Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Allergic to What?

Finally, the other shoe drops on the nuttiness (pun allowed) of certain tony private schools and some public ones in tony locations where no parent can bring in cupcakes anymore, and peanut butter is outlawed. Well, of course peanut butter should be outlawed. It's a known carcinogen! Just not in airplanes.

These are the places where falling short of perfection requires medical investigation, and where it's presumed healthy to hover eternally over your kids for their sake. Anything short of some earthly approximation of paradise for kids in these places is to be eradicated like a disease bug. And heaven forfend that they be warehoused in daycare while parents work.

Play dates might spread a different kind of competitive germ, though. Transmitted among parents and with no immunity in sight.

Oh please may my daughter get in to Yale. But there are crazies out there who actually think that immunizations cause autism. The same ones who believe that GWB and company brought down the trade towers? And just what does divide those of us who rely on scientifically validated medical advice, from those who mistrust everything coming from some sanctioned, as opposed to sanctified, authority?

Could this be it, then? A litmus test, a quasi-scientific way to determine what it is that makes those who love Sarah Palin also hate gay marriage, public schooling, evolution, and immunization? That makes wealthy liberal types certain that their little princeling could do so much better if peanuts were avoided. Look for the allergic reaction and you will find it. Or could we all be overgeneralizing?

Fussy allergies makes you a hard-headed realist about food, while conspiracy theories make you an extremist wacko. Ah, but certainly it is true that information proliferates like a virus and will soon overwhelm our ability to assimilate. We need machines to sort it all out; to predigest the stuff our brains will feed on.  And these machines are, of course, the very paragon of hard-headed neutrality of opinion. Maybe it's information we are overdosed with, and we need hookworms in our thinking to even take our first mental step away from indigestion and inflammation.

Or do we have entirely the wrong notion of what it is that constitutes intelligence? Perhaps there is no equation between man and machine and bits of information. Other than the fact that we relinquish so much of our prerogative to our tools. Perhaps you can't increase the number of words in common usage any more than you can over-elaborate the mind beyond its physical substrate.

Wouldn't it be funny if it turns out that the mind can shape and bring to our attention only so much signal from among the noise, and that the proliferation of so-called "information" is in fact driving us back down the ladder of civilization toward some kind of beastly dumbness?

Well, not so funny really. The proper response to being expected to be a superstar is to shut down and refuse any further input. To show an allergic reaction of the mind. Or perhaps to become like Sarah Palin or Paris Hilton or Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or any of the seeming hordes of well-placed attention-magnets who snap at certainties or claim the right of celebrity without any more foundation in their prominence than a lizard in the sun. Sitting on a rock. I'm just sayin'.


Anonymous said...

Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.