Change

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Everyone thought the world was flat till Columbus said something. Wait a minute that’s not true. Pythagoras had his suspicions and Galileo and Muslim scholars in the 9thcentury found scientific proof.  My friends and I are constantly debating one topic or the other. We once participated in an argument that went on for hours and half of us insisted, with no research done, that there was no way Dangote was richer than Oprah. The Internet was slow in Agbara but it was Internet nonetheless and this is something that could have easily been solved. The same group of people and I were involved in yet another argument a few weeks later about whether or not you use palm oil or vegetable oil in beans porridge. The argument lasted all evening and all night even though we had a food and nutrition lab right on our campus, a few minutes away from our boarding house. It’s amazing that we take for granted how much information other people have already proven.

We have a world of information at our fingertips. All you have to do is type a search into Google and you can read about almost anything. You don’t even have to know what you’re looking for. But is it just me or people don’t think anymore? There might be a lot of easy access to information but people don’t retain any of it or even bother searching for it in the first place. We have Smartphones and search engines but that has only made people lackadaisical. People don’t bother to learn anything because they know they could always Google it when they need to. People can’t spell anymore because spell-check will do that for them. People are lazy and they refuse to effectively employ their intellectual potentials. They don’t question things anymore, they don’t do research anymore.

I think our education system is partly to blame for this. Nothing about the way I am being trained at school makes me want to think outside the box. If classrooms were more interactive and thought provoking and there was a breakdown of the dualism between students and teachers, maybe people would be more encouraged to be creative. If the classroom were a more egalitarian setting, it would fix things at least a little bit because our education system is unfair. It challenges every one in the same way even though capabilities are mismatched.

Another reason could be the company we keep. I noticed that I don’t know how many of my friends feel about things like the situation in Ukraine and Gaza or what their stand on economic policies are, and so on. It’s terrible, really. We never talk about that stuff. Instead we bother ourselves with meaningless chitchat. When exactly did humanity lose value and respect for intelligent people and stimulating conversation? Donald Trump (who is quite the idiot most times) has this rule about boring small talk. He says that if after 4 minutes the person he is talking to has nothing valuable to say, he moves on to another person who might. I don’t think he necessarily follows his advice, but I must admit it is a reasonable way to behave.

It’s very difficult when a friend of yours is a yes-man. It’s true that not everyone enjoys having relationships that are characterised in disagreements or failure but when you have someone around you who agrees with every single thing you say then you have a blithering idiot on your hands. And your blithering-idiot-friend-person is not going to help you grow and be better. Our friendships guide us so if you surround yourself with idiots who enable your stupidity, don’t be surprised when that just becomes who you are. We have to be careful because by allowing ourselves to manifest as idiots, we breed a culture of idiots. These idiots then beget idiots because believe it or not stupid people can figure out how to reproduce as well.

Hardly any thinking is done at all anymore; rather, human capital, human endeavour and human beings are simultaneously being destroyed. People have been condemned to live a life of stupidity with lack of mental stimulation and this is a problem because it leads to the degeneration of society as a whole.

I have to admit that I am the personification of the subject matter here. Occasionally, I don’t think either! A lot of the time I jump to forming an opinion without having all the information I need. Sometimes I sacrifice my own opinion for that of others without even knowing that I am doing it. But I wasn’t always like this. Before age 7, I was reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Charles Dickens. By the time I was 10, I had read myself into astigmatism. What is sad is that now I hardly ever read anymore. I let my intellect be diminished by society and have metamorphosed into an idiot as well.

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