As an introverted person, I spend most of my time stuck in my own thoughts. I read a lot, do web programming for a living, and have always been a fairly logical-minded person. People who possess these type of character traits tend to value intelligence, rationality, science and basic facts as almost the guiding principles behind their philosophy of life.
I’m beginning to realize that such people are an embarrassingly small minority of the general population. On the surface, it’s hard to argue there’s anything wrong with intelligence. You’d have a better time arguing that puppies aren’t cute or something equally ridiculous. And yet when it comes down to it, society doesn’t value intelligence… At all.
I’ve been beaten over the head with evidence of this at every turn, yet I’ve stubbornly refused to accept it. What can I say, cognitive dissonance is a hell of a powerful defence mechanism. But after reading an article called How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable, my mental façade has finally fallen apart like a house of cards.
Nobody really values intelligence. The evidence is everywhere. Go on any social media platform and the discourse is dominated by internet memes, clickbait articles, and stupid fucking selfies. Look at voting behaviour and be shocked that people constantly vote whoever the mainstream media tells them to, even when it’s completely against their self-interest. Look at the presence of reality shows and other exploitative garbage that dominates the entertainment industry. Think of how many songs top the charts that don’t even have verses, just choruses that repeat the same 3 lines over the course of an entire song.
I find the GOP race in the U.S. absolutely fascinating. I can’t fathom how these anti-intellectual clowns who deny climate change and have an understanding of foreign policy more naïve than a 5th grader are somehow multi-millionaires with shocking amounts of power and influence. I am appalled when a candidate says something factually correct in a debate and gets booed mercilessly, almost as if the crowd would rather be lied to than accept an uncomfortable truth. And to top it all off, the GOP race is being dominated by a reality show star who basically acts in a way consistent with the literal interpretation of a youtube troll comment.
What the world values is excitement, cheap instant gratification, things that elicit an immediate and visceral emotional reaction, and of course shamelessly exploiting all these things for profit. Intelligence is only valued in how it serves to provide these intangibles. For example, you could use your intelligence to create incredible art that never gets recognized until after you die. Or you could use that same intelligence to learn the ins and outs of sleazy web marketing, or to make a website that aggregates other website’s content, effectively earning money off of the work of others. Society won’t care either way, they will only value the personality and charisma you possess, and the financial result of your labour. Whether you made your fortunes as a philanthropist or as a hired assassin makes no difference to them.
Remember, kiddies. We do not live in a meritocracy, and the world does not operate in a logical manner. In fact, if you examine the world as operating in a manner opposite to those principles, the world begins to make a hell of a lot more sense.