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by devnym

Like Alice in Wonderland’s
Tweedledum and Tweedledee, we
are so absorbed with the minutiae
of our society – celebrity springs
to mind – that we have abnegated
our intellectual responsibilities to
ourselves, and more importantly,
our kids. Think for goodness sake,
or take what you are given.
by Marla Sheridan

Most of us start feeding ourselves when we’re toddlers. By the time we start school, we can dress ourselves and tie our own shoes. But at some point between the glorious innocence of youth and puberty, we morph from real, living, thinking human beings into brain-less zombies, capable only of spewing forth the half-digested viscera that is public opinion and popular culture. It’s Like a real-life horror story about alien forces taking over humanity, except we’re doing it to ourselves.

“In my opinion…” How many times a day do we hear this phrase, or say it ourselves? It’s become one of those meaningless phrases like, “no offense,but,” and, “in all honesty,” a preface to another sentence that is actually the exact opposite. It seems like no one has an opinion anymore, and if they do, it’s simply regurgitated from some-one or somewhere else. Our ability to figure things out on our own is severely hampered by an ever-increasing influx of information, carefully crafted and manufactured from the media and our increasingly shameless consumer centric society.

Today, you can access information on anything at any time. Need to find out what you should be wearing on Friday night? Curious about which of your high school classmates got fat?Wondering what color panties (if any) Miley Cyrus was wearing to the club last night? It’s all right there for you, as long as you have an Internet connection. It’s reasonable that we gather a lot of our information on current events from such sources as newspapers and books, even blogs and social networking sites. But when we are taking talk shows, Wikipedia, and Twitter as gospel, we are no longer worried about the validity (or relevance) of the information we are using.

Our affinity for being told what to do and think isn’t new – just look at religion. Look at politics. Look at high school! Since the beginning of time,we’ve carved guidance and direction and the freedom of not having to think for ourselves. We’re like lemmings in leggings and Ugg boots – just as ready to step over the edge as any mindless mammal.

Of course, there are practical reasons for not having our own opinions. Because we humans live and work to-gether, there are certain rules that must be followed to maintain order.Societal rules that used to be born of discussion and instinct are now coming from altogether disturbing sources:Hollywood tells us what we should look like to be appealing to one anoth-er; talk shows and gossip blogs tell us what we should be interested in so we can have informed conversations with others. And it’s true. We need a certain amount of that “follow the herd”mentality for life to run smoothly. But why have we let groups with the least interest in our well-being become our advisors? Simply because modern life has allowed us to become lazy, in both body and mind. We would rather be fed shit than have to go out and forage on our own.

And so we become walking advertisements. We become another face in the crowd with our head down,following the feet in front of us. We Welcome the distraction and numbness that it brings. And we can blame“the man” all day long, but growing up in a media-obsessed world, we’re not blind to how it works. We know cur-rent events and trends are fed to us through channels with their own motives; we’re given information that will encourage us to think a certain way,to buy a certain product. The scariest part is that we know this, and go along with it anyway. We’ve accepted our roles as passive consumer drones. Are Our lives so miserable that we would give them up completely, replacing them with reality TV and celebrity sex tapes? Wasn’t there a time when people enjoyed research and discussion and thought?

I think the ease with which we can get anything (food, sex, comfort, entertainment) has made us lose our spark, our energy. By getting rid of some of the superficial, pointless distractions in our lives (things we think we need but that really only waste our time), we can be-come curious again, a natural instinct that has gotten us so far in the past.

And maybe it’s not realistic to think that we can have our own, unique,perfectly informed opinions on any-thing and everything. We simply don’t have the time. But we should make an effort to do a bit more research, to look into things a bit deeper before we blindly accept whatever is served up to us (… can I really not get through my day without knowing how many kids Nick Cannon has sired?) We should all be a little less afraid of speaking up, of having ideas that go against the grain– because it’s those of us who take risks and showcase our uniqueness that end up successful. But that’s just my opinion.

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