Intellectual degradation and alienation

In the twenty first century of civilization, many younger generations trapped in the mainstream of way of thinking and way of doing things. Consumerism is probably the predominant stream that flow in the current of people’s live nowadays wherein economic well-being determine the social strata almost absolutely. The consumptive way of live is the one to be blamed for the problem of unemployment and, to some extent, global warming. But now let’s talk about why this river of live that sounds so boring actually dominate and monopolized the brain cells of billions of human walk the dirt of Earth.

If we ever seen a movie or perhaps heard story about the life of a-projected-as-successful person, generally it shows steps of development through which whoever that person is reaching to the top of the mountain. Basically, young kids who love to play introduce to education system within which, hopefully, that young fella become a person ready to work in industrialized systems of economic in whatever country possible. It comes to the common sense of the people that education in formal institutions is the key to a person’s success and happiness. Well, that is true of course. What I seek here is an alternative point of view.

Today, somehow the system of life are degraded into the stages of linear process where someone born-grow-educated-work-get married-having family-and die finally. It might be too simplified but actually this line of life is what exists in the common unconsciousness. There is also some entertaining part of it of course to manage the stressful of this exact and prejudice system. Why I called prejudice? It’s merely for the reason that your rate of success is, once again, measured by your material achievement that manifested through the numbers in your bank account.  I think a lot of people agree that money can’t buy happiness; some might argue that money is the driving force. A singer even comes up with a song entitled “Money can’t buy me love”. Too idealistic isn’t it?

But try to observe your life in other perspectives. What have you done that will make you remembered? The money driven logics and rationalism have also eroded the communal nature of human into a more individualistic one. A famous Karl Marx once theorized that the division of labor created under the capitalist system of production where mass production and capital accumulation has alienated the human. What does he means by alienated? Do we turn into alien?

Well, to oversimplify it, perhaps so.  People have turn into a new shape of beliefs and ideals that is different than what human in the previous civilization. Some people call this development. But not all of the people realized that behind this development, degradation of human capacity also taken course. In his theory Marx stated that labors are alienated from what they produced. We can see this phenomenon today as factory workers in Vietnam, China, and Indonesia can never have bought the product she or he worked on the factory for the reason that their salary are way insufficient to be exchanged for the product they produced.

In the field of education, the over-complicated grading systems are established to make an artificial “nature selection” of human to the next level. We are thought something we required to know when we will work in a company or corporate. In my personal opinion, this method of education is not effective to runs a country’s economy. In a TV show with an entrepreneur, it’s explained that education (in Indonesia for example) only prepare the students to know with lack of sense of actually doing it; at least for the most part.

Sometimes when eager young minds of students raised question beyond the curriculum, the teacher will refer to the question or comments as the “wrong” answer or statement. Is it always like that? What if it was the young kids that thinking outside the box instead of the teacher? Is he still wrong?

This is the meaning of making difference in my understanding. This is seeing things differently. Why? It’s because the process of finding which right or wrong is a lifetime process. So, if you are told that your comment is wrong, first try to investigate, was it really? There is always a point where you find yourselves where you at. The key point here is to never taking things for granted.

The habit of taking things for granted is probably the reason why some part of the society end up in less fortunate than other members of the society. If you usually taking things for granted, then it may be the right time for you to reason back and planning a not-taking-for-granted-resolutions strategy for your future.

I observe myself of the life of my friends as students in certain faculty in a university wherein they are judged wrong if they submitted a report or tasks that is not according to the guidelines that have been used for years and considered as outdated. Hey, I thought the sciences are developing in every bit of seconds? Where is the freedom of thinking? Didn’t Hegel said that we human are what we think? The bad news about it is that no one tried to do anything about it. The students are absorbed into tons of tasks so that they don’t have time to find out whether or not the judgment true; or they are too lazy to do it? I thing the reason is not on themselves but also in the situation created for them to be so.

This is what I consider as the intellectual degradation and alienation.

So my friends get creative! Think and do something outside the box! Be different!


2 thoughts on “Intellectual degradation and alienation

  1. Nice yet impressive article
    First reading, I felt insulted. Why? Because I experienced what you call as ‘degradation’, in many ways. But in the first place, I directly identified my English skill degradation. As a pathetic proof, I had to read your article times to understand the passage and even more, to criticise the contents.
    Second, it’s reflective thinking as you also categorized your article. As a reader, I was drawn in your reflective flows of thinking. But I got so much. Too much to reflect that I can say as a reflective article, I didn’t get the essence of in-depth exploration of each issues you have concerned on. In short, you didn’t focus on spesific issues. Or maybe you did on purpose, in which you tried to captured so many phenomena and linked them up in the framing of ‘intelectual degradation and alienation’. In my opinion, it would great and interesting, to explore and elaborate one spesific topic more deeply. For example, I want to hear about the materialism (and consumerism) mindset which overdominated our society. Or you can write in a separate page about degradation in Indonesian education system. In such a way, so that you can drag the reader to their-self reflective afterward.
    Third, “So my friends get creative! Think and do something outside the box! Be different!” Is that your grand message that you want to deliver to the readers in conclude all your thinking and as answer to the issue of intelectual degradation and alienation.
    Fourth, how do you define intelectual?
    Fifth, what do you think of those who digging materialism (prosperity), consumed the materials, but in the sake of society development and empowerment? do you consider it as degradation?
    Kind regards, 🙂
    PS. It’s hard to write this kind of reflective thinking, especially in a broad scope of national and international development.

    • Thank you Kiki!
      You sure read it hehe

      Since this is the first article in this category, I try to make it in the wide sense to catch the general idea about it. Hopefully, I would be able to get into detail the specific topic as consumerism, alienation, and so on. The fact that you get too much of reflection is a prove that we actually sunk into the degradation.
      What I mean by intellectual here is the human capacity to think with all of their potentials. Einstein once said that most human only used 10% of the brain capacity. Why is this happen? You already read the answer or part of it.
      To answer your last question, I need to write new article to separate materialism and empowerment. I’ll let you know the article when it’s posted

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