Do we also prefer effortless entertainment to critical thought? Thus, we give up our freedom to think at all.
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I think we still value critical thought. I watch my students in class when one of their classmates give a particularly insightful answer, and there is always appreciation in their eyes and in their comments. However, I think we are less and less equipped to exercise critical thought, due in part to the trend of "effortless entertainment" in our society. Fewer and fewer of my students read for recreation as the years go by, and fewer and fewer say they read the newspaper. These forms of entertainment and information are being replaced in their lives by things that provide quick bursts of entertainment and require little processing. So, when it comes time to use those critical thinking skills, fewer and fewer students have confidence in their abilities to do so.
In the introduction to "Brave New World," Huxley himself has stated that the concern of his novel is the effect that science would have upon the human being. This concern is one that science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury also has in such stories as "There Will Come Soft Rains"; in addition, author Kurt Vonnegut dealt with this very theme in his short story "Harrison Bergeron" in which people are made to wear handicaps so that they would all be "equal." If a person is highly intelligent, he/she is made to wear a headset that sends interfering waves to counter and cancel the thought.
This concern on the part of these authors seems viable nowadays in which society's greatest desire is to be entertained rather than struggle with "depressing" issues and thoughts. Witness the sound bytes of the media which knows that Americans will digest only bits of information. News programs now contain presentations formerly relegated to soap operas and entertainment news programs. The "human interest" article takes precedence over political issues at times.
On night time TV, the Jay Leno Show has a spot called "Jay Walking" in which Mr. Leno interviews people at random on the streets of different cities. When he shows them photographs of politically famous people and asks them to identify them, many cannot. If he asks a question about history or current events, the person being asks stutters and is unable to answer the basic question. This certainly seems to indicate the lack of education in the true sense which involves critical thinking.
Yes we all prefer effortless entertainment to critical thought? But not all the time. There are times when we seek challenges and there are time when we want to relax. There was and still exist common belief among responsible that people in general are lazy and they avoid challenges and responsibility. But sociologists and management experts have now explained that human beings also seek challenges and responsibilities.
One good source to get more information on this issue is to read about the concept of Theory 'X' and 'Y' explained by Douglas McGregor. McGregor presents the Theory 'X' as the misconception people hold about nature of people. This includes the misconception that people always avoid work. Against this, McGregor present the real situation as theory 'Y', which among other thing states that people like to make efforts and accept responsibility under appropriate conditions.
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