I was driving to work the other day listening to the radio, tuned to some kind of morning show with multiple hosts doing random banter and fart jokes when I heard something that made me very angry. I mean, not angry enough to actually call the radio station or do anything about it. Ultimately I don’t really care, but it did push my button and so I’m posting about it here, a week or two later. It wasn’t anything offensive either. Just stupid. Unbelievably fucking stupid.
I don’t really remember what the conversation was about. But at some point one of the hosts said something among the lines of:
“You know, if I could have one superpower I would like to know all about computers and how they work inside, so I wouldn’t have to take mine to Geek Squad every few months”
I’m sorry… WHAT? I really felt like slapping the shit out of this guy. No you unbelievable, idiot! You imbecile! You moronic, intellectually stunted excuse for a human being. It is not a fucking superpower! Knowing “all about computers” is a skill you can learn. Dude, you can fucking google that shit! This is precisely that kind of attitude that makes identity theft so rampant, and malware industry so profitable.
You see, apparently it never actually occurred to this guy that he could learn this stuff. He could take a course. He could buy a book and read it. He could use the fucking God given FUCKING INTERNET and research it! Watch a youtube video about it! Fuck you, there is no excuse for this!
Not only this sentence uttered by a confused radio host is a perfect illustration of Clarke’s Third Law in action. It is also shows the deep anti-intellectual anti-learning sentiment running in our society. No one seems to believe in life-long self improvement process. No one even considers picking up new skills. Most people these days think that learning stops the second they get their college diploma. From there on, the only learning they will need to do is some on-job training – which falls under specialization rather than general self improvement and expanding ones own horizons. It’s both pathetic and terrifying.
You want to know about computers? Fucking learn. We live in a MOTHERFUCKING INFORMATION AGE people! Knowledge is just a mouse click away. Never in the history of our species have we had such an easy access to unrestricted information. Just about anything you ever wanted to know about anything is out there on the internet somewhere. All you have to do is look for it. Open your eyes. I am fucking appalled that given the state of our technology and easy of access to information, all I hear about all day is the cast of the Jersey Shore. Is this what we call civilization? Why the hell so many adult people choose to behave like intellectually stunted, self absorbed teenagers giggling at petty gossip and forgetting the rest of the world.
I understand that the world was always filled with idiots. Greatest achievements of each century are usually hard to spot when they happen, because they are drowned out by the barrage of the trivial and the stupid. They only become evident much later. But one would think that with our technology and our social equality things ought to be different. We should be a society of sages, scholars and intellectuals. We live in a day and age where even a lowliest blue collar laborer can access all of human knowledge we have collected and indexed up until now. Hell, I once knew a guy who was a roofer by day, ran a web hosting business by night, and was getting degree in philosophy in the evenings.
Seriously people, there is no reason to stop learning. There is no reason to limit yourself. If you suck at something, get off your ass, shut off your Jersey Shore and do something about it. If you don’t understand something, Google it. Computers are not magical. Science is not sorcery. Math is not arcane knowledge that is forbidden to mere mortals. All of this stuff is understandable. All of it can be learned. Fuck, you already know most of it. You took science and math in school – you had to. You also took probably took basic computer classes at some point in your life. It is all a matter of reinforcing what you already know, but managed to suppress and bury somewhere in your long term memory and then building upon it.