Most people in the world are idiots. Though this is nothing new. Fortunately our socially evolved brains have been wisened to this notion since the very first moment they began to socially evolve, and the resultant moment where the first free thinking caveman suddenly realised he was hanging out with a bunch of punks.
The ability to judge if someone is an idiot or not would have always been vital to a man’s welfare in whatever society or time that he inhabited. To decide if that person’s character had any resemblance to yours, if your interests entwined, if he was someone you would respect, and thus in doing so if he’d become someone to whom you’d wish to listen to and head his words. If we were without the ability to discern an idiot, we’d all be drinking bleach right now because Tim McBleachDrinker said it was good idea and we didn’t know any better than to trust him. If we couldn’t discern an idiot, we’d all be idiots.
And of course the above is just an extreme way of saying that judgements are important to us. You can say that someone is judgmental and it seems to throw a negative connotation these days, but the reality is we’re all judgmental, that we’d be foolish not to be. The word judgmental now perhaps doesn’t mean that someone judges more than someone else, but perhaps only that they are more vocal in the way they do it, and are judging for more trivial things, for example; a West London fashionista deciding to ditch her friend and slag her off just because she wore the same outfit twice in a week. Yeah what a bitch right? But now look; we are judging her. We’ve heard a little piece of this fictional idiot’s history and we’ve made little instant decisions about how much we relate to her, about whether we’d give her the time of day. Now I’m not saying that we are staring at our computer shouting at her or that we would feel the need to go bitch about her to someone else, but if you now met her, and she then gave you an opinion about something… would you feel like the way she saw the world was in any way in synchrony with the way you do? If you were planning a trip to Africa and she told you that it sucked and she hated it, would it at all influence how you’d think about planning your trip?
That last question may seem specific and random, but this zone is really where the internet can come in and screw you in the ass. Sure when you meet someone in person you may not always get to know a specific piece of information about them like we just have with the fashionista, but your mind has however been finely tuned to recognise thousands of other small things which allow you to create an impression of them; you watch the way they hold themselves, how much life there is in their eyes, how they laugh, every way in which you respond to each other. It’s not that conscious, and impressions aren’t always right, but they are important and exist for a reason, giving you an instant filter to all the things that people tell you. You collect information from everyone you meet, and being able to discern that a lot of it isn’t so applicable to you is an important part of life. Your brain has been well trained to this, but what it hasn’t had time to adapt to is the modern development and sheer massiveness of information that is now available to you from people sitting behind keyboards.
When you want to know something now, you turn to the internet and you hit search. This is incredible for obtaining facts, but I’ve started to realise that you’ve got to be really careful when you use the internet for forming opinions or making plans. You decide you are planning a trip to Africa (there you go, pulling this whole post together now) and you look at where to stay; some fashionista idiot has written a quick list on her blog of all the reasons why you should not go to that place, and you wonder if maybe you should go somewhere else. You have no point of reference about the character of the person who wrote that list; you don’t know that she is just some tart with a peanut brain (god why do I hate this woman so much?), and instead you just see a stream of negativity about a place, that may seem entirely reasonable, and it invariably leaves some sort of imprint on you. Given that my life at the moment involves making a lot of travel plans, this kind of stuff has been actually having quite an effect on what I decide I’m doing. Also (and in fact more so) in my effort to learn Italian and Japanese, I’ve been reading a lot about how to learn languages on the internet. Everyone has a different opinion on what’s right and everyone is out there so adamantly trying to prove that they are right, and it can be confusing and make you feel like you are doing something wrong.
The problem is is that you give someone a keyboard and a bit of time, and they can present themselves in a very measured and thoughtful way. They can put together an argument that was built to sway you, and indeed sway you it may. You don’t really know anything about this person who’s writing what you are reading, and you often don’t get any evidence of the truth of what he’s saying or a true insight into the experience he is talking from, but it often can have an effect on you nonetheless as what you read just kind of sounds reasonable and it can seem true just because someone is so adamantly saying it. So many of your finely developed abilities to judge a source of information are taken away from you online, and you can start believing or following information that you never would’ve taken from the same guy in a million years if you’d met them in person.
Now I suppose I’m getting quite carried away here and maybe some of you will be wondering what exactly I’ve been conned into doing on the internet that’s made me have the urge to write all this slander. Have I joined a cult? Did I get roped into giving all my money away to some scam? Did I cancel a trip to Africa? No I just have been following some blogs and reading some stuff that occasionally made me feel confused about what I was doing, or doubt myself or my own plans. It’s hard to put a specific finger on it, but I allowed myself to be swayed by sources of information that I later came to realise were written by complete spafftards.
But the internet is amazing. And humans are great. I know the vibe of this writing right now is all about people being idiots, but obviously I don’t feel that negatively about the world if I’m out here meeting people everyday and exploring. I’ve just instead learned recently to try and be a bit more analytical of opinions that you read online, especially if you are reading them because you are trying to formulate an opinion of your own.
In fact humans are great, but then again another point to consider is that also I don’t know many humans or have any friends who comment on things on the internet or keep blogs or anything. So while humans are great, the majority of the online community is probably actually composed of complete douchebags, so you gotta be double careful.
Thus watch out when you go online to try to decide on that thing, or find out how best to do that something you are thinking of doing, because the opinion you are reading is probably written by some guy who keeps a blog,
And people who keep blogs are super lame.