Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Heart of the Problem

I think I've figured it out. The underlying mental quirk behind the deprecation of expertise, the unearned superiority, the "my-gut-beats-your-book-learning", the snark impulse, the do-it-yourself reality and the all-American assumption that each of us is the measure of all that is true and right can be traced to two adolescent assumptions, both epidemic and both unconscious:

1. Spotting stupidity makes me superior.

2. My agreement makes me your equal. Resonance with any chunk of the thinking of, say, a Gandhi or an Einstein confirms that I'm firmly on their level.

This is the ultimate outcome of late-stage consumerism. While consumerism isn't quite synonymous with narcissism, it definitely leans that way once it fully metastasizes.

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