Bad could be good

I have suspected for sometime now that as the years go by, my brain is becoming more and more accustomed to outsourcing… I have exchanged paper and coin money for a plastic card. I have a phone to remember the numbers of all my friends. This phone also comes with a calculator, just in case by some miracle, I actually find myself in the tight spot of having to add 5.99 and 7.20.

This suspicion is accomapnied by another – that too many things are being dumbed down for me – don’t bother with a big fat boring book, dahling – just watch the movie! And the newspaper – why read entire articles, when you can read a “Quick” version which gives you 100% of the news using only 10% of the words? If that is too much for you, someone’ll text message the news to that phone of yours – using even fewer words!

But all is apparantly not lost. In his new book “Everything Bad Is Good for You” Steven Johnson explains how popular culture – long blamed for the “dumbing down” of man – may actually be responsible for making us more intelligent than folks a couple of generations ago. His argument – television shows are more complex now – more characters, and more threads to keep track of; video games that allow children to “experience” complex worlds… Methods traditionally considered fail-proof apparantly have far less learning value than we’ve always believed – homework, for instance, may have no value at all!

Interesting argument. Maybe if I live long enough, there’ll finally get scientific proof about the “inherent goodness” locked in tens of other things now considered bad – fried foods, high heels, sinful desserts…

In “Sleeper” Woody Allen enters the hospital for a routine gall bladder operation in the early 70s. When he expires on the operating table, he is cryogenically frozen, and wakes up after 200 years. When folks hear about his occupation (Allen’s character used to own a healtfood store – selling sea-weed and other “nutritious” foods), they’re amazed. They are surprised that this privmitive society hadn’t discovered the nutritive value of high fat, red meat and sugar.

Here’s to the future.

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