Mamacita says: I hate to think I’m turning into a fogey, or, even worse, am already there, but it seems to me that people are getting more and more ignorant by the minute. It doesn’t seem as though they’re doing it accidentally, or against their will, either; it seems as if they’re happy being ignorant and don’t intend to do anything about it. It’s willful.
I do have a few questions for these people and for those piss poor teachers who enable them, however. Here we go:
How can you understand the present and make sure the future is viable if you don’t know anything about the past? Education is all about connections!
How can you understand people, things, times, and everything else if you don’t read? Whether you’re holding an actual book in your hands and turning the paper pages with a moistened finger, or holding an actual book in your hands and turning the on-screen pages with a swipe of a (hopefully) dry finger, people who read know more and understand more and have more schema to bring to the table and are therefore more able to make connections between and among all kinds of diverse things which makes them smarter and more capable of surviving when the bomb drops and we’re all living in caves and fending off radiation burns, keloid scars, and the “grasshoppers” among us who never saw it coming, didn’t believe it if they DID see it coming, and figured they’d just mooch off the rest of us if it did come. Nonreaders have only one world in which to live, and how sad is that? It’s all about the connections!
What kind of person am I? I am apparently a mean, selfish git who thinks people need to bone up* on everything they can get their hands on so they will be at least somewhat prepared even for the unthinkable, or for a long airplane trip, or a debate. Or Jeopardy. Or to justify their existence. . . . .
Because, you know, there may come a time – and our lights here have been flickering on and off in this storm for an hour or so, just tonight – when we don’t HAVE access to Google, and those who don’t believe in memorizing or learning facts or making connections, etc, will find themselves clueless in a world that requires actual knowledge, not just some kind of simple willful ignorance that honestly believes a keyboard and a monitor will answer any questions they might have as they skip through life empty-headed.
These people claim that imagination and creativity will take the place of knowledge, but they don’t understand that imagination and creativity, without knowledge, have nothing to work with. Wings are best when there are also roots to count on, and vice versa. One without the other is pretty bland, boring, and sad. And useless.
I’m a computer fanatic/geek/nerd myself, you know. I am also imaginative, whimsical, and flighty to the point of absurdity. But I have also accumulated, and continue to accumulate, enough schema that I can apply it to life in general and understand that to be one-sided, or even merely two-sided, isn’t enough. In order to get the most out of life, we need to be multi-faceted. To be otherwise is to render oneself pretty much useless, boring, outdated, and, not to mince any more words, pathetic.
L.M. Montgomery, who is one of my favorite authors, summed it up beautifully in A Tangled Web:
“Why,Mother? What can you say against him?”
“There’s nothing in him,” said Mrs Howard feebly. She thought it rather a poor reason, not realizing that she was actually uttering the most serious indictment in the world.
There is so much wonder and whimsy out there, and so many awesome things waiting to be found out by us, and everybody can have a shot at them. Why do so many people choose not to even try? And what good are such people, anyway?
The world is full of abundance and opportunity, but far too many people come to the fountain of life with a sieve instead of a tank car… a teaspoon instead of a steam shovel. They expect little and as a result they get little. — Ben Sweetland
The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. — Eden Philpotts
* Heh, she said “bone.”