now, I can't think of one other than weaponry.

Just my opinion

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 08:11 AM
I'd say they are much less smart today. They can store and access everything on their smart phone instead of memorizing and learning and having the capacity of recall.

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 11:46 AM
There's a lot of positives mixed with negs. People have a ton of info at their fingertips nowadays. People also take it for granted the info will always be there.

Being good at memorizing stuff is one thing. But being able to critically evaluate it? Another thing altogether. This last gen is losing the ability imo to critically think. Just spouting off info they memorized doesn't mean a thing.

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 12:12 PM
The tech age has definitely changed how we learn, how we get information. It's at our fingertips.

Are we as intellectually curious as we once were? More than likely but we receive info differently and rely less on books and formal teaching. Our federally controlled schools have been dumbed down through rote learning and required testing with dubious results.

We have yet to merge real tech abilities with educational opportunities. There is so much more improvement needed and we are in the infancy of revolutionizing education to maximize human intelligence.

Answer to op: No-we just recognize that individuals now empahsize their area of interest and ignore the rest. And that's okay because they can always go to the web and obtain what they want/need additional info on a subject they are not particularly knowledgeabe/interested in.

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 01:17 PM
Nope. People are actually smarter than ever. The problem is the narrow focus of what is called “education”. You see it all the time in subjects like math; the people in that profession are so specialized they don’t know the whole view.

That is the reason STEAM is the “new” thing. Multi-discipline studies. Science and arts. A wide angle view. A broader perspective is what the world needs.

When pushed, people are smart but at a snapshot they are dumb as sh#. Always been that way.

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 04:55 PM
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

I think I figured this once in conversation....There was less to know about back in the cell phones, computers, vid games, no forums to discuss analytical thinking and ideas, social conversive media etc etc...just the basics.

A farmer in 1860 was pretty was a scientist in 1670...for their TIMES...

Show Sir Issac Newton a flat screen tv or V.R.glasses and he's say "What magic is this!"

edit on 29-10-2017 by mysterioustranger because: an oops

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 07:48 PM
It's a Youtube generation...

If it's knowledge that doesn't show up on the first page of Google results or requires you to read more than 3 paragraphs to start understanding then it's definitely harder to find these days.

Part of the problem is that people job-hopping is way more accepted these days & finding someone in their profession that's been there more than 10 years is getting increasingly difficult.

Experience and real knowledge requires time and effort - therefore, the experts that remain are, as you say, the people that have a true passion for what their doing.

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 08:08 PM
Intelligence declined with the decline of reading. Stop and think. When was the last time you seen someone sitting and reading a book? It's almost a lost art.

When people do read, it's some junk novel or magazine. It is very rarely non-fiction or anything that one could learn anything of value from.

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 08:11 PM
a reply to: TinySickTears They don't use it for anything useful. All the internet is to most is a way to look up music videos and pop culture.

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 09:24 PM
a reply to: Mach2

I'd agree about the parents. I have a friend who works as an early childhood educator - basically a kindergarten teacher's assistant. She works in a fairly upper middle class neighbourhood and she tells me only about half the kids entering school know their numbers and letters. A shocking number aren't even properly dressed for the weather.

Teachers are also pressured to give kids grades higher than they really deserve. An acquaintance of mine is a high school teacher at a rough school and she says it's a huge amount of paperwork to fail a student, so most don't bother. Then the standards in some schools are so low that the kids don't feel at all motivated.

posted on Oct, 29 2017 @ 09:49 PM
colleges don`t care if you learn anything or not,they don`t care if you`re qualified to get a job or not after you graduate all they care about is that you pay your tuition for 4 years and you`ll get a diploma.

you`re right, people who work in skilled trades love their work or they wouldn`t keep doing it.

if you work with your hands you`re a laborer
if you work with your hands and your mind you`re a craftsman
if you work with your hands,your mind and your heart you`re an artist.

many skilled craftsmen and craftswomen work with their hands, their minds, and their hearts, they love what they do, they are artists in their trades, whether they be carpenters, plumbers, auto mechanics, etc,they are artists, they love what they do.

edit on 29-10-2017 by Tardacus because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 30 2017 @ 03:05 AM
Nothing uncommon with companies, particularly large ones having alot of shall we say, low quality employees that make you question how they made it through the interview process let alone manage to somehow remain gainfully employed.

I don't understand it myself, but there's plenty of people happy to just waft through life with no ambition, passion or curiosity. I see them all the time, they turn up to work, do the bare minimum to collect their weekly pay cheque, go home, rinse and repeat for the next 30-40 years or until they're made redundant/get fired. Throw something at them that's a little bit left of centre and doesn't have a pre-written procedure and they fall apart. Guess it takes all kinds to make the world go around. On the upside you can look at it as, they're doing all the dull monotonous work you can't stand doing yourself, which frees you up to do the more interesting stuff.

posted on Oct, 31 2017 @ 12:03 AM
Sorry I didn't get back to this thread earlier to clarify what I meant in the OP. The best way to explain is to give an example of a POSSIBLE explanation, though probably not likely.

So, when I was young, adults, teachers, etc had an "air" of authority and expertise because I was young and ignorant on many things, so it didn't take much for them to seem as if they were well educated on any subject because at the time I didn't know the depth or breadth of the subject matter so a person with even a superficial understanding of something may seem as though they had a full grasp on the entire subject matter. Basically I didn't know how vast or expansive some subjects are.

Now imagine if older generations only went to school until 6th grade. They didn't have biology, chemistry, physics, trig, algebra, geometry, calc, advanced English, etc - the stuff you would study from 9-12th grade. Now the teachers who were teaching my generation, studied their specific area of teaching (a math teacher for 9-10th grade may study algebra and geometry) but they never had the sciences, english, tech classes, shop, art, etc BUT they knew enough to teach their one specific subject which is why when I tried to talk to them about other things (other subject matter) it was like they were totally oblivious to the topics as if they had never studied them - OR MAYBE some of them had a little understanding but they brushed off the conversation quickly to not show their ignorance on the topic.

So, my theory is that schooling in the past may have been different, more geared to minimalist with study in an area in which they were going to teach or work. They didn't have use or need for a broad and deep understanding of what is being taught in the schools now. So in my theory, they could have come out of 10th to 12th grade with a "college" education - which was very narrow.

In colleges now there are so many core classes which include history, arts, math, sciences, etc, that give a very broad education, which I think is good in many cases but could also be a waste of time (and resources) in other cases depending upon the student and even the countries needs. I think education would be totally different were a country to have recently gone through a devastating war, decimating population and industry - there would be a focus on getting back into "productive" mode ASAP and the minimalist education approach would be more wise if people were needed to only work in specialized repetitive basic level jobs (factory production & skilled trade instead of research and development in cross discipline sciences and such).

I guess you could say it is similar to moving the goal posts in the education level, where someone in the past could get by with much less education and do better financially in life, and they seemed adequately smart for the "times", but now it seems there is so much more "known" (mainly in the sciences, literature, art and history) that education just keeps growing and requirements increase with respect to what is "known". I'm sure this happens with every generation, and there is a point when each generation notices things such as this and it makes them question the past, how it was EXACTLY, what the standards were, etc. If the goal is for each generation to grow and be better than the last, then education would likely continue to increase (in many aspects) and comparing an education from 1850 to 2020 would be vastly different.

The one thing I want to make clear is that I'm not saying that the past generations were dumb or ignorant in any way. I'm astounded at their achievements especially in chemistry, astronomy, math, bio, etc, especially in the 16th and 17th century (when I see discoveries in chemistry from those times I'm astounded at the accuracy and how they did what they did!).

As said, the feeling is difficult to explain, and I think it comes down to perspective and how things are defined by each generation. I'm sorry I can't make it more clear but I'm a little tired of thinking about it now... Thank you to everyone who replied and I'll try to respond to the posts in the next couple days.

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