Editorial: The ignorance of our culture

By Luis Bravo

That Latin America, Africa, or whatever other poor or Third World country has a high percentage of illiteracy in their population is very understandable. But what is not understandable is that in the 21st century in this country we have to be victims of illiteracy and overall ignorance.

There have always been illiterates, but ignorance has always been lived in shame. Never as today have people presumed not to have read a single book in their miserable lives.

To not want to so much as to whiff anything that smells like culture! Or that exhibits intelligence that is minimally superior to a primate, with apologies to our primate cousins.

The illiterates of today are the worst because in the majority of cases they have had access to education. They know how to read and write, but they don’t exercise these skills, not due to a physical, religious, or social impediment. They simply don’t read and write because they don’t want to. It’s that simple.

Each day there are more illiterates and each day the market takes care of them more and thinks about them more. Take for example television, which caters more and more to their desires.

The various channels compete in offering programs planned for people who do not think, who do not understand, who pass by the culture, who want to be entertained, or to be distracted with the most brutal crimes, the most absurd soap operas, the most ridiculous competitions, or with the most mediocre programs that have ever been produced for the television screen.

The entire world is creating and accommodating this new majority. All is superficial, frivolous, basic, primary, so they can understand it and direct it.

These are socially the new dominant class, although they will always be the dominated class, precisely because of their ignorance and illiteracy. Which imposes its lack of interest and morbid rules. And thus we are left with what we are not satisfied with, with so little. To which we aspire to a little more depth.

The man of today has lost the capacity for admiration, which provokes in human beings the danger of intellectual, psychological, and spiritual poverty. We are immersed in an exaggeratedly rich reality, and yet, we don’t know how to appreciate it. In actuality, what calls our attention the most is screen-level fantasy; that unreal world made of images counts more for more of us than does the world given to us by Nature.

In the order of ideas, we have to know to distinguish between opinions and truths. But, as we live in a subjective world, this does not convince many, since “each one of us has his own truths.” In the face of relativism, the one standing to lose most of all is truth itself, and after that, ourselves. It is certain that the search for truth may not be agreeable. And for this reason, it is consigned to outside. If the truth is uncomfortable, we deny the truth.

Reality is complicated for us – sometimes very much so. Due to our tendency not to complicate life, and due to a comfortable preference to simplify everything, it is easy to fall into reductionism, seeing things in this superficial way, reducing everything to formulas that are too simple. Which is something that is done from all the technical subjects in all the sciences, such as opinions about soccer. In such situations, we tend to fail when we lack study, research, information on causes, laws, factors, circumstances, interests, media, and participants.

It has been our luck to live in a technically wonderful era, in which we can transmit in real time, all the foolishness that can occur to all the idiots of the world. We live in a culture of ignorance that tends to manifest itself in the mania of switching from one subject to the next with great rapidity, without looking in depth at any one thing.

Thus, thinking – analyzing – becomes an unattainable luxury, and in this process, television is to blame a lot. Excuse me, not television itself but some of the producers, as well as those who waste the better parts of their lives watching programs for those without brains.

One of the factors that make “chat communications on Internet more attractive — to mention another example — is the fact that they enable all the users to spit out what they have inside, although many times they don’t have much to say, since there is a huge vacuum of ideas that are substituted for pure feelings.

Following up on this angle, the future is not very satisfactory. Here’s hoping we can notice the problem in time to try to reverse this process before it is too late!!!

About El Heraldo Latino (1298 Articles)
A monthly bilingual newspaper serving East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Winthrop, and others.

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