Thinking Things Will Make You Stupid Will Make You Stupid

Thinking Things Will Make You Stupid Will Make You Stupid

Power PointRecently I’ve encountered a seeming avalanche of comments, articles, and posts that claim that some new technological tool will make you stupid. Or possibly lazy. Or immoral. Or something.

Doubtless the first stone knife was similarly received — as the end of manly dependence upon unformed sticks and stones, and the birth of a generation too lazy to rip the skins off their prey with their bare hands.

Amongst the things I’ve been told will make people stupid are cell phones, tablets, laptop computers, PowerPoint presentations, television, and YouTube. These things will make you lazy, destroy your memory, rip out your analytical capabilities, and probably precipitate immoral behavior. Or something.

Thus contrary to the upright nature of previous generations, the current generation is going to hell in a handbasket. And doubtless using cliches and incomplete sentences too.

Besides the myth of the golden age, which seems to infect people around my age, this is simply nonsense. Tools are tools. We will use them according to our character. Any tool can be misused. Television can convey information and be educational. It can also convey abominable trash. A PowerPoint presentation can be boring beyond belief (I’ve made one or two), or it can contain helpful illustrations that aid understanding and memory.

I believe it is intellectual laziness that causes us to blame the tools for the result. The sort of moaning that some folks in my generation indulge in regarding modern technology is enabled by our own intellectual laziness, lack of critical thinking, and unwillingness to examine the facts.

So quit moaning about progress. Learn new things. Make effective use of new tools. Get involved in educating the next generation. Or go ahead and vegetate.

Oh, and about that seeming avalanche I mentioned in the first paragraph. That’s laziness too. There’s no recent avalanche. People have always complained about these things and always will. The only thing that happened today is that I got annoyed enough to write a blog post.

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