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How I Got Too Comfortable With the Dark Ages

Date/Time Permalink: 12/10/11 03:13:08 pm
Category: Geek Culture

You know what? I've quit worrying about saving the world, and I can't tell you how much better I've felt ever since.

I've just been revisiting a favorite classic blog post, over at Larry Sanger's place. Sanger is one of the co-founders of Wikipedia, and is therefore in a great position to keep his finger on the pulse of Internet culture.

Sanger asked last summer, Is there a new geek anti-intellectualism? and rocked the blogosphere with the controversy it sparked. So much so that it triggered an avalanche of replies, for which he made a separate post just to deal with. You'll find both posts well-worth your time, and now that it's almost winter break, this is a great time to ruminate upon the idea.

Of course, the part of the replies which harmonizes the most with me is #4:

"The people you’re describing are not true geeks; they are the digerati, or hipsters, or leftist academics who were already anti-intellectual and then started doing geek stuff."

Yeah, actually, they don't even do geek stuff. What has happened is that the word "geek" has been bastardized and taken over by the fools, exactly as has happened with oh-so-many of the words before it. Or as this off-topic review of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World puts it...

"People say it's become cool to be a geek. That's not true. People have just started applying the word geek to cool people. Hipsters aren't geeks and geeks aren't rock musicians and rock musicians aren't old school gamers and aging gamers don't like musicals."

The masses do not want dictionary definitions, they want to "belong" - and they will hotly claim to be every noun at the same time, even the contradictory ones, because Humpty-Dumpty's philosophy of making words mean whatever you want them to mean has replaced dictionaries.

Welcome to Professor Dumpty's University. There are no subjects, there are no lectures, there are no tests, ignorant is the new learned, and you all get an A+.

Me, I've done thought these points through years ago. Intellectuals might as well be dodo birds. The renaissance is dead in the Western world; we are the dinosaurs, we are irrelevant, our knowledge is no longer wanted, and the sooner we die out, as far as Western society is concerned, the better. There is no ecological niche left for us to evolve into.

In the original European Dark Ages, monks, under the guise of the church, preserved the light of learning through generations until the world was once again ready to read, and this is what we must do now. Forget screaming your sense against the tide of crap. Waste of time. Build a treasure chest of learning for future generations to discover and marvel over, when civilization has swung back towards enlightenment again.

This doesn't mean the hackers lost. There is no "winning" or "losing" here. You just can't speed up evolution, that's all. Humans have yet too much animal nature to civilize themselves into a learning-positive, progressive society. Just leave a monolith behind for the eventual chance that they ever will, and move on.

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