I remember the movie :-) But think about this: the two signs that a
child is developing their mind and becoming more sophisticated are the
ability to lie, and the ability to tell a joke. (Both rest on the
ability to hold two versions of reality in mind at the same time.)
We could check to see how much humor is taking place these days, and
use it as a general measure of whether we`re getting dumber. I don`t
think so. Humor is still alive and well. :-)
I recently came to a realization that explains what appears to be a
dumbing down of society. It isn`t what I`d thought, and only partly
relates to the suggestions in this topic.
It comes down to a society-wide change in how we perceive the concept
of truth. About 50 years ago, by decision or trend, we (western
civilization) began to change the concept of truth. It stopped being an
absolute, stopped being a reference to an objective reality, and
instead, became an "interpretation."
I do understand that this is the end-run of the philosophy of
existentialism, introduced about 300 years ago. It`s a part of the
overall philosophy that went into forming America, and was influencial
in forming Europe.
In a nutshell, although all of us can agree to what we see (hear,
touch, smell) through our direct senses, that`s where it stops.
ANYthing about *why* something is happening---the reasoning of cause
and effect---has now become subject to interpretation and opinion. And
all opinions are considered equally valid.
With no remaining standard of objective, absolute truth, NOTHING can be
resolved in any sort of verbal exchange. That includes teaching,
schooling, parental guidance, examples, discussion, or any other form
of persuasive argument.