No Cure For Ignorance?

No Cure For Ignorance?

Another interesting "character" from the Philly Zombie Crawl.

With the advent of blogging, many individuals "who gave a shit" started publishing their thoughts, ideas and what they know about "topics that matter". Some wrote about feminism, others about the environment and others about economical or political problems. Mainly they covered serious topics that rarely ever get serious attention on major media outlets or in the press.

Now we're seeing a retreat. Many of these concerned intellectuals are retiring in disappointment, and no longer publishing. Knowing that they did not do it for money or for reward to begin with, what is discouraging these gifted, passionate and concerned bloggers?

After experimenting with their writing and finding interesting ways to communicate their thoughts, ideas and knowledge, many are becoming convinced that "there is no cure for ignorance". Most recently, two bloggers whom I follow, the Nerdy Feminist A. Lynn and Do The Math blogger Tom Murphy [tentatively] "resigned". Seemingly, both discouraged that awakening the masses or awakening a critical mass is next to an impossible task.

The "Do The Math" blog had been examining the physical and environmental limits of our growth based Capitalist economic system in understandable mathematical terms. In his most recent post "Programmed to Ignore?", Tom Murphy used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to observe that mainly certain personality types visited his blog - types who were already predisposed to care about important issues. Specifically, he singled out the INTJ Type, i.e., the Introvert, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging people. This type represented only 2-3% of the general population, while it represented 44% of those surveyed on his blog. His informal conclusion, paraphrased: Only people that gave a shit to begin with, continue to give a shit.

I have a big problem with that conclusion. It tacitly assumes that we are "born" into certain static character types. Psychometric tests are problematic to begin with, but most significantly they divert attention away from the cultural, social and educational "programming" that is so prevalent in modern life. Corporations and governments, for the most part, do not want an intuitive, critical thinking and judging population. Consider this: The average American watches 5 hours of TV a day. That's over 1,800 hours a year. Television "programs" are designed to "program" you to watch more TV, buy stuff, and condition you to hold a certain homogenous world-view that does not conflict with the interests of states and corporations.

So, yes. Many writers, lecturers and bloggers who are working on "things that matter" are being discouraged because they are not having much of an impact. They are aware of the seriousness of the subjects they're covering, but are unable to reach a wider audience. On the other hand, it is wishful thinking on their own behalf that years of "programming" can be undone with a few hours of "enlightening" lectures, or a few "convincing" blog posts. Those who have already been "programmed" to not care and to endlessly pursue entertainment will never visit serious blogs no matter how convincing and rational the arguments may be.

Therefore, any expectation of awakening the masses is unrealistic unless the problem of mass propaganda is addressed. Rational technical arguments are unlikely to make any impact on the depoliticized and the spiritually stagnant who have already been "programmed to ignore". On the other hand, "giving up" only makes the propagandist's job easier.
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