06 Feb Bonus Episode: “Stop Celebrating Stupidity”
On January 28th, Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen published the video “Stop Celebrating Stupidity | The Rise of Anti-Intellectualism,” which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmFn619GnrI.
Are we celebrating stupidity? Have we descended into anti-intellectual madness these days?
✔️ At 7:28, I believe he hits the nail on the head when he talks about the attitude of curiosity.
✔️If we are celebrating stupidity, who benefits from that? Because you can rest assured: someone does.
✔️It seems like the media plays fast and loose with the term “expert.” IMO, the notion of an expert or even an economist has become: this person is willing to say what we want them to say and nothing more. 😣
✔️”The world is a magnificent place.” Yes, it is!
Links I discuss in this episode:
Need more? Email me: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/contact-causey/
Transcription by Otter.ai. Please forgive any typos!
Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at CauseyConsultingLLC.com. And now, here’s your host Sara Causey. Hello. Hello, and thanks for tuning in. In today’s episode, I want to probe this question. Are we celebrating stupidity? I was inspired by a video that popped up on my YouTube from Bjorn Andreas bull Hanson. Now before I ever even go any further, I have to give a standard disclaimer here and it’s sad that we have to do this nowadays, but we do. I don’t know this man. Apparently, he’s a novelist. I’ve not ever read any of his novels. I have not watched all of his videos on YouTube. He pops up occasionally in my feed. And I chose to watch this video titled stop celebrating stupidity slash the rise of anti intellectualism. I do not know everything there is to know about this man or his politics. So if he has recorded something and you don’t like it, or you disagree with it, don’t send me hate mail about it. I’m not claiming to know everything that this man has ever said in his whole life, or that I endorse him or everything he’s ever said. I don’t know this man. I feel like this is a relevant question. Are we celebrating stupidity? Is that even true? With everything? Let’s always start there. Is this even true? Are we celebrating stupidity? And if so? Is it due to a rise in anti intellectualism? I won’t bury my thesis. Do I think that pop culture promotes and celebrates stupidity? Yes. Do I think that’s because of a rise in anti intellectualism? Maybe someone in the comments section to this video writes, it’s not a rise in anti intellectualism, we’re experiencing rather a rise in pseudo intellectualism. And I think that’s probably closer to the mark, in my opinion, because you do have people who worship science, or whatever it is they think science is. And for me, having read the book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and understanding that science changes, as the data changes as information changes, so does the science from one generation to the next. mean, there was a point in time where everyone thought that it was a geocentric universe. Now, it’s a heliocentric universe, our understanding of the world changes from generation to generation. And as we know more things we learn, and we relearn more things. So I do think there is a sort of pseudo intellectualism that’s taken hold in the country. Do you trust the mainstream media? If yes, then that’s good. If no, then you have a tinfoil hat and you’re a conspiracy theorist? Do you worship science? And there seems to be this push towards you need to be an atheist. Don’t believe in anything higher than yourself. Don’t believe in any of that spiritual mumbo jumbo. You’re supposed to be an atheist and you’re supposed to worship science. And you’re also somehow supposed to think that science never changes. Whatever the overlords tell you is true, you should just go ahead and kind of go along with that. Again, for me, it goes back to sit down and shut up. Take your pablum like a good little baby. Don’t ask any questions. Don’t have any dissent. Don’t offer a conflicting opinion. You just sit down and rush. That’s not science. To me. Science is not sit down and hush. Whatever happened to the scientific inquiry, the scientific process. Whatever happened to some like, I’m going to hold my conclusion until I have enough data. I’m not going to go out and presuppose a conclusion and then get confirmation bias attempting to prove that what has even happened here. So for me, I don’t think it’s necessarily anti intellectualism. I think it is about pseudo intellectualism. So then, to me another question, Who benefits from this? Who suffers from it? And then who benefits from it because no pun intended, you can bet your bottom dollar that somebody is going to benefit from it. If people are celebrating stupidity, and we’re supposed to be kept in the dark and sort of ignorant about things, who benefits from it? I think that’s as much of a worthwhile question, as are we celebrating stupidity. I’ve told you before about the very sad statistic that most adults in this country do not read at a sixth grade level. It’s not surprising, necessarily, though it is depressing. And then when you look at the amount of people just breeding in general, and I’m gonna put up a disclaimer here as well, yes, I have a master’s degree in English and I am a bookworm. I love to read, I’m always that kind of nerd that wants to see which is better the book or the film, nine times out of 10. It’s the book. I get that I do love to read. And I think sometimes, people, when you’re in school, you’re in college, you get forced to read things that are so boring that it sort of turns you off from reading after you get out of school. And you’re like, I’ve been forced fed, the most boring nonsense ever. It feels like it’s not going to ever impact my life in any meaningful way. I don’t want to do that anymore. I understand why some people burn out on reading. I just wish that it wasn’t so permanent. You know, give yourself a breather to kind of get away from the stuff you were forced to read in school, but don’t give up on reading. I’m also not some snooty patootie who feels like it’s not important to read for pleasure. Like, oh, reading only counts. If it’s Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky or James Joyce, you you are an intellectual you’re very high brow as long as you’re reading the classics. But if you want to read anything more modern, or you want to read for pleasure, or for fun, well, shame on you. That’s not really reading. Of course it is. Like right now pull the curtain back right now I’m in the process of reading Glenn Greenwald’s book no place to hide, subtitled Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US surveillance state. So this is great nightmare fuel. I mean, we should be talking about this type of thing. Every day, it’s about this book was published. Let’s see here in 2014. And it did become a New York Times bestseller. But I think that, as that VP allegedly said, the public always forgets, I think it’s a combination of that, along with people have just accepted surveillance. They’ve just accepted in order to have access to the internet, and and these apps and the technology and be able to do what I want to do, or work the way that I want to work. If I have to trade my privacy for all of that. So be it I’ll do it know that the agent watching me is going to be pretty bored. Yeah, but I mean, do you really want somebody knowing about all of your intimate moments? I mean, that’s, that’s creepy. To me. This is this is nightmare fuel. I’ll talk about this in another episode. The point I want to make here is after I get finished with this, and my brain is just awash with terror. Quite frankly, I’ll read something for pleasure. Whether it’s corny romance novel or suspense, who done it or like an action adventure spy novel, I will just read something for pleasure. Not something for intellectual stimulation, personal or professional growth, but just something purely for pleasure. Whether it’s something like Tommy saw Brenda from across the room, and his heart skipped a beat, or whether it’s Sally and went missing, and her husband had no idea where she went find out who done it in this thriller. I’ll read something like that. So I am not the old schoolmarm type who’s going to sit here and tell you that if you read something on the internet, or you read something through your Kindle or your knuck, if it’s not just high brow intellectualism, it doesn’t count as reading. I just hope that your reading period, and I feel like it’s so important. So there was a Gallup poll, I’ll drop a link to it. Check it out for yourself. The title of this is Americans reading fewer books than in the past, and this was published last January. When we scroll down to the bottom line we find reading appears to be in decline as a favorite way for Americans to spend their free time in 2020. A few months into the COVID 19 pandemic, when many Americans were still reluctant to leave their homes. Gallup found that 6% of US adults naming reading as their favorite way to spend an evening was down 12% from 2016. Since Gallup first asked the question in 1960, at least 10% of Americans had identified reading as their favorite evening activity in all but one survey. The new data on book reading reinforce that the popularity of reading is waning. With average Americans reading an average of three fewer books last year than they did five years ago. And typically reading for the past three decades, the decline is not because fewer Americans are reading at all a percentage that has held steady at 17%. But because Americans who do read are reading fewer books, the changes are especially pronounced among the most voracious book readers, namely college graduates, women and older Americans in quote, wow, fewer Americans are reading at all, a percentage that has held steady at 17% 17% of people were what we would label as regular, consistent readers. And then out of those people who have been consistent readers, they’re starting to drop off. As I mentioned, for college graduates, I get it because if you had boring classes, and you had to read dense academic material that was as intriguing as watching paint dry. I understand wanting a break from that I had to do it. When I was in college, and then again, in graduate school, what some teachers some professor thinks is just the greatest book ever. You may read it and be like, That sucked. That was freaking horrible. But you had to read it because the professor said, so the professor told you it was the greatest thing ever. And you didn’t want to fail the class. You didn’t want to offend them. I get that but it’s like please, please don’t punish reading don’t punish books, because some dowdy professor made you read a bunch of junk that you felt like was irrelevant. Come back to it, please. Okay, but Sarah, why are you on your soapbox about this? Why is it so important? Because knowledge is power. I’ve also talked before about a&e profiling the most important people of the last millennium. And Gutenberg was at the top of the list because of the printing press, the proliferation of knowledge that could get out to everyone. If you could obtain literacy, the world was your oyster. All of a sudden, information that’s printed in a book is not relegated only to the upper crust. The people who are important enough to read books, they’re important enough to have access to this knowledge. Now, you little peon, you’re not it knocked those barriers down. And it pisses me off to see people willingly giving that up. When we think about those who came before us, the ancestors, I’m not talking about recent ancestors necessarily, but the ancestors of old who weren’t literate. They were serfs. They were suffering under feudalism. The amount of knowledge that we have access to that’s at our fingertips in comparison to what it was like for the ancestors, knowing you have to imagine that if they were here with us, and they understood the situation. Don’t you think they would slap you in the face? If you’re not reading if you’re just watching mindless BS on tick tock and a loop? Your whole life has become nothing but bull crap, you can stream on Netflix. I mean, don’t you think that the ancestors would slap you and be like, What are you thinking? You have all of these resources, you have all of this knowledge at your fingertips and what are you doing with it? So yes, I do think returning back to yarns video, I do think that there’s a celebration of stupidity. And as I said, I think it comes more from pseudo intellectualism, necessarily the anti intellectualism, I think there is a certain amount of power that these power brokers get from making people think that they’re smarter, making them think that they’re more informed than they actually are. Because if you just scroll mindlessly and you look at the headlines you’re not even going to get anything close to the full picture in my opinion. I’m not even going to go down the rabbit hole of mindless celebrity gossip if you’re focusing your time and energy on that. i There’s really nothing that I can say if you if you are more focused on so called Reality TV, or you can talk about characters in a soap opera as though they are your real life friends and family members. This broadcast is not for you. I don’t think you’re going to get anything out of it. But I think in terms of pseudo intellectualism, if you can make somebody think that they’re informed if you can make somebody think that they have the full picture and that there’s really no need for scientific inquiry, there’s really no need for you to do your own research, there’s really no need for you to crack open a book and get into deeper study about a subject. You’re a lot more pliable, you’ll go along with whatever agenda they set up for you because you’re not doing those things. There’s a point in the video around 728, where he talks about the attitude of curiosity that I do agree with 100%. In my mind, if when you just say I know everything there is to know I am not curious, I don’t want to explore the world any further, you may as well just climb in the coffin and shut the lid. What What else is left for you at that point. He also in the video talks about how the world is a magnificent place, go read a book, go get out in nature, look at the trees and the plants and the flowers around you. I agree with that to the world is a magnificent place. Sometimes when I’m just out and about here on the farm, I’ll find all kinds of little oddities from nature, whether it’s an interesting crystal or rock of some kind, whether it’s an animal bone that’s shown up from goodness knows where sometimes because I’m down in a valley, when we have a good rain, the water kind of cuts through down here. And I’ll find all kinds of anomalies and interesting things old fossils and cool rocks and bones and things and the that have come down through the rain water. There’s all kinds of cool stuff that you can go and experience out in nature. Likewise, if you read, yes, even reading for pleasure reading, silly romance novels are a who done it. One of the things that that does is it increases your vocabulary. And it helps you to I think have a more vivid imagination to be able to see mental pictures in a more vibrant way. I feel like reading just strictly for pleasure has an important place in your life, too. But by the same token, should you be reading for personal and professional development? Of course you should. And I think that that’s part of the curiosity, that spark of curiosity, wanting to know more wanting to see more that Bjorn talks about in the video. I was joking around once with my friend Eric. And I said, is that the Rams? Or is that a person just a second, please? Well, in today’s case, it was both. It was both a human and the Rams. Anyway, I digress. Never a dull moment when you live on a working farm and ranch, there’s always something to capture your attention. So I was joking around one day with my friend Eric. And I said, you know, if the free candy van pulled up, that would be of no interest to me. But if they painted over free candy, and they put free knowledge, that would be a temptation, especially if they wrote free esoteric knowledge. That would be a true temptation for me, because I like to know things. I like to go behind the curtain and know what you’re not supposed to know. That that is of interest to me. It’s not a wonder that I did academic work with the Faust legend because there is that Faustian edge to my own personality, that desire to know more and to see more and to understand the way that the world works beyond what we’re told that that is a fascinating topic to me, and it really doesn’t get old. I enjoy that. And I think that whatever your Bellwether is whatever turns you on, whatever excites you, you should lean into that. Rather than suppressing it, you should go and look for information, hopefully not in an echo chamber, that will help you to learn that will stimulate your own thought process. I always say on this podcast and on my blogs, I don’t give you official advice. I don’t tell anybody what to do or what not to do. I sit here and I opine for your entertainment only. And my hope is that it will stimulate your own intellect. If I talk about a story and I drop a link, I hope that you will go and look for yourself and make up your own mind. There may be something in the article that speaks to you in a way that is different from the way that it speaks to me. Or you may look at the preponderance of evidence and come to a completely different conclusion. I do think it’s important to avoid the echo chamber. And there’s a trend that I see now as you know, I don’t consider myself to be left or right. I don’t get into the Democrat versus Republican and this party’s Right, but that party sucks. I just think that’s a waste of time. And in my opinion, I feel like you would be hard pressed to find much of a difference much of a true difference between the two. But there’s this trend that I see popping up amongst neoliberal leftists. But how do I know that that’s what they are? Oh, because they want to be very clear in advertising it, they want to be very, very clear with you. They want to be sure that you know that they hate the Republicans, they hate the right wingers. They are neoliberal leftist. They, they make it very, very overt. And there’s a trend amongst that set of well, working poor and poor people and working class people in general, like, they just don’t really understand finance, they don’t understand the economy. And it’s not their fault, but like, they’re never really gonna understand it. And I’m like, what kind of disempowering message is that? You’re essentially telling somebody, you’re a victim, and it’s not your fault, but you’re going to stay a victim. don’t aspire to anything more. Don’t try to learn about something that you currently don’t know or understand. Just stay in your ignorance. Go back to your Netflix, go back to your tick tock and drink your beer and just resign yourself to your fate. Who benefits from that? You know, I in the episode that I recorded about Lauren verlon and her book cruel optimism, there was a podcast that I dropped a link to and that I talked about in that episode where she speaks about Obama going off to the University of Chicago to drink the neoliberal Kool Aid. And it’s like, um, yeah, yeah. I think about those characters in that movie Get Out, and how they had that sort of typical white neoliberal attitude of oh, well, we would have voted for Obama for a third term, if that was allowed. Like, what does that even supposed to mean? How is that actually supposed to help anybody that’s been victimized by racism or bigotry, like, how is that supposed to help? Okay, so you would have voted for somebody who drank the neoliberal Kool Aid and was a Warthog and helped people in fat cats on Wall Street? Yeah, okay, great. What a Robin Hood, you are what a champion for the poor and downtrodden. Okay. Now, my point and that is not about trying to get political. My point is, the onus is on every one of us to learn, to read, to seek out information. I’ve been working poor. I’ve told you before about having seven cents in my bank account, and having to pray that nothing happened until I got paid again, having no money that nothing was in the fund budget not being able to go out and do anything, being excited. When the two for one microwave burritos were three for one at the grocery store. Because that meant I could actually put buy some extra food, having to Panhandle at work amongst my co workers, so that I could get changed to ride the toll road home. The thought never crossed my mind of this is my life. I need to resign myself to this fate. This is who I am. This is my identity. And it’s all that I’ll ever be. It’s all that I’ll ever have. In fact, my thought process was exactly the opposite. I don’t enjoy living this way. And I need to figure out how to stop living this way. I need to consume information. I need to be observant, and I need to figure out how to beat the system. Rich people do this. And some of them will even admit to you that they do this. They will say Well, yeah, we’re we hardly pay anything in taxes. Because we know where the loopholes are. We don’t do this. And we don’t do that. Because we have the best lawyers, we have the best tax accountants. I mean, they some of them will sit there and tell you. It’s like Dave Chappelle is term an honest liar. They’ll sit there and tell you Oh, yeah, I know how to cheat the system. Yeah, we do that all the time. We have the finest people on our payroll, because it’s cheaper to pay them than it is to pay the taxes. Uh huh. My thought process was, how do I get myself out of this? And during the Great Recession, I’ve also said before my focus was on I don’t want to get fired. I don’t want to get pink slips. What do I need to do to be as integral to the operation as possible? If this place shuts down, then I want to be the last person standing and I want to leave here with a sterling letter of recommendation for the next place. And I made it I survived and you could argue and and say, Well, okay, that’s because you were a bootlicker, you went with the system you sold out to this company you were at and you did whatever they wanted you to do. And you worked a lot and whatever. Yeah. Okay, if if you want me to sit here and take that beating, I’ll take it. I will. But I made it. I sort of think that people have gotten into this mentality that everybody is going to fight city hall, that the average working class John or Jane Q Public is going to somehow overwhelm Wall Street, or overwhelm all of corporate America. And I’m like, Ah, I don’t know about that. I sort of think that there’s some merit to looking at what these scoundrels do to beat the system. As I said, knowledge is power. I’m not telling you that it’s right. I’m not telling you that it’s ethical. I’m not telling you that it’s good. I’m telling you that knowledge is power. They know how the system works. And it would behoove you to know how the system works as well. It seems to me that the media plays pretty fast and loose with terms like expert and economist, it seems like those terms just get thrown around without any real meaning or without any real pedigree or provability. It’s like you become an expert, or you become an economist, when you’re willing to go on a news outlet and tell them whatever they want you to say. And nothing more. If you deviate from the script, then you might just get cut all together, we might not air your interview, or we might cut you short. Or if we can’t do that, we will go back and paint you up to be a buffoon. You can’t tell me that there’s not some sort of agenda behind that. There has to be. So when we’re bringing all of this together, in my mind, you’re not doing anybody any favors by telling them this is all that is ever going to be possible for you. You don’t understand finance, you’re never going to understand finance. So you shouldn’t even try to understand the economy. You shouldn’t try to understand inflation, you shouldn’t try to educate yourself. It’s just above your head. Okay, you should allow the people in the media and their so called experts and their so called economist to do all of this for you. And then you go back and you live paycheck to paycheck and drink your beer and watch your tick talks or, you know, whatever it is you poor people do those of us up here in our ivory towers, we don’t really know but we’re gonna pretend to and then we’re gonna say it’s all okay, because we would have voted for Obama to have a third term if that were possible. Haha. The onus is on you. And I don’t care what your economic situation is listening to this. I do not care. It does not matter to me. The onus is on you. Caveat mTOR. I’m talking in a very like libertarian with a little ill, or classically liberal point of view here. The onus is on you to read to educate yourself. Do I think that pop culture celebrates and rewards stupidity? Yes. But that does not mean that you have to fall into that trap. That doesn’t have to be you. Is there a library close to where you live. Depending upon where you’re located, you may be able to go get a library card and read for free. There are also a number of repositories and archives online where certain content can be made available to you free of charge. If you’re not within drivability or walkability, to a local library, if you’re able to get a card, a lot of them will have ebooks that you can borrow for free. There’s a wealth of good content online. There’s a wealth of garbage and propaganda to no doubt about that. But there are authors and journalists who really are trying to shine a light on the truth as they see it. They don’t they’re not bought and paid for they’re not shills whether we’re talking about shilling for the state or shilling for corporations, which what’s the freakin difference anymore? There are people out there trying to put forth some good stimulating relevant content. The onus is on you to take some personal responsibility there, but I believe in you, I’m not some neoliberal who’s gone off and drank the Kool Aid. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you like you know, I’m, I’m drinking my drink with my pinky in the air and I’m so much better than you. Well, you just don’t understand economics. You understand finance and that’s okay. Because you’re never going to you just sit there in your chair and you hush and I’ll tell you what to think I’m not going to do that. I believe in you. And I encourage you to read and to think for yourself, find something that you’re passionate about, and find some very cool books about that topic. It doesn’t always have to be about things that you can monetize, and how you can start a side hustle, you can read for pleasure. You can find an author whose books you just want to, oh, every time they have a new series, they just want to tear it apart. It’s so good. I just want to rip into the books as soon as I can get my hands on him. That’s a that’s a wonderful feeling. And in my opinion, it’s a it’s a better expenditure of your time than just watching Weird garbage from the idiot box. Or telling you to never watch TV. I like to watch football. I like to watch the cooking shows the things like restaurant impossible in Hell’s Kitchen. I like that stuff. Like game shows sometimes, too. I just don’t sit and watch it in a continual loop. Are we celebrating stupidity? Yeah, I think so. But that doesn’t have to be you. Are there people who don’t understand economics and finance? Yeah. Hell yeah. Do I think that some of the bankers and banking systems and state agencies make it difficult on purpose? Do I think that they make things overly complicated and they’re rather obscure about certain information on purpose? Yes. In my opinion, I think that’s true. The information though, is out there. It is findable. It’s just not as accessible as watching something on Tik Tok, or on Instagram. You may have to do more digging to find the information but it’s out there. Stay safe, stay sane. Use your brain. Read something you find interesting. And I will see you in the next episode. Thanks for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. We’ll see you next time.