It’s been a while since this topic has come to my mind. I’m procrastinating and not willing to write about this topic as it’s provocative. No one wants to be told that “you don’t think.” Everyone think that, or want to be, they are the smartest. But in reality, most of the time we don’t think, including me.
I had this revelation when I was a kid, in a pre social media world. Being an introvert, I always observed the behavior of other people, including myself. It was a fun thing to do. What I found out was that people always kept talking as if you were a freak if you didn’t say anything. Whenever someone asked something, the other one could respond quickly. They could talk about almost any topics without problems even I could tell that someone was clearly not familiar with them. On the contrary, when someone asked me some questions, I often paused and started to think. The silence made the conversation awkward as if I didn’t want to answer. People expected instant response which I thought was nonsense.
Humans are like computers somehow. Our brain is a processor, but unlike a computer’s processor, we can only process one thing at a time. (I don’t believe in multi-tasking. Multi-taskers are good at context switching, but not doing multiple things at the same time.) So how come people can always react and respond quickly? My presumption is that if someone keeps speaking, he/she won’t have time to think. If someone spends all the time chattering or reacting to random things, he/she won’t be able to listen and think. So, my conclusion is that they don’t think.
Everyone can react to and comment on any strangers in the virtual world thanks to the advent of social media. Are we becoming smarter given that we can search for any information with a few clicks and act like an expert in almost any fields? No. Instead, people are forced to react and discuss irrelevant things more than they need to due to social pressure. People overload their processors with emotional reaction, leaving even less time to think.
Why people don’t think?
The pithy answer is thinking is hard. Like training your muscle, most people can’t ensure the hardship to going to the gym and do their weight training. Thinking is an exercise of your brain. The process of thinking is just like training your brain muscle, rewiring the connections of your neurons and making it stronger. To me, training my brain is much harder than training my body.
People are inclined to do easy things. Thinking by analogy and experience is what most people do. Instead of thinking and working out your own answer, why don’t you just copy the answer from the others? It’s easy, quick, and make you look like an instant genius! You can integrate the information, analysis, content and whatever from random gurus on the internet, and then come up with your version, and you are officially become a guru, without thinking!
You can still measure and observe whether your physical training has effects on your body shape, but thinking has no immediate effects on your appearance. I’m still look like a nerd even I’m becoming smarter after the efforts I put on my thinking. That’s why people take shortcut. As social animals, what you need is an outlet to show off your intelligence. You don’t need to be a real genius, though you think you are, instead you’re pursuing to be perceived to be smart that make you feel good.
We are living in a matrix
Yea. We are living in a matrix. This is not science fiction but reality. And the reality is not real. The promises of connecting people and organizing information by the social media behemoths have been a vehicle for maneuvering how we think, or making us think less, so that some kind of political agenda can be fit.
You’re busy reacting to every single post on social media, scrolling through the endless news feed, or staring at how many likes or subscribers you get. You’ve got no time to think as you can keep busy all day long in the virtual world. And you have an illusion of getting smarter because of the infinite amount of information you’re receiving. No, you won’t get smarter without taking your time thinking as if you won’t get physically stronger by watching a lot of fitness videos.