More entertainment makes Americans less intelligent

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by peilthetraveler, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. I have currently been reading the autobiography of Ben Franklin and I am now reading about when he started his library project and when it really started taking off in other towns and he said something interesting....

    ...reading became fashionable, and our people having no public amusements to divert their attention from study, became better aquainted with books and in a few years were observed by strangers to be better instructed and more intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in other countries.

    Today Americans are very distracted by so many forms of entertainment that they have no interest in learning new things and those that do have trouble staying focused on a subject because there is something interesting on TV, or they want to play a game on facebook. Even if they are away from the entertainment in thier homes, they still bring portable entertainment with them. When I drive by people sitting at the bus stop, 90% of them are listening to ipods, playing a game on their cell phones or using a portable game system like Nintendo DS. I rarely see people reading books out in public. The few people I do see reading books are reading the variety that are for entertainment and offer no educational value. They read King, Koontz, or whatever is the current "bestseller" that week for the entertainment value of the book.

    We keep complaining that our schools need more money or better teachers, but I believe we need neither. We are at a point in our society where entertainment is not going to go away. It will keep Americans in general "dumbed down" and anyone that wants to excel will need to do so of his own accord and resist the temptations of entertainment.

    Franklin had listed 13 virtues for improving ones Character which you will likely notice, the majority of our youth today does not possess.

    1."TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation."
    2."SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation."
    3."ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time."
    4."RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve."
    5."FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing."
    6."INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions."
    7."SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly."
    8."JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty."
    9."MODERATION. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve."
    10."CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation."
    11."TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable."
    12."CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation."
    13."HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates."

    I think the only way to improve the intelligence of the people of our country is to improve their character and teach these virtues in public schools and make children practice them until they become habit,the same way good old ben franklin did to improve his character which made him the man he was.
  2. Forget it Piel,

    What you witness is by design, and as we are now into the second generation of this mental sloth, there will be no going back.

    Bread and circuses.......

    Its works great for crowd control. The shapers of this world made a fundamental error in France, which led to revolution.

    They have been careful not the make the error of allowing the masses to focus on any one thing at any one time again.
  3. Interesting thread.

    --20% of americans believe the sun revolves around the earth.

    -- A study in 2007 found that 80% of american families didnot buy or read a book in 2006

    -- attention spans are declining dramatically

    But I think Asian (chinese) and Indian (from India) americans are doing really well and seem to be going in the other direction. As much as 40% of all students in Ivy league universities are now Chinease or indian americans. I noticed that most of the spelling bee contests are now being won by Indian Americans.
  4. Great insight. I agree.

    As far as Ben's list of virtues and misc other character/motivational booyahs are nothing more than posters hanging on various walls in schools or offices. People are clueless on what the words mean or how to apply them.
  5. this coming from a guy who believes in biblical creationism and that the earth is 6000 years old. too funny.
  6. Nice list of virtues, but then there's this, drunkard, pimp, gun runner. Don't we all have a little shit in our game?

    Criminal Endeavors
    Franklin began early in his printing career by printing up British money, stamping out Pound Sterling on an internal metallurgical press. However, he quickly expanded into other world currencies and document forgeries, including the Magna Carta and love letters from King George to Louis XIII. Other notable printings included racy publications such as "Bennie Franklin's Olde English Guide to Sexual Independence", and more practical items such as "Poor Richard's Almanac", a collection of superstition and ramblings from when Franklin had a bit too much to drink.

    As a secondary business during this time, Franklin was involved in a prostitution ring. Little is written down of this venture, but much evidence is in existence from paintings of him during the era.

    Over time through a ruthless combination of feral violence and steely resolve, Franklin controlled more and more of the New England Crime Syndicate, and cornered the market on illegal tea smuggling and stamps. King George, realizing that he was losing control of the tea trade business, attempted to undercut Franklin's tea gains and sent several boats full of tea into the Boston Harbor under cover of darkness. However, Franklin was quite ready for this attempt at fair trade and sent a number of goons to dump the tea into the harbor and break the legs of the captains and crew.

    Franklin, realizing the King would strike back with extreme force, managed to propagandize the entire episode into a mangled cry of "No Taxation Without Representation", which seemed to appeal to the citizens of the American Colony. Rumblings of revolution began to spread throughout the colonies. Thomas Jefferson, a contemporary colonial leader, attempted to defuse the episode and bring the two sides together peacefully. To pull off this polite attempt at reconciliation, the genteel Mr. Jefferson held a small get-together with cucumber sandwiches and teacakes, later termed the Boston Tea Party. Unfortunately, Jefferson bungled the choice of tea, leading to riots and the eventual Boston Massacre.

    The entire episode benefitted Benjamin Franklin greatly, as he hired out mercenaries and sold muskets to the players on both sides of the conflict.
  7. Benjamin Franklin, Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress (1745).

    June 25, 1745

    My dear Friend,

    I know of no Medicine fit to diminish the violent natural Inclinations you mention; and if I did, I think I should not communicate it to you. Marriage is the proper Remedy. It is the most natural State of Man, and therefore the State in which you are most likely to find solid Happiness. Your Reasons against entering into it at present, appear to me not well-founded. The circumstantial Advantages you have in View by postponing it, are not only uncertain, but they are small in comparison with that of the Thing itself, the being married and settled. It is the Man and Woman united that make the compleat human Being. Separate, she wants his Force of Body and Strength of Reason; he, her Softness, Sensibility and acute Discernment. Together they are more likely to succeed in the World. A single Man has not nearly the Value he would have in that State of Union. He is an incomplete Animal. He resembles the odd Half of a Pair of Scissars. If you get a prudent healthy Wife, your Industry in your Profession, with her good Economy, will be a Fortune sufficient.

    But if you will not take this Counsel, and persist in thinking a Commerce with the Sex inevitable, then I repeat my former Advice, that in all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones. You call this a Paradox, and demand my Reasons. They are these:

    i. Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stor'd with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreable.

    2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do a 1000 Services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old Woman who is not a good Woman.

    3. Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produc'd may be attended with much Inconvenience.

    4. Because thro' more Experience, they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather inclin'd to excuse an old Woman who would kindly take care of a young Man, form his Manners by her good Counsels, and prevent his ruining his Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.

    5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding2 only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.

    6. Because the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her for Life unhappy.

    7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy.

    8thly and Lastly They are so grateful!!

    Thus much for my Paradox. But still I advise you to marry directly; being sincerely Your affectionate Friend.
  8. Franklin was a printer by trade and it was independant printers that were often called upon to print paper money for the public. He printed money but did not do so illegally.

    I cant believe your evidence for him running a prostitution ring is a painting. I once saw a painting of dogs playing poker...I guess that means there is evidence that dogs can be trained to play poker.

    I guess some people just get so jealous when a man has great success that they will come up with anything to discredit him.
  9. You should work on virtue #2 until you can learn to add something valuable to the conversation.
  10. sorry in my old age i dont suffer fools lightly. i call a spade a spade. sombody like you whining about dumbed down america is the height of hyprocisy.
    tell me again how you believe man was created. you believe some greyhaired old guy in the sky picked up a handfull of dirt and turned it into a man. dumbed down indeed.
    #10     Aug 27, 2010