Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dumbest Generation?

I really think that this is unfair. Every generation has new information that they need to know that the previous generation could not have known about. Human brains do not get bigger with each generation, so some information must be lost in order to make room for the information gained. Grandpa knew how to tune a carburetor, but he never learned how to install a CD-ROM drive. Today, every new PC has a CD or DVD-ROM drive, but no new car has a carburetor. So I will never bother to learn how to tune that car part from the past, but I do know how upgrade my computer.

Mark Bauerlein notes that though young people enjoy access to a wide wealth of information via the Internet, we still don't know important facts about history. He laments that many young people do not know that the US and USSR were allies during World War II. But Albert Einstein once said "Never memorize what you can look up in books." In his day, obtaining information often required a trip to the library. Today, all I have to look it up online. The only information I really need to remember is whatever is relevant to my day to day life.


  1. Yes, maybe we don’t have to memorize stuff we can look up, however, people are lazy, so they won’t look stuff up. If you have to look up EVERYTHING, chances are you will write it down so you have it handy and don’t have to carry reference books around, or you will memorize it.
    And don’t get me started on the educational system, and how it’s gone downhill. What high school graduates had to know and study in the 1950s has paled considerably with what today’s graduates are required to have now. Every so often, a quiz pops up comparing what a high school senior had to know back in say, 1900. The information they had to know is pretty substantial. And I’ve worked with people who don’t know their times tables, and despite being horrible at math, that’s one thing I can remember pretty well. Dealing with young people who aren’t curious about stuff and don’t know how to read is excruciating. They deserve to be labeled as being “dumb,” even though they know how to text and I don’t.

  2. Texting is simply sending an email via cell phone. If you don't have a QWERTY keypad, then it involves pressing the number buttons until the correct letter appears on the screen. Since it takes longer to type using a number pad, messages have to be abbreviated. Remember what chat rooms were like when everyone hunted and pecked the keyboard?

    You can't carry reference books around with you, but someday you'll have a touchscreen phone with which you could simply look up any fact you need to know while out on the street. Of course, someday kids will just have a HUD wired into their optic nerve. Then they really won't need to know anything.