I talk a lot here about how important it is to continually learn. There is a tendency in American society to learn less, especially in the popular media. Seth Godin, one of my favorite bloggers, touches on this in his January 4, 2017 blog post. As always Godin is pithy and concise although this post is longer than most he writes.
It is not that popular media used to be an intellectual gold mine. It has always been more about entertainment than about knowledge. That is what people want to see. They want candy for the eyes and ears. Godin’s point is valid however. American mainstream television is horrible. I stopped watching it three years ago. Newspaper and magazine readership is seriously below where it was a generation ago. People read blogs and snippets and Tweets but they are not as likely to read something that is thoughtful or something that explores ideas in depth.
I do not suggest that everyone must be an intellectual or that there is anything wrong with some light entertainment. I do suggest that there appears to be a dumbing down of media in America and a rejection of knowledge. It is not the first time this has happened. Consider the Know Nothings of the mid 19th century for example. But in the last hundred years I think it has sunk to its lowest level.
While there are significant political and cultural consequences from this dumbing down trend I write about it here because of how it affects people’s ability to increase their level of knowledge and skill in an increasingly competitive world. How are we to seriously compete in a world where we spend more time watching “reality television” than reading a newspaper or a book?
Let me say that I know many people who are serious readers and serious about learning. This trend is by no means universal, it is just too prevalent.
I am curious of this American diet of nonsense has affected other nations and cultures much. I invite my readers from other countries to comment here and let us know. Is this true in the UK, in South Africa, in Japan, in Brazil? If you are from outside the US let us know. Is there a worldwide rejection of knowledge and serious thought?
My hope is that this will turn around. I hope that people will miss deep thought and real information and seek it out. If that does not happen it does not bode well.
What do you think?Wishing you well,
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.