Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Next Step

Early in human history, people developed beliefs and values based on what they could directly observe. Some of the things we now scoff at (well, some of us, anyway) seemed stunningly obvious. Obviously the world was flat. We were at the center of things, with everything rotating around us. Any inconsistencies or mysteries could be explained by adding some new gods to the pantheon.

Slowly, over thousands of years, we evolved from paganism to monotheism and eventually, to science. we still based our beliefs on what we observed, but the range of what we could observe, from the microscopic to the astronomic, was greatly expanded by new tools … lenses, magnification, amplification, and eventually even recording and photography.

Now, however, people are engulfed from infancy in a torrent of information that washes over us, filling all our perceptual orafices with colors and sound, some of which form intelligible concepts. But these concepts reach us unfiltered and unedited. We have no basis for selecting reasonable or valid ideas from pure drivel. We simply pick and choose whatever appeals.

And this appears to be the next phase of evolution. We moved from the age of mythology to the age of enlightenment, and now to the age of … what? … uncritical stupidity?

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