Judgement Day

the machine

I wouldn't have an affair with MY maid.

November 29, 2011.  We live in unique times, much like everyone else in human history.  No day is like this day.  No day is like the last, or will be like the future.  Every day is Judgement Day.

WHOA that was heavy!  Allow me to clarify/lighten up.  “Every day is Judgement Day”.  No, every day is not that day James Cameron made up where nuclear war killed 3 billion people.  No, that one crazy evangelical dude in the south hasn’t declared that THIS day will be the day of reckoning for the world, as we are still here.  Every day is Judgement Day, for everyone.

I try to read, listen, and observe a lot.  I have my favorite sources of information, and I avoid others that aren’t as interesting to me.  Though one thing exists throughout my intellectual exploration: Judgement.  This is the age of Judgement, and its more relevant than ever before.

John Gruber of daringfireball.net (who has a permalink on the sidebar since he was one who inspired me to blog in the first place) recently linked this tidbit by Issac Asimov from goodreads.com:

 There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

I won’t pretend to know anything about Asimov, other than that’s a wicked awesome name used by the bad guy in the Cowboy Bebop movie.  However, not drawing off any of Asimov’s motivations or previous convictions on what made him say that, his quote really got me thinking.  I presume he means to equate anti-intellectualism to ignorance, which I can get on board with.  (Though I wouldn’t limit that strain of thought solely to the US, we just have the most total exposure, much like Kim Kardashian – also American)  Lets take it literally: my ignorance is .. as good as your knowledge.  What really separates ignorance from knowledge in our society today?  In my opinion, they are nearly one and the same.  Let me try to explain this polarizing statement.

Without question, we are living in the Information Age.  Tough to say where we are at in its progression, cause as Curley says, the “Day ain’t over yet“.  What I aim to focus on is the community aspect of the Information Age, namely the ability to use Facebook, Twitter, and nearly any news/blog/web writing to comment on what you think, a.k.a. pass Judgement on everything you read, think, or hear in the entire world, regardless of how much you know (or do not know).  Anyone in the world (including myself) can rant and rave about whatever they want, isn’t that amazing and fascinating?  Yes it is, without question.  But it’s also very culturally relevant, inspiring sweeping societal change.  Could uprising in the Middle East exist without ease of communication and personal expression?  No way.  Would the Occupy Wall Street movement gather as many people without use of social media and the internet as an awareness tool?  Like the chance of Peyton Manning playing this season, doubtful.  On the other hand, take a look at the comments section of any internet news article.  No, take a look at any coverage of any news story.  Everything commented or expressed on is completely influenced by Judgement!

One of many examples:  Jim Boeheim and the unfortunate recent events affecting Syracuse University.  I’ll let the media take care of the details should you be living under a rock,, but I’ll look at Boeheim’s reaction to the second most recent surfacing allegations (immediately post Penn State) against Bernie Fine compared to his stance now.  At first, he vehemently defended his assistant coach to the point of calling the accusers liars and money grubbers, and now has apologized and rescinded such comments due to the release of new information.  I try not to defend anyone in this terrible situation, nor take the attention away from the absolute horror and disgust I feel from adolescent molestation, but even an old guy like Boeheim can fall under the trap that everyone does:  Judge a situation before the opportunity to take a step back, get more facts, and acquire a bigger picture on the issue at hand.

This same pattern of reaction can be attributed to everyone in the world regardless if they have the internet or not.  However in the current Information Age, personal Judgement is now in the public spotlight more than ever before.  Consider how many judgments were thrown around about Tebow before he went 5-1 as a starter.  Consider a public figure posting something on Twitter that he may as well have said orally in jest that makes the top three on news.google.com.  Go to three websites covering politics,  (say, Drudge Report, MSNBC, and whichever side you happen to be on) pick the top 5 topics, and see how many comments are posted on each one, and how venomous they are.  The internet has given everyone the power to post their faceless knowledge/ignorance to argue it’s just as good as “their” ignorance/knowledge.  Where does it stop?  How does it stop?  Does it stop?

Knowledge is concrete, objective, and factual.  Judgement is aerated, subjective, and may or may not be based on data.  The debate between which is more important, what is right, wrong, left, right, up, down, will rage on and on, and be stoked even further by the gasoline of the Information Age.  Maybe at some future date the world will be able to adjust and become attuned to the greater public being so vocal.  There are known knowns, there are known unknowns, and there are unknown unknowns.  (Don’t just dismiss the words of Rummy, give it a second thought, for Pete’s sake!)

I really like Western films.  Everything in these films are toned down and simple to understand.  Conflict is between good and evil.  When the horse topples over, you gots to walk.  If you don’t adapt to the conditions, you perish.  Trust your instincts, and the Force will be with you. (Star Wars is a Western) Post up on top of the gulch, survey the scene, then take your shot.  For better or for worse, the Information Age gives us advancements far beyond anyone’s comprehension, yet the Age seems to encourage quick and swift Judgement regardless of knowledge, experience, and validity of the source.  Maybe before we come to a swift conclusion and Judgement about the next top story of the day, we can take a step back, look at the situation for what it is, learn from the whole experience, try not to lose the story in the past, and build our personal wisdom.  Yoda didn’t get to where he was with poor memory.  In these trying times, just as in any time, true keepers and distributors of wisdom might be our greatest asset.  Its just that in this Information Age, we ALL have the capability to become the wise ones, and if we can be wise to ourselves, then that may just be enough.

About: Esteban

Esteban is the Editor in Chief of RantingEsteban.com. Check out his page on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @RantingEsteban, or send him an email.

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