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The Age of Mass Intelligence?

“We’ve all heard about dumbing down. But there is plenty of evidence that the opposite is also true. Is this, in fact, the age of mass intelligence?”

Fascinating article in Intelligent Life, a publication by The Economist:


– “Millions more people are going to museums, literary festivals and operas; millions more watch demanding television programmes or download serious-minded podcasts. Not all these activities count as mind-stretching, of course. Some are downright fluffy. But, says Donna Renney, the chief executive of the Cheltenham Festivals, audiences increasingly want “the buzz you get from working that little bit harder”. This is a dramatic yet often unrecognised development. “When people talk and write about culture,” says Ira Glass, the creator of the riveting public-radio show “This American Life”, “it’s apocalyptic. We tell ourselves that everything is in bad shape. But the opposite is true. There’s an abundance of really interesting things going on all around us.”

– “Third, what does all this say about the widespread view that societies are dumbing down, educational standards are crumbling and people’s ability to concentrate is collapsing? The reply must be that it cannot be true across the board and that for a significant number, the opposite is the case: people want more intellectually demanding things to see and hear, not fewer. Surely both things are happening at once: part of the population is dumbing down, part is wising up.”


For a related blog article: Exercise your brain in the Cognitive Age

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