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10/21/10

Excerpt of the Day: Seth Godin

Ignorance is the opiate of the masses...


Possible explanation for the shrinking middle class?
Knowledge is readily accessible, to avoid it is willful stupidity.

Many people in the United States purchase one or fewer books every year.


Many of those people have seen every single episode of American Idol. There is clearly a correlation here.


Access to knowledge, for the first time in history, is largely unimpeded for the middle class. Without effort or expense, it's possible to become informed if you choose. For less than your cable TV bill, you can buy and read an important book every week. Share the buying with six friends and it costs far less than coffee.


Or you can watch TV.


The thing is, watching TV has it's benefits. It excuses you from the responsibility of having an informed opinion about things that matter. It gives you shallow opinions or false 'facts' that you can easily parrot to others that watch what you watch. It rarely unsettles our carefully self-induced calm and isolation from the world.


[It's] clearly a deliberate act- -in our infoculture, it takes work not to expose yourself to interesting ideas, facts, news and points of view. 


[I] know this rant is nothing new. In fact, people have been complaining about willful ignorance since Brutus or Caesar or whoever invented the salad...the difference now is this: more people than ever are creators. More people than ever go to work to use their minds, not just their hands. Forgive me for suggesting [that] it might be reading blogs, books or even watching TED talks.


As for the deliberately uninformed, we can ignore them or we can reach out to them and hopefully start a pattern of people thinking for themselves...

Deliberately uninformed, relentlessly so [a rant]
Seth Godin's Blog