Dumb and Dumber

Armstrong Economics have published an interesting result of a scientific study of people concluding that people seem to be getting dumber and less skilled since 100 years ago. This is not surprising.

As the world’s population becomes more urbanised and divided by the division of labour, it is expected that an increasing number of more individuals become highly specialised in one area of knowledge and ignorant of others. In addition, the creation of the welfare state and its ever increasing, non-thinking dependants will exascerbate this dumbing trend. Welfare states result in the cargo-cult syndrome when the population believes that food and water is an entitlement supplied by government, or society. Thinking is no longer aimed at survival.

So what might happen if another global climate catastrophe occurred? If you shut off the power grids and transport systems, so that transport of food to the urban area stops, then, and lacking any skills for self-survival, the first to die off will be the urban dwellers, including the highly specialised idiot-savants in the various institutions and bureaucracies. The first to die off will be the literate people leaving the illiterate rural tribal peoples, still self-sufficient, to survive. This scenario suggests that humanity reverts to a subsistence existence amongst the ruined artifacts of the previous civilization, along with an ignorance of who was what etc. And it’s easy to imagine how inpenetrable those scripts and ancient carvings were to illiterate survivors.

This scenario seems to explain how our present day civilization appeared out of the mists of the Middle Dark Age of the first millennium. Remember that it was only during the last couple of hundred years that the West started to gain knowledge of the past, and given the circumstances of the 2016 POTUS election, fake news seems intrinsically associated with that earlier ignorance of history.

It is not so much that the fake-news meme was willfully fabricated, that it seems that this news is what the news medias actually believed was going on. It is a reflection of the phenomenon where people tend to see what they believe to be, rather than believing what they actually see. Whether this pyschological lens can be removed from human action is another matter and the ideas of both J and UG Krishnamurtis offer potential solutions.

If the global climate catastrophe was caused by a coronal mass ejection or a similar but more locally generated ionospheric short-circuit, perhaps by a close encounter with another cosmic object passing through the magnetosphere, the Velikovskian scenario, during which massive plasma surges over the earth’s surface would have ignited vegetation and ‘burnt’ people in a hellish firestorm, then it is likely that the urban areas would be the sites of massive human dieoffs. Firestorms would leave characteristic deposits such as the dark-earth strata and, I suspect, the various extensive chernozem soils elsewhere on the habitable land surface.

It is likely that these firestorms might have occurred over a long period of time, forcing people to live underground, for example. And logically cannibalism would have occurred as the previous, idyllic, paradise was destroyed by fire and brimstone. Cannibalism has been recorded even to this day when human populations are subjected to famines, especially man-made famines such as the Ukrainian Holomodor or the Chinese Cultural Revolution during the 1960’s when Mao’s young guards wreaked havoc on the Chinese people.

The dumbing down of society is thus a logical outcome for the welfare state system, because it is a sign that people no longer need to think too much in order to survive. Survival skills are of no importance when authority supplies everything to maintain life.

We seem to be living in interesting times.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
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