At a party the other afternoon at a friend’s big stone house in an arriviste Philadelphia suburb, one of the impudent tykes, with an overstuffed mouth, popped an imposing question.
The dour youth — undoubtedly a future Wall Street ‘perp’ — had craftily over indulged in the over-saturated birthday cake, ice-cream and everything else that made his gaunt, hollow-cheeked Mom overly bulimic.
His query may have been also seasoned by a computer game that absorbed him.
Whatever… It made the Lexus and Volvo driving crowd titter uncomfortably.
“How old is G-d?” wondered the surly youth, whose age lingered somewhere between goofy and getting some ingénue pregnant.
And just as I was offering something to ignite his mental popcorn – you know: HIS age has got more numbers than the infinite square root of pi. Just do the math! – another kid who’s got a toxic head start on being loathsome, pulled out his cell droid and insolently blurted: ‘Couldn’t we just Google it?’
But of course! And everyone, gulping heartily on their perfect California vineyards, exhaled complacently, while agreeing the question was ‘darling.’ And the solution, they insisted, was ‘absolutely brilliant!’
Hmm…. And all I wanted to do was to round up a herd of dominatrixes and have them beat these Buffy’s and Skip’s until their pasty white arenas were as discolored as a New Year’s day hangover. Turn them as black and blue and white and brown and yellow as their least favorite ethnics.
What I have long feared has already become an exigent matter. The improbable has become the inevitable. It’s worse than an emergency. And the rip cord ain’t working. We’re plummeting on a streamer.
Questions and issues and answers that once prompted metaphysical, if not invigorating and ponderous discussions are now dismissed; relegated to our search engines. Google is the authority. Google and its likes are our G-ds. And we trust them implicitly to be absolutely truthful. After all, it must be true if it is on the internet.
That’s like trusting the government with our money.
Hmm… And meanwhile, much like the Bible, it’s not the things I don’t understand that bother me, it’s the things I do.
Even long before a babe was born in a manger I have well understood we always have, and will always continue, to pay a hefty price for everything, whether or not it leads to salvation. Even a hospital bed is nothing but the running meter of an idling taxi.
Now on Google we have all ‘ready-at-our-fingertips’ all the cookie-cutter answers.
And man, in his dogged resolution to cut corners, seems to be over-circumcising another piece of his evolutionary astuteness. Another victory for more down time to eyeball the monster in our living rooms delivering 1,000 channels of football, idol worshipping and other ‘heroin’ addictions.
Has anybody but moi noticed that common sense isn’t so common any more?
Look, we are born ignorant, but we seem to work overtime to remain stupid. It’s like debating a fundamentalist. I mean, anybody who believes the world is only 6,000 years old has got to be ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.
Or worse…I think you can Google that, also…
But of course…
Then again, what the heck do I know? Except there is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. It’s like the Egyptian President Morsi and some of his senior dolts recently asserting that the Holocaust — the most documented genocide in history — was a myth perpetuated by the United States.
Hmm… May a G-d of my choosing afflict him with ten more Passover plagues.
I guess what is Billiard balling like a tornado between my ears is that these search engines – at least for now — are seemingly making us ‘more’ fat, ugly, dumb and stupid, instead of informed, knowledgeable and wise.
They even seem to be stifling our natural curiosity. I mean, if there isn’t a quick, easy answer then why bother.
In a way – and this may only be part of our 40-year march through the desert until we grapple with the technology – it seems to be undermining our national character. Whatever that may be.
My mother always blamed the breakdown of the American family on the demise of the Sunday Blue Laws and the up-rise of the credit card.
But character is something I define as the calluses of sweat equity. You know: No pain no gain.
It isn’t merely that these search engines have enabled us to garner information much more easily and readily. But, of course, that isn’t all that bad. It’s that they make us too easily smug. And all too readily we begin to think we are smart.
What are we thinking?!
Hey, don’t get to agitating that if stupidity got us into this mess, why can’t it get us out?
So, listen up, folks I am gonna tell you this until you start listening: Data ain’t information. Information ain’t knowledge. Knowledge ain’t understanding. And understanding ain’t wisdom.
Wisdom comes by disillusionment. And disillusionment starts with the first step after recognizing our discontent.
How many times must I remind you? This is becoming very disillusioning. It shouldn’t take a poll, or survey, or study to tell us what to think, or how we should be thinking about this or that. It just takes effort.
Perhaps Einstein put it best when he humbly recognized that he wasn’t smart. “It’s simply that I stay with problems longer…”
Once again: No pain no gain. It’s not about the destination but the journey.
Life is supposed to be an adventure. From the adventure, comes experience. From experience comes wisdom.
And let me slip this in on you. Perhaps it will impregnate a thought: The true sign of intelligence isn’t knowledge, but imagination.
Hey, look at President Lincoln as the latest movie has emboldened.
The 16th President raised himself reading and re-reading and re-re-reading little more than the Bible and Shakespeare. It wasn’t knowledge or data he reaped, but learning how to think, re-think and out-think the shifting quick sands of circumstances. It enabled him to maintain mission over emotion – arduously persevering — while rising to many of the most difficult challenges in U.S. history.
Lincoln would have loved the internet, And while, like me, he might of distrusted its power and at times its veracity – he would have loved its educational vitality. For, we seem to forget, an education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. That can be left to the internet servers. An education is being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don’t.
Indeed, the mark of an educated mind is to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
And like I’ve said many times here and there: A fool says what he knows. A wise man knows what he says.
Yet for now, as the answer to the question of G-d’s age: We ain’t nuttin’ but a ship of fools.
So let’s pray: G-d grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…