Sometimes it’s smart to be dumb

Hi. So. This blog feels more like a diary which is awkward, but… we’ve gone over that a bunch of times already. I doubt anyone has read every post, anyway, so maybe it’s more like… a feeble attempt to get outside of my own head in a space that still feels safe, for the most part, although I know that realistically, there’s no such thing as a safe place on the internet.

Anyway. Skipping the intro part where I mention that it’s a weird thing to do to blog at all as a defense against imaginary critics…

So. Social media hiatus. I’ve actually succeeded, for a while, and haven’t even been tempted, really. But maybe on the off chance that anyone cares enough to read this, I’ll explain a little.

YouTube used to be my favorite thing in the whole world, in the days when it was really a small fraction of what it is today. As a viewer, I mean. But I feel like when I started making my own stuff, it was like I was stuck in the mindset that YouTube still was what it used to be when the vlogbrothers had like the biggest following on the platform. (Did they even? I don’t remember. They were up there, though.)

ANYWAY. It was like a community, then, it’s like it was a private school with one grade per class and then all of the sudden it was the entire school district.

So three things about me: I’m dumb, I’m idealistic, and I’m extremely stubborn. And I’m not sure which of those qualities was the one that made me insist on treating YouTube like the sandbox it once was instead of the clusterfuck of attention seeking it is now. But they all probably contributed, among other things like desperation and loneliness blah blah.

ANYWAY. So all that happened but all of the sudden I started to become aware that the beginning stages of a channel, I’m talking like working up to 100 and then 300 subs, which took longer, I think, for me, than it took to get from 300 to 1700. Which is normal, I think, but the point is that pre-300ish area was really… I don’t know, pure? For me? My process was? Maybe because it was so fresh and new and then all of the sudden I was putting so much pressure on myself that I couldn’t… so.

What I wanted to talk about before I started rambling was this: I’m the kind of person who reads sociology papers for fun. Who listens to audiobooks by MIT professors arguing that human life is a kind of simulation game while playing simulation games. Who knows the difference between the epistemology of Descartes and Wittgenstein and would enjoy an excuse to talk about it.

But I’m not smart. Which I don’t mean as a put-down, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I think intelligence is just such an unhelpful and often harmful concept altogether. It’s not that I’m not intelligent, that I don’t have skills, but I’m not… I’m the person who wades into the academic world and splashes around in it, not the one who sails out into the ocean and studies the coral reefs or whatever. I’m a dweeb, but I’m not a genius.

My point, I think, is just that that’s a tough place to be but I think also maybe an important place to allow yourself to remain in and play around in and feel comfortable in. Because the problem with smart people, in my opinion, is that they expect everyone to be as smart as they are, and that’s just not how life works. If you want to feel superior to others, fine. That’s a normal drive to have. But the definition of being superior to other people is that the majority of those other people will not meet your standards, so the expectation that they would or even should just doesn’t make sense. See what I’m saying?

Like if I wanted to be an extraordinary musician, and then succeeded, but became extremely impatient with anyone who didn’t have perfect pitch when they sang happy birthday at my birthday party, that would be stupid and unnecessary and rude, and I wouldn’t have many friends anymore, except other exceptionally skilled musicians. In the same way, I think that often a lot of exceptionally educated people alienate themselves from anyone except other exceptionally educated people by expecting everyone they talk to to have “perfect pitch” when it comes to the topics they’re well versed in.

Basically what I’m saying is that… so… the reason I’m taking time away from social media is that I’m exploring other options for my life and figuring out if I even want to keep my channel public at all, let alone keep doing it. Because YouTube… I still love it. And that pesky optimism and stubbornness won’t quite let me give up on the idea that it can still be used the way I originally wanted to use it. But.

I moved to Wyoming to live with my aunt and be a “paraeducator” at a local school. Which means I’m sort of a special education person who works with students one on one within a regular class. So maybe that’s why all this stuff has been on my mind, because… some kids take longer to grasp fractions than others. Some kids have ADHD or autism or brain damage or whatever. But that doesn’t mean they can’t improve and thrive, it just means they need a different approach.

So I guess my question is… why do we all feel like we have to exist in the same intellectual space? And do we really have any hope of communicating across demographics and educational barriers and so on if we refuse to acknowledge that all progress is progress, if we hold everyone to the same standard regardless of their circumstances?

Like me, for example. Should I feel like I can’t talk about heady subjects just because I’m not an expert, if they’re still something I think about and research and a language I try to be as fluent as possible in? Should we only be allowed to talk about things if we have phd’s or can make other people feel stupid in the process of explaining something?

How are we supposed to have any hope of bridging the gap between “high culture” and “low culture” if we refuse to even try to speak each other’s language? What if instead of forcing people to learn like we’re performing a root canal, we actually took a look at what the purpose of education is supposed to be? Is it really more important to teach someone how to add two fractions than it is to teach them how to be compassionate and kind and conscientious? Can we really not do both?

There’s a vague political point that’s supposed to be getting pushed here, but I’m not even sure what it is. I guess I’m just saying the left and the right both have an addiction to dick-measuring, just in different ways. And in general I’m realizing that maybe my ability to be stupid and smart at the same time is more of a strength than I thought it was. Maybe that’s something the world actually needs more of, yuno?

Anyway. If you’re reading this, wow. I am very sorry. But. I figure this is better than compulsively tweeting and watching for responses because here the views don’t mean anything, it’s just nice to have a place to rant about stuff. Even if it never gets read at all, it’s just. Maybe it makes me feel less alone anyway, just to get it out of my head.

4 thoughts on “Sometimes it’s smart to be dumb

  1. Nearly completely unrelated comment – but I have a theory about people who are SOOOO introspective: they like strategy games (because I like strategy games). Any chance you like Civ (I prefer Civ 5) or Sims or something?

    Liked by 1 person

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