(This post is a guest editorial I did this month for Destination: Asphyxiation. The piece, in its entirety, appears there…)
Out in the world. Driving like molasses in front of me or riding my tailgate like they’re got somewhere special to be. Making a ridiculously high maintenance order at Starbucks (C’mon, it’s coffee, people!) or shuffling their feet behind me because I’m taking too long to specify that I need TWO pumps of sugar-free vanilla and just ONE pump of regular cinnamon dolce in my 127° Americano. And even if you’re not from this country (whatever “this country” might happen to be for you…), asking a question like “How do I get to the such-and-such?” not only marks you as an Out-Of-Town Stupid Person but what makes you think I have the time to look it up on Google Maps for you?
Several times a week the sheer number of Stupid People is so overwhelming that I will catch myself literally screaming in frustration. This often results in other Stupid People asking me to stop screaming because they can’t concentrate.
It got me to wondering if there has always been a similar ratio of Stupid People to Non-Stupid People throughout history. Did great classical thinkers like Socrates and Plato have to weather an unending cascade of Stupid People? It seems the world must have been a lot simpler then, which means the Stupid People would have really been clueless. I can almost understand the propensity for stupidity today, given the rapid increase in technology, coupled with a relentless glut of information.
Back in the ancient Greek and Roman times, most people in those cultures didn’t believe in one god, they thought there were a pile of them, all lording it over some specific profession, or animal, or random thing. Religious wars actually made a sort of sense under those rules. “My God is better than your god” — pretty straight forward. (Back then, if you lost would you have to forsake your god and worship the one with the followers who kicked your ass? Because that would make all kinds of sense. Your god left you hanging, after all…) In these times, we usually have people pitched against each other because their same one god comes in different flavors. (Please click here to continue reading the rest of the essay…)— Marc Hershon