Today’s generation is healthier, wealthier and better educated than the previous ones, mainly because of the improvement in infrastructure and economy. But having access to such immense knowledge and expertise has made us intellectual or has the increasing lack of values pushed us to become stupid? 

It is time to rethink certain assumptions we have about intelligence and ignorance. 

How Have We Entered The Age Of Stupid?

No, this is not a self-fulfilling question, because we are already in the age of stupid. The better question would be, how and when did we unintentionally enter this era?

People have been stupid before, but the main difference between then, and now is that today stupidity is considered mainstream and cool. 

You must have heard your elders using the phrase “kids these days.” Partly because for the millennials, acts like not capitalising the words is a grammatical error and not something cool; or making videos that literally make no sense is trendy today. 

Scatterbrained people, who earlier would never have been given the leadership floor, are exercising power today.

Institutions that impart knowledge have been the traditional sources of attracting people who have the thirst to learn and the desire to excel. However, there has been a drop in the quality of institutional leadership across different regions.

According to Global Leadership Forecast, a report by DDI (Development Dimensions International), a human resource and leadership development consultancy, only 12% of organisations have a strong leadership bench, a low number that has declined over the past decade.

This is because there’s a lack of integrity, morality and courage which has negatively affected the intellectual outcomes of these institutions. 

In the same vein, today academic institutions are unable to keep pace with the changing times and scenarios, due to stubborn and tedious bureaucratic processes and traditional practices. The lack of proper and apt representation has made them lose their credibility. 

For example, why is it that the employment rate of doctors is much better than that of engineers? One of the reasons is that engineers spend years with their books and gain theoretical knowledge and are unable to lay their hands on the practical aspect of it whereas that is not the case for doctors.

In contrast, MBBS colleges are always located close to hospitals. The students are made to see most surgeries and are also given postings in the Operation theatre, allowing them to practise what they actually learn. 

With students running after sheer academic excellence, passion, and thirst for knowledge have been lost on us.

The problem, despite holding so much importance, is going unnoticed. And thanks to social media, the problem has only been exacerbated. 

Social media, besides having supposedly zillion benefits, has not been able to fill this vacuum of intellectual authority. 

While our parents blindly trust every WhatsApp and Facebook message, we are running after unfounded gospels of influencers on Instagram. 

Still unbelievable? Remember the lockdown during Covid times? When people were embracing the idea that vaccinations are part of a giant global conspiracy to take control of our minds using micro-implants and 5G. This is the proof backing up the claims mentioned above. If anything, social media has only worsened the spread of misinformation, further enlarging the vacuum for intellectual authority.

The ad-hoc nature of social media does not demand straining our brains with critical thinking, but constant visibility. Talk whatever, but just talk. This is the unsaid manifesto of the Internet.

The celebrities that the GenZ are so in love with are not representatives looking to stand up to institutions or create a counterculture. Rather they are a part of the very same social media influencers telling us what to buy, what to do and what to use. 

This is how we are following the invisible book of stupidity.

Also Read: Indian Youngsters Are Giving Up The Hustle Culture And Adopting This Instead

How To Come Out Of This?

To come out of the age of being stupid, we first need to identify the root cause – why we are into it, and then try to eliminate these blocks from our lives. 

For example, the degradation of shared values has made the demarcation between what is right and wrong difficult. In fact, the ends-justify-means culture in which the wrongs people do are absolutely free from societal repudiation and are rather admired till the time it is leading to success is even more dangerous. This has influenced and motivated people to indulge in this culture.

The pervasion of this idea goes hand-in-hand with the sense that leadership positions are just a vehicle for personal reputation and enjoyment instead of channelling any responsibility for the greater good. 

Let us understand this from the grassroots level. Remember, during our school days, when we got the golden opportunity of becoming the ‘Monitor’ of the class? How many of us were satisfied because of the popularity and attention we got and forgot the duty and responsibility that came with it?

Supporting our friends and hiding their mistakes, while we were supposed to be objective and do the right thing, seemed to be a very small thing. This is where we might get used to it. It is dangerous because today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. 

The goal of winning power has today taken a higher position over intelligence and honesty. To really get out of this age, we need to rectify the way institutions select and promote leaders.

Sub-par leadership occurs because institutional leaders are elected not on their moral courage or finesse, but rather in a calculated attempt to carefully delegate in the hands of a few chosen ones. 

Regrettably, the ones who possess the skill of navigating the internal power structure and manipulating institutional processes become the winners. 

Another thing that needs to be fixed is the intellectual bar which has been lowered today because of those leaders chosen by power factions who aim to propagate a particular point of view instead of engaging with multiple perspectives. Intellectual stagnation, illiberalism and the suppression of dissent are the outputs of this. 

Polarisation of politics and fragmentation of media has created a situation wherein stupid ideas by genuinely stupid people are influencing and shaping the minds of the ones it reaches. Money and power are backing this and there is no value judgement on the quality of what is being said or done as long as it is serving the main purpose of the increased engagement of the backing authority. 

Real careers have been enabled on the back of nonsense while also giving nonsense mainstream rightfulness in society. 

How long can we survive with this spinelessness? Where will the decline in the quality of discourse and lack of internal questioning take us? It has already taken us into the age of stupidity, but the continuation of it will take our generations and their generations further into it. Self-realisation and leadership management are the medicines to this disease.

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Indian Express, Research Gate, ABC Net

Find the blogger: Unusha Ahmad

This post is tagged under: stupid, ignorance, values, culture, institution, GenZ, economy, DDI, MBBS

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, or copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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