I must be the only man in America who won’t be watching the Presidential Debates tonight. I’ve had my fill of politics months ago. I am so tired and frustrated how hateful and divided politics has become. I can’t even talk about politics with close friends and family any more without feeling frustration. But politics and sports are all many people I know want to talk about anymore. There is a lot more going on in the real world than politics and sports. But it’s the abnormal that gets the most attention. Few people can throw a football 80 yards or charm thousands of people in a speech.
I readily admit I do not understand neurotypical thinking. I have spent years trying to figure the average people out and have even point blank asked people why they think the way that they do. Alas, I haven’t gotten any concrete answers or come to any real conclusions. I definitely believe the Tommy Lee Jones line from ‘Men In Black’ when he said, “The individual is smart but people are dumb and panicky animals.” I see this everyday. I do much better dealing with only one or two people at a time rather than trying to deal with crowds. I don’t understand why for the last year and a half about all I see on my newsfeed and friends’ Facebook comments have to do with politics. Some pretty cool stuff has happened in other fields just in that time, namely in science and technology. But no one likes to discuss any of that. About the only people I can discuss science with are my parents who had extensive science backgrounds because of working in the medical fields. Even then I am convinced they don’t like discussing science that much and do it just to humor me.
I have always been interested in science and technology. I pursued a career in medical research until it became painfully obvious that my mental illness wouldn’t allow me to continue this path. It helped that I had some good science teachers in school that were willing to put up with my endless questions. But after spending over a dozen years in the adult world, I painfully realized that most people didn’t have that luxury. Most people do not see the beauty and wonder of science and the natural world. I think that if people like this were to take a few evenings to watch some presentations by the late Carl Sagan and Michio Kaku on youtube instead of whatever sports ball game or political news is trending this week, we’d have a much more informed and enthusiastic populace. We’d also have more interesting people too. And isn’t being interesting a worthy goal?
Since the fall of communism and the rise of information tech in the early 1990s, we have lived in some really interesting times. It seems hardly a week goes by anymore that some breakthrough is happening. Sadly, most people I associate with on a daily basis are blind to these wonders. And it seems that the few that are paying attention are worried about some dystopian future. Personally I am very angry with Hollywood and popular culture for selling people these horrible visions of the future. Visions like that are intellectually lazy and probably dishonest. And it’s not like there isn’t a market for good science fiction that shows a possibly cool future. Star Trek has been around for fifty years and is going as strong as ever. People are worried about machines that have no empathy or compassion? Please, most people I know lack empathy and compassion and our world still works.
I guess in my ranting frustration I have to take heart in the fact that the entire world doesn’t have to be inventors or scientists or artists or humanitarians. The politicians, freaks, cranks, and creeps may get the lion’s share of the attention from the media. But it’s the scientists, engineers, health care workers, artists, humanitarians, and incurable dreamers that make living better and more meaningful. I end this article with a few thoughts from the late Buckminster Fuller about how it often doesn’t take a great multitude or following the crowd to make a positive difference.