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The infantilisation of Western society.


Guest Stephen Turner
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Guest Stephen Turner

Twenty years ago, an undergraduates choice of university was largely guided by two variables, were the courses on offer applicable to their needs and accademic qualifications, and far more important, was it as far away from Parental authority figures as possible. But with the advent of "Helicopter parents" (so called because they ceaselessly hover over their adult offspring) the later consideration has been turned on its head, with many attending a University as close to home as possible, so Parents can continue in the nurturing role, with some going as far as to act as unpaid PRs for their darlings, argueing with tutors over grades, phoning them off sick, and arranging, and even attending Campus job interviews.

And its not just Students who are displaying a worringly child like state of dependancy. Witness the need for instant gratification being displayed by ever larger numbers of childults(Child/adults) which if not instantly met leads to infantilised temper tantrums, and increasing displays of violent behaviour, road rage, fist fights at sales, and Parental abuse of referees at Junior sporting events. Alied to these are , inabilty to concentrate, short attention span, over consumption of "comfort foods" leading to a Western epidemic of obesity, the need to seek blame, and redress, and most distrubingly, the inability/ unwillingness to feel/ show empathy for others.

It may help to understand this infantile debasement of our Western societies if we can identify its causes. Here are some that I belive are the main causitive agents.

INSTANT COMMUNICATIONMainly via mobile(cell) phones, and the internet. Whilst on its face these are positive Human advances, their very instancy causes many users to develope an aversion to delayed gratification, when, for what ever reason, these demands are not met instantly it can lead to anger and depression in the individual, which at its most extreme can cause an atomisation of real World community, as events that were once shared become ever more individualitic, and by extention, narcissistic..

FEAR OF THE OTHER. From Paedophiles to terrorists, hooded youths to bad neighbours we are told that our World is a dangerous place, Tabloid newspapers use this as a staple diet to drip feed fear and suspicion into the populace, its also unrivaled at shifting copy. This has the effect of crippling those most basic elements of Human nature, trust and empathy. The fact for instance, that most sex offenders are known to their victims is seldom given prominence, facts, in our modern World, are subordinateted to feelings, and feelins, unlike facts, are easily manipulated.

CITIZENS BECOME CONSUMERS The basic action of a consumer is one of passivity, only becoming active when their individual consumers rights(an oxymoron if ever there was one) become violated, but even this is semi passive, acted out between the individual consumer and the Company, with sometimes a mediating agent. the relationship between the consumer, and the supplier ie in essence childlike, yet one for which the person pays in hard cash.

The Citizen is the complete reversal of this passive relationship. The Citizen needs to be active and alert, and willing to hold power to account. In other words to act as a mature empowered adult, as opposed to an immature, disempowered Child. Guess which role Governments and Corperations prefer?

THE CULT OF CELEBRITY. Or, as it should more correctly be termed, Passive voyeurism. This "relationship", twice removed at best achives the impossible in that it makes the consumer feel both inferior, and superior to the object AT ONE AND THE SAME TIME! This is psychologically toxic to both and can, and does, lead to mental illness, suicide, and in extreme cases murder. Hysteria surrounding celebrity's is not a new phenomina, but its modern extension into a full blown economy is.

THE NARROWING OF EDUCATION TO REFLECT OBDIENCE AND RESULTS, NOT KNOWLEDGE. As this is a site for educators I shall attempt to tread carefully here. Top down. The Government, and various agencies, some Public some private decide on every nut and bolt of what shall be taught, and in what way, the teacher, constraigned professionaly, passes this this, Government approved gruel down to Students whose only role is to commit it to memory, and spew it out again in exam after exam. In this Students have become the ultimate consumers. Universitys complain that Students seeking places with as many as six, or more A levels, at A grade( a supposed sure sign of educational achivement) show little, or no ability to engage in original thinking, or critique, useful qualities, one would assume in undergraduates. testing within ever narrower bands has become the norm. Its little wonder that Corperations couldn't believe their luck when Education authorities invited them in to help run these hollowed out environments. What a catchment area to to sell your Brands to the next Generation of uncritical consumers. As a mark of their truimph a sign should be hung outside every School. "LEAVE ALL CRITICAL THINKING EQUIPMENT OUTSIDE, AND PREPAIR TO EMBRACE THE IDEOLOGY OF THE MARKET." And following on from this.

ANTI INTELLECTUALISM. Amongst certain sections of Society anti intellectualism, or anti learning, a kind of worship of ignorance has taken hold like a fever. the infected wear their stupidiity like a badge of honour, in other words, so alienating has the process of Education become to many, that they chose to remain uneducated and infantilised, and for this Society pays a heavy price in wasted talent, crime and mental illness. if you are so minded as to regard everthing only in terms of price ask yourself this, how much is this costing taxpayers, victims of crime and health services. A mind empty of the joys of education ends up brutalising itself, or others, and as the jails and Psychiatric hospitals fill the price, in any way you wish to regard it, goes stratospheric.

There are many other factors we could consider. Reality TV, the vicious dumbing down of all sections of the media, Politicians constantly playing to the populist gallery, the perversion of Feminism, into a shallow ladette culture, which openly seeks to imitate the worst aspects of Male behaviour, and ends up calling pole dancing liberation, A film industry which places special effects above narrative, plot and characterisation.

These are some of the reasons an ever increasing percentage of Adults act, and think in an infantile, selfish manner. Unable to contemplate anything other than the limp, meaningless satisfaction of their immediate wants. Perfect dumbed down childults for an aquisitive base system. So is this the natural consiquence of the truimph of greed over equality, or,even more worryingly, a deliberate attempt at Social engineering, and hence, a conspiracy?

Edited by Stephen Turner
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Twenty years ago, an undergraduates choice of university was largely guided by two variables, were the courses on offer applicable to their needs and accademic qualifications, and far more important, was it as far away from Parental authority figures as possible. But with the advent of "Helicopter parents" (so called because they ceaselessly hover over their adult offspring) the later consideration has been turned on its head, with many attending a University as close to home as possible, so Parents can continue in the nurturing role, with some going as far as to act as unpaid PRs for their darlings, argueing with tutors over grades, phoning them off sick, and arranging, and even attending Campus job interviews.

And its not just Students who are displaying a worringly child like state of dependancy. Witness the need for instant gratification being displayed by ever larger numbers of childults(Child/adults) which if not instantly met leads to infantilised temper tantrums, and increasing displays of violent behaviour, road rage, fist fights at sales, and Parental abuse of referees at Junior sporting events. Alied to these are , inabilty to concentrate, short attention span, over consumption of "comfort foods" leading to a Western epidemic of obesity, the need to seek blame, and redress, and most distrubingly, the inability/ unwillingness to feel/ show empathy for others.

It may help to understand this infantile debasement of our Western societies if we can identify its causes. Here are some that I belive are the main causitive agents.

INSTANT COMMUNICATIONMainly via mobile(cell) phones, and the internet. Whilst on its face these are positive Human advances, their very instancy causes many users to develope an aversion to delayed gratification, when, for what ever reason, these demands are not met instantly it can lead to anger and depression in the individual, which at its most extreme can cause an atomisation of real World community, as events that were once shared become ever more individualitic, and by extention, narcissistic..

FEAR OF THE OTHER. From Paedophiles to terrorists, hooded youths to bad neighbours we are told that our World is a dangerous place, Tabloid newspapers use this as a staple diet to drip feed fear and suspicion into the populace, its also unrivaled at shifting copy. This has the effect of crippling those most basic elements of Human nature, trust and empathy. The fact for instance, that most sex offenders are known to their victims is seldom given prominence, facts, in our modern World, are subordinateted to feelings, and feelins, unlike facts, are easily manipulated.

CITIZENS BECOME CONSUMERS The basic action of a consumer is one of passivity, only becoming active when their individual consumers rights(an oxymoron if ever there was one) become violated, but even this is semi passive, acted out between the individual consumer and the Company, with sometimes a mediating agent. the relationship between the consumer, and the supplier ie in essence childlike, yet one for which the person pays in hard cash.

The Citizen is the complete reversal of this passive relationship. The Citizen needs to be active and alert, and willing to hold power to account. In other words to act as a mature empowered adult, as opposed to an immature, disempowered Child. Guess which role Governments and Corperations prefer?

THE CULT OF CELEBRITY. Or, as it should more correctly be termed, Passive voyeurism. This "relationship", twice removed at best achives the impossible in that it makes the consumer feel both inferior, and superior to the object AT ONE AND THE SAME TIME! This is psychologically toxic to both and can, and does, lead to mental illness, suicide, and in extreme cases murder. Hysteria surrounding celebrity's is not a new phenomina, but its modern extension into a full blown economy is.

THE NARROWING OF EDUCATION TO REFLECT OBDIENCE AND RESULTS, NOT KNOWLEDGE. As this is a site for educators I shall attempt to tread carefully here. Top down. The Government, and various agencies, some Public some private decide on every nut and bolt of what shall be taught, and in what way, the teacher, constraigned professionaly, passes this this, Government approved gruel down to Students whose only role is to commit it to memory, and spew it out again in exam after exam. In this Students have become the ultimate consumers. Universitys complain that Students seeking places with as many as six, or more A levels, at A grade( a supposed sure sign of educational achivement) show little, or no ability to engage in original thinking, or critique, useful qualities, one would assume in undergraduates. testing within ever narrower bands has become the norm. Its little wonder that Corperations couldn't believe their luck when Education authorities invited them in to help run these hollowed out environments. What a catchment area to to sell your Brands to the next Generation of uncritical consumers. As a mark of their truimph a sign should be hung outside every School. "LEAVE ALL CRITICAL THINKING EQUIPMENT OUTSIDE, AND PREPAIR TO EMBRACE THE IDEOLOGY OF THE MARKET." And following on from this.

ANTI INTELLECTUALISM. Amongst certain sections of Society anti intellectualism, or anti learning, a kind of worship of ignorance has taken hold like a fever. the infected wear their stupidiity like a badge of honour, in other words, so alienating has the process of Education become to many, that they chose to remain uneducated and infantilised, and for this Society pays a heavy price in wasted talent, crime and mental illness. if you are so minded as to regard everthing only in terms of price ask yourself this, how much is this costing taxpayers, victims of crime and health services. A mind empty of the joys of education ends up brutalising itself, or others, and as the jails and Psychiatric hospitals fill the price, in any way you wish to regard it, goes stratospheric.

There are many other factors we could consider. Reality TV, the vicious dumbing down of all sections of the media, Politicians constantly playing to the populist gallery, the perversion of Feminism, into a shallow ladette culture, which openly seeks to imitate the worst aspects of Male behaviour, and ends up calling pole dancing liberation, A film industry which places special effects above narrative, plot and characterisation.

These are some of the reasons an ever increasing percentage of Adults act, and think in an infantile, selfish manner. Unable to contemplate anything other than the limp, meaningless satisfaction of their immediate wants. Perfect dumbed down childults for an aquisitive base system. So is this the natural consiquence of the truimph of greed over equality, or,even more worryingly, a deliberate attempt at Social engineering, and hence, a conspiracy?

Stephen-

This is an outstanding essay.

I will give more detailed input later, but thanks for the reading material.

Chris

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My sister is a prof. at the Art Institute of Chicago she has taught there and at Northwestern since the mid 90’s. When I visited her a few years ago she and some of her colleagues complained that student’s parents would regularly call them up to complain about poor grades and sometimes even came to visit them personally -something quite unusual a few years earlier and unheard when they or I were in college.

To me the idea of a college student getting their mom or dad to complain to a prof seems bizarre. If I'd asked them for such help they probably would have told me I wasn't kid and should have studied harder. I think my mom stopped interceding on my behalf at school when I was about 13.

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Very good article Steve:

INSTANT COMMUNICATION Mainly via mobile(cell) phones, and the internet. Whilst on its face these are positive Human advances, their very instancy causes many users to develope an aversion to delayed gratification, when, for what ever reason, these demands are not met instantly it can lead to anger and depression in the individual, which at its most extreme can cause an atomisation of real World community, as events that were once shared become ever more individualitic, and by extention, narcissistic.

It used to be said that doing well at school and university was based on the idea of "deferred gratification". The idea being that education was not very pleasant but if you were willing to defer gratification you would be rewarded by good exam grades and as a result get you a well paid job in the future. This was considered to be a "middle-class" trait and was one of the reasons why working-class kids did badly in education because they did not have "faith" in the future.

Instant gratification is now an important factor in our society. Living on credit is part of this. My working-class parents brought me up not to take credit. Their idea was that you saved for something before buying it. That has stayed with me all my life and I still do not own a credit card. Getting a mortgage for the first-time caused me real psychological difficulties. The same was true of my wife who came from a similar "respectable" working-class background.

It is the needs of capitalism that has changed the personalities of people in the West. It is interesting to note that the only people who save a significant proportion of their income are the Chinese. A lot of that money is invested in US stocks and shares. That is why Bush asked the Chinese government to help save AIG and Morgan Stanley.

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Guest Stephen Turner

Thank you Chris. Len, same here, from about the age of twelve I was largely expected to sort my own problems out, and from sixteen was considered to be wage earning adult. John, our backgrounds are very similar, as you say "respectible working class" I too have no credit card, to my maternal Grandmother such things were the work of the Devil. Plus my Socialist background has taught me to regard Banks with a very jaundiced eye, pretty smart as things have turned out.

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Guest Stephen Turner

here

Twenty years ago, an undergraduates choice of university was largely guided by two variables, were the courses on offer applicable to their needs and accademic qualifications, and far more important, was it as far away from Parental authority figures as possible. But with the advent of "Helicopter parents" (so called because they ceaselessly hover over their adult offspring) the later consideration has been turned on its head, with many attending a University as close to home as possible, so Parents can continue in the nurturing role, with some going as far as to act as unpaid PRs for their darlings, argueing with tutors over grades, phoning them off sick, and arranging, and even attending Campus job interviews.

And its not just Students who are displaying a worringly child like state of dependancy. Witness the need for instant gratification being displayed by ever larger numbers of childults(Child/adults) which if not instantly met leads to infantilised temper tantrums, and increasing displays of violent behaviour, road rage, fist fights at sales, and Parental abuse of referees at Junior sporting events. Alied to these are , inabilty to concentrate, short attention span, over consumption of "comfort foods" leading to a Western epidemic of obesity, the need to seek blame, and redress, and most distrubingly, the inability/ unwillingness to feel/ show empathy for others.

It may help to understand this infantile debasement of our Western societies if we can identify its causes. Here are some that I belive are the main causitive agents.

INSTANT COMMUNICATIONMainly via mobile(cell) phones, and the internet. Whilst on its face these are positive Human advances, their very instancy causes many users to develope an aversion to delayed gratification, when, for what ever reason, these demands are not met instantly it can lead to anger and depression in the individual, which at its most extreme can cause an atomisation of real World community, as events that were once shared become ever more individualitic, and by extention, narcissistic..

FEAR OF THE OTHER. From Paedophiles to terrorists, hooded youths to bad neighbours we are told that our World is a dangerous place, Tabloid newspapers use this as a staple diet to drip feed fear and suspicion into the populace, its also unrivaled at shifting copy. This has the effect of crippling those most basic elements of Human nature, trust and empathy. The fact for instance, that most sex offenders are known to their victims is seldom given prominence, facts, in our modern World, are subordinateted to feelings, and feelins, unlike facts, are easily manipulated.

CITIZENS BECOME CONSUMERS The basic action of a consumer is one of passivity, only becoming active when their individual consumers rights(an oxymoron if ever there was one) become violated, but even this is semi passive, acted out between the individual consumer and the Company, with sometimes a mediating agent. the relationship between the consumer, and the supplier ie in essence childlike, yet one for which the person pays in hard cash.

The Citizen is the complete reversal of this passive relationship. The Citizen needs to be active and alert, and willing to hold power to account. In other words to act as a mature empowered adult, as opposed to an immature, disempowered Child. Guess which role Governments and Corperations prefer?

THE CULT OF CELEBRITY. Or, as it should more correctly be termed, Passive voyeurism. This "relationship", twice removed at best achives the impossible in that it makes the consumer feel both inferior, and superior to the object AT ONE AND THE SAME TIME! This is psychologically toxic to both and can, and does, lead to mental illness, suicide, and in extreme cases murder. Hysteria surrounding celebrity's is not a new phenomina, but its modern extension into a full blown economy is.

THE NARROWING OF EDUCATION TO REFLECT OBDIENCE AND RESULTS, NOT KNOWLEDGE. As this is a site for educators I shall attempt to tread carefully here. Top down. The Government, and various agencies, some Public some private decide on every nut and bolt of what shall be taught, and in what way, the teacher, constraigned professionaly, passes this this, Government approved gruel down to Students whose only role is to commit it to memory, and spew it out again in exam after exam. In this Students have become the ultimate consumers. Universitys complain that Students seeking places with as many as six, or more A levels, at A grade( a supposed sure sign of educational achivement) show little, or no ability to engage in original thinking, or critique, useful qualities, one would assume in undergraduates. testing within ever narrower bands has become the norm. Its little wonder that Corperations couldn't believe their luck when Education authorities invited them in to help run these hollowed out environments. What a catchment area to to sell your Brands to the next Generation of uncritical consumers. As a mark of their truimph a sign should be hung outside every School. "LEAVE ALL CRITICAL THINKING EQUIPMENT OUTSIDE, AND PREPAIR TO EMBRACE THE IDEOLOGY OF THE MARKET." And following on from this.

ANTI INTELLECTUALISM. Amongst certain sections of Society anti intellectualism, or anti learning, a kind of worship of ignorance has taken hold like a fever. the infected wear their stupidiity like a badge of honour, in other words, so alienating has the process of Education become to many, that they chose to remain uneducated and infantilised, and for this Society pays a heavy price in wasted talent, crime and mental illness. if you are so minded as to regard everthing only in terms of price ask yourself this, how much is this costing taxpayers, victims of crime and health services. A mind empty of the joys of education ends up brutalising itself, or others, and as the jails and Psychiatric hospitals fill the price, in any way you wish to regard it, goes stratospheric.

There are many other factors we could consider. Reality TV, the vicious dumbing down of all sections of the media, Politicians constantly playing to the populist gallery, the perversion of Feminism, into a shallow ladette culture, which openly seeks to imitate the worst aspects of Male behaviour, and ends up calling pole dancing liberation, A film industry which places special effects above narrative, plot and characterisation.

These are some of the reasons an ever increasing percentage of Adults act, and think in an infantile, selfish manner. Unable to contemplate anything other than the limp, meaningless satisfaction of their immediate wants. Perfect dumbed down childults for an aquisitive base system. So is this the natural consiquence of the truimph of greed over equality, or,even more worryingly, a deliberate attempt at Social engineering, and hence, a conspiracy?

I want to try and answer my own question, is this a conspiracy? That first thing to say is conspiracy or not, the Childult is the perfect human state for free market capitalism, de-skilled, avoricious, impatient, self obsessed, poor attention span and constantly seeking both attention and new toys to play with. Spend just a few minutes watching TV adverts and see how they reflect, and encourge this infantile state. "because you're worth it" "Why choose, have it all" "Lets learn how to drive for fun again" "Mums and Dads need playtime too" and so on. the question here though is the old one, Chicken or Egg. are advertisers playing on a pre existing Social phenomina, or did they help to bring it about? I believe the answer is both. advanced technology has made most peoples lives easier, physically at least, and, as already discussed, the cult of the new philistine, mistrust of education, is well established. it appears to me that Business, and Government, whilst not wholly responsible for this, have decided to use it to their advantage. In the West we no longer have a past, or a future, just a NOW!! people are encouraged to live for the moment, and to hell with either future implications, or learning a lesson from history, how else could our present finacial armeggedon have come about? The twin mantra's of this hedonistic experiment are, "Have it all now" and "To hell with anyone else" you could also perhaps add a third. "F*** the future generations"

CELEBRITY AS ROLEMODEL.

As I have already mentioned, perhaps the most toxic aspect of this is the worship, and hatered of the celebrity class, and I use the word class meaningfully, and not as a joke. Our relationship with, and aspiration to be become one of the new Olympians has spawned a whole new industry, from the traditional film stars, sportspeople, musicians etc, who were usually famous, initially at least, for possessing at a modicum of talent, or charisma, to the present crop of fame addled junkies who in most cases are amoung the worst possible role models, and appear to be famous because...well their famous, and this is where it gets poisonous. its one thing to look up to an Olympic gold medal winner, or a famous musician or actor, in the past People did this realising that they didn't have the talent to become one. But different rules apply today, anyone, with a bit of luck, can become a star of reality television, or given the right looks, and image a member of a boy, or girl band. One of the saddest polls of recent years asked a thousand British School Children the old staple,What do you want to do when you leave School, the largest number, some twenty percent said, FAMOUS, and whats more they didn't care what for, fame and money were all that interested, or motivated them. And why not, the rewards, material at least, are hugh, and every glossy magazine contains the double bind message, "these People are better than you, these People are worse that you, you should aspire to join them"

Edited by Stephen Turner
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Twenty years ago, an undergraduates choice of university was largely guided by two variables, were the courses on offer applicable to their needs and accademic qualifications, and far more important, was it as far away from Parental authority figures as possible. But with the advent of "Helicopter parents" (so called because they ceaselessly hover over their adult offspring) the later consideration has been turned on its head, with many attending a University as close to home as possible, so Parents can continue in the nurturing role, with some going as far as to act as unpaid PRs for their darlings, argueing with tutors over grades, phoning them off sick, and arranging, and even attending Campus job interviews.

And its not just Students who are displaying a worringly child like state of dependancy. Witness the need for instant gratification being displayed by ever larger numbers of childults(Child/adults) which if not instantly met leads to infantilised temper tantrums, and increasing displays of violent behaviour, road rage, fist fights at sales, and Parental abuse of referees at Junior sporting events. Alied to these are , inabilty to concentrate, short attention span, over consumption of "comfort foods" leading to a Western epidemic of obesity, the need to seek blame, and redress, and most distrubingly, the inability/ unwillingness to feel/ show empathy for others.

It may help to understand this infantile debasement of our Western societies if we can identify its causes. Here are some that I belive are the main causitive agents.

INSTANT COMMUNICATIONMainly via mobile(cell) phones, and the internet. Whilst on its face these are positive Human advances, their very instancy causes many users to develope an aversion to delayed gratification, when, for what ever reason, these demands are not met instantly it can lead to anger and depression in the individual, which at its most extreme can cause an atomisation of real World community, as events that were once shared become ever more individualitic, and by extention, narcissistic..

This is on the money. Going away (as in far away) to school permitted me to learn to live on my own, talking to my parents no more than once a week. Having parents smother students, to assist them in interpreting every fork in the road of the academic workday, certainly seems foolish and counter-productive to me. I see a lot of middle age people who are still financially dependent on their parents.

FEAR OF THE OTHER. From Paedophiles to terrorists, hooded youths to bad neighbours we are told that our World is a dangerous place, Tabloid newspapers use this as a staple diet to drip feed fear and suspicion into the populace, its also unrivaled at shifting copy. This has the effect of crippling those most basic elements of Human nature, trust and empathy. The fact for instance, that most sex offenders are known to their victims is seldom given prominence, facts, in our modern World, are subordinateted to feelings, and feelins, unlike facts, are easily manipulated.

The world is a dangerous place, and that is why it is imperative, as a citizen, to learn to protect oneself. How one achieves that objective depends on his or her choice of means of defense. I teach self-defense to people I love and care for. A keen eye, alertness and the will to resist are the most important components of self-defense. Guns and knives are simply instruments.

I really like your distinction between facts and feelings. Facts are always accurate, while feelings can mislead us.

CITIZENS BECOME CONSUMERS The basic action of a consumer is one of passivity, only becoming active when their individual consumers rights(an oxymoron if ever there was one) become violated, but even this is semi passive, acted out between the individual consumer and the Company, with sometimes a mediating agent. the relationship between the consumer, and the supplier ie in essence childlike, yet one for which the person pays in hard cash.

The Citizen is the complete reversal of this passive relationship. The Citizen needs to be active and alert, and willing to hold power to account. In other words to act as a mature empowered adult, as opposed to an immature, disempowered Child. Guess which role Governments and Corperations prefer?

Your summary of the distinction between a consumer and a citizen is also critical. The insidious effect of marketing and lobbying on our behavior and personal finances is overwhelming, but only because we permit their effects to shape and mold our values. We vote on our elected officials in local, state and Federal elections, but, ironically, what goes on on Madison Avenue (marketing) and K Street (lobbying) has a far greater impact on us than what goes on in Congress and at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Most people are far more familiar with "Just do it!" or the latest McDonalds or beer slogan than "Give me liberty or give me death" and similar important credos which should govern our lives.

THE CULT OF CELEBRITY. Or, as it should more correctly be termed, Passive voyeurism. This "relationship", twice removed at best achives the impossible in that it makes the consumer feel both inferior, and superior to the object AT ONE AND THE SAME TIME! This is psychologically toxic to both and can, and does, lead to mental illness, suicide, and in extreme cases murder. Hysteria surrounding celebrity's is not a new phenomina, but its modern extension into a full blown economy is.

Hours spent vicariously living the drama of someone else's life are hours spent that one can spend serving his or her own purpose in life. And I like the term "passive voyeurism", because reading many newsstand magazines is analogous to going to a freak show at a carnival. The truly sad aspect of the cult of celebrity, though, is that many people appear to not only obtain entertainment (e.g. film, sports, music, etc.) from celebrities, but also their values, as they may appear and change from time-to-time.

THE NARROWING OF EDUCATION TO REFLECT OBDIENCE AND RESULTS, NOT KNOWLEDGE. As this is a site for educators I shall attempt to tread carefully here. Top down. The Government, and various agencies, some Public some private decide on every nut and bolt of what shall be taught, and in what way, the teacher, constraigned professionaly, passes this this, Government approved gruel down to Students whose only role is to commit it to memory, and spew it out again in exam after exam. In this Students have become the ultimate consumers. Universitys complain that Students seeking places with as many as six, or more A levels, at A grade( a supposed sure sign of educational achivement) show little, or no ability to engage in original thinking, or critique, useful qualities, one would assume in undergraduates. testing within ever narrower bands has become the norm. Its little wonder that Corperations couldn't believe their luck when Education authorities invited them in to help run these hollowed out environments. What a catchment area to to sell your Brands to the next Generation of uncritical consumers. As a mark of their truimph a sign should be hung outside every School. "LEAVE ALL CRITICAL THINKING EQUIPMENT OUTSIDE, AND PREPAIR TO EMBRACE THE IDEOLOGY OF THE MARKET." And following on from this.

ANTI INTELLECTUALISM. Amongst certain sections of Society anti intellectualism, or anti learning, a kind of worship of ignorance has taken hold like a fever. the infected wear their stupidiity like a badge of honour, in other words, so alienating has the process of Education become to many, that they chose to remain uneducated and infantilised, and for this Society pays a heavy price in wasted talent, crime and mental illness. if you are so minded as to regard everthing only in terms of price ask yourself this, how much is this costing taxpayers, victims of crime and health services. A mind empty of the joys of education ends up brutalising itself, or others, and as the jails and Psychiatric hospitals fill the price, in any way you wish to regard it, goes stratospheric.

There are many other factors we could consider. Reality TV, the vicious dumbing down of all sections of the media, Politicians constantly playing to the populist gallery, the perversion of Feminism, into a shallow ladette culture, which openly seeks to imitate the worst aspects of Male behaviour, and ends up calling pole dancing liberation, A film industry which places special effects above narrative, plot and characterisation.

These are some of the reasons an ever increasing percentage of Adults act, and think in an infantile, selfish manner. Unable to contemplate anything other than the limp, meaningless satisfaction of their immediate wants. Perfect dumbed down childults for an aquisitive base system. So is this the natural consiquence of the truimph of greed over equality, or,even more worryingly, a deliberate attempt at Social engineering, and hence, a conspiracy?

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