Expected Things Are Expected

(another great example of humans being the most illogical species on Earth)

Don’t tell me that the radiator was hot when you leaned on it; its’a radiator, did you expect anything else when you touched it? Similarly, don’t remark on the surprising hotness of your meal; it’s curry, and it’s just come out of the oven, so it’s gonna be hot in terms of both temperature and flavour.

These are just two examples of pointing out the bleeding obvious, one of mankind’s favourite collective pastimes. I think a key reason for this is the growing desire that each of us have to let the world know of our opinions about, and our reaction to, things.

If you consider that we’ve been recognisable as a species for about 30,000 years, and that societal oppression, in terms of both gender roles and the power of the Church, wasn’t even thought to be breakable until the 14th Century at the absolute earliest (in norther Europe), we, as a civilisation, have had relatively little history with being able to openly express our ideas.

As a result, we feel the need to tell people what we think about absolutely everything around us: look at Facebook recently, a website that exists partly to allow us to tell lots of our friends our ideas on a particular topic through ‘statuses’, and even more recently is Twitter, which means we can share information with potential stalkers even easier. There’s also an argument to be made that the Internet by definition, as a space which inherently allows the free expression of ideas, is a massive step forward in telling people what we think of things.

However, there’s a fundamental problem in that we all want to say stuff, but have very few meaningful things to say: I don’t mean in a snobbish way, that I think all those fools who don’t do english degrees should bloody well shut up and get back to feeding my horse, but in the sense that the majority of the population will simply not be interested in discussing philosophy, history or literature, which is totally understandable.

I think this is a key reason that controversy is so attractive to people; they want to have strong opinions, but have nothing to have strong opinions about, so the news that washed-up celebrity x is screwing washed-up celebrity y constitutes ‘important discussion’ for some people.

On the other side of it, ‘intelligent discussion’ is a lot easier to come by these days; my judgement that ‘philosophy, history or literature’ constitute ‘intelligent’ conversation is a pretty crass thing to say, but I can say it, and you can react to it here, in comments below, or in real life, by punching me in the face and telling me what a prick I am.

Fundamentally, our lives are dull; the odd trip to the cinema of genuinely interesting life opportunity punctuate our existences of ‘Did you pick up the milk?’ and ‘What time is The One Show on?’, so having an outlet of being able to discuss relatively menial things like the temperature of food is nice to have. I just wish people would discuss these topics in a less boneheaded way.


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