So, have we really evolved?
The inability to contribute to any argument outside criticism, derogatory statements, or outright profanity is not new. It was something experienced many decades ago in grade school. My guess; its been around since humans began interacting with some form of communication beyond a grunt. I think they call that evolution, not necessarily progress mind you because not much seems to have changed. The only difference being its relevance and reach (FB pun intended). For most of time what someone thought was limited to their surrounding family, friends, or sphere of influence. More importantly it had to occur face to face, and that is a critical change. Being an opinionated moron or ass carried consequences, some painful. At the very least an immediate emotional response eliciting some degree of compassion, something out of vogue these days. It meant some limits and checks on the know it all, all but non-existent today.
Hormones, hormones, and more hormones!
Most who make it through puberty seem to get past this behavior short of an occasional emotional outburst. Anyone can lapse back into the sandlot inhabited by second graders, its just not supposed to be permanent. At least that was my impression until lately. Looks like those days are long gone with no end in sight. Even print and other forms of media have started to regress succumbing to the bottom line. Experts no longer are, and opinion is often contrived or fabricated. Too often “expert opinion” is mental and verbal masturbation with one purpose, fame and self gratification. True unbiased expert opinion is designed to assist others, not self promotion- at least in theory.
Social Media an Oxymoron!
Social today is a tag line at best, anti-social media would be more appropriate. My guess is this change in societal norms crosses every subject, at this point in my life it mostly revolves around the firearms industry, including training, competition, and the test and evaluation of various weapons, gear, and equipment. Entire websites and FB pages exist for one reason alone, bashing someone, something, or both. Many are so boringly predictable they are laughable. Its as if you are back on the playground bitching about anyone who is not there. Bravery born from criticizing someone who cannot defend themselves is endless. The same gurus, experts, or FB Gods regularly start posts with how “bad” something is. The mere mention of some people or guns and gear brings out memes, posts, and comments immediately resulting in a “bashfest”. One puppy dog after the other with their noses stuck squarely up the big dogs ass pile on. Its as if there is some shortage of useful things to discuss, and post pubescent adults to discuss them. So, lets start yet another “whats wrong with (fill in the blank)” post so we can be a jerk and see all the “likes” and stroking from followers. One can only hope true evolution will occur regaining some sense of adult discussion. Sadly my guess is I am not young enough to see it as bashfests grow in popularity with each passing day.
Critical Thinking Rocks
Honest evaluation based on experience with any bias absent or expressed is the DNA of societal progression. Learning from others experience is huge and that is where the Internet and social media CAN excel. That same limitation to your friends and family also limited learning. Being able to access credible information from those with actual experience can save you a ton of money, time, and even pain. Ultimately it provides perspective beyond a closed group often sharing the same bias. One can only imagine the progression of society if that were the norm. Its just boring I guess because it always seems to degrade into name calling, bias, singular opinion, and hero worship. Maybe, just maybe that will change.
It can work, even with the current state of affairs. Its just critically important to understand the bias upfront, and understand it may have zero relevance to yours or anyone else on the planets needs. This is especially true with firearms and the items surrounding them. What may be required for some is just money wasted for others, without regard to experience. Every opinion expressed by any expert should be taken in context, vetted, and used to assist in your decision making. Blindly following mine or anyone else’s advice without regard to experience is foolish. It results in an entire consumer industry of lemmings unable to think critically. History is rife with the disastrous results when societies are comprised of doe headed followers incapable of critical thinking, decision making, and personal responsibility. My guess, we really don’t want to go there.
In my opinion, no single aspect of todays society contributes more to that end then social media and it’s preoccupation with fame, notoriety, and mindless followers. Trying to work against it is like swimming up stream, but it is necessary. Failing to provide an alternative is to simply surrender to the prevailing norm, not something in my DNA, nor conducive to survival in the future.
Lastly, consider that every “enlightened” society, conquered by those “less enlightened” or destroyed from within believed they were impervious to the effects of blind worship. It brings forth a couple favorite quotes of mine from George Santayana (1853 – 1952)
“Fashion is something barbarous, for it produces innovation without reason, and imitation without benefit” (Sound Familiar?)
“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it” (often misquoted)
Lastly, he also stated that “Fanatacism consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim”, and it sums up much of what passes for “media” today, social or otherwise. So the next time you want to start a “discussion” or add to it, do so without either preconceived ideas, or contrived and mythical discontent. It can be difficult, but try it sometime, you might even like it. Probably won’t get as many likes, post reach, or fame and fortune, but maybe that is not such a bad thing???