Guest post: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Reason

Originally a comment by Artymorty on THIS is the culture war.

Latsot, you’ve really nailed it here. It’s all about narratives now. People want a tidy story to explain things, not the complicated, underivative truth. A tidy and familiar and comforting story. This is dangerous because sometimes the truth doesn’t have a precedent to model itself on; we can’t just rely on pattern recognition and narrative familiarity to figure out what’s real and true versus what’s illusory and untrue.

It’s pattern recognition and narrative familiarity that has led everyone to treat gender identity ideology like it’s just as simple as Gay Rights 2.0. It’s also what’s behind the cringeworthy line “my truth” that I hear all the time among certain people. What they’re saying is, I’ve made sense of something complex by making it comfortable and familiar and digestible to me, and that’s what truth means to me: comfort and safety.

It’s probably also behind the fact that the entertainment industry only wants to reboot and repackage old familiar “media properties” these days: they treat entertainment consumers (a creepy way to describe what are otherwise known as people) like they don’t have the energy to invest in entirely new stories — new ideas — anymore.

If we take it a step back and speculate about why this is happening now, I guess the primary culprit has to be information overload due to social media and the internet? We have access to everything and everyone all the time now, and social media algorithms have eroded our attention spans to the point that it feels too exhausting to sort the truth out, so we just seek comfort instead. It’s quite depressing.

More and more I feel like civilization can’t survive the Internet age unless we start formally teaching everyone how to manage our lives in the digital age. Maybe the Three Rs of elementary school should become four: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Reason(able thinking in the digital age).

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