Now this is a good one for you trekkies. Because it involves science, and potentially what the future holds for mankind.
But there's a theory in the United States, that humans are becoming dumber. Supposedly it has something to do with how we are becoming more dependent on technology. I won't bore you with that, because I am not a scientist. You've heard it all before actually. What I will tell you are my own observations.
You know it has troubled me, most of life actually, how much the U.S. education system is dumbed down (is dumbed down a word? Oh well). I think our educational system is clearly in shambles. It's assembly line, they say. Teachers feel obligated to pass you, even if you would receive a failing grade in the past.
Actually, though, there are signs of this trend in our popular culture. It's not related to this, or at least I hope it isn't.
I guess I'll give you a couple of examples. Please tell me that I am overreacting. People call food items, like cream soda "creme soda". Because we will think they use actual cream in it. We know. (Creme is simply a French word, if you didn't already know.) I don't know what you'll think about this next one. I am probably overreacting. The Latin phrase Sic Semper Tyrannis is usually translated today as "Thus always to tyrants". It used to be translated as "ever", not always. Anyways "Thus ever to tyrants" just sounds better to me, is what I am trying to say.
This next one proves my point much better I think. In Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" Scrooge tells Bob Cratchit that if he doesn't watch his mouth, he may spend the holidays losing his situation. In the 1999 version with Patrick Stewart, "situation" is replaced with "occupation". We all know what it means, the way he uses makes it obvious. Duh.
I don't know though, because some people are just perceived as being much more talented, and yes smarter, that they are, because their famous. It could relate to what I said above, decide for yourself. I once heard on a talk show, when I was a kid, that Richard Burton was once performing Hamlet. When he got to "to be or not to be" he paused, and a look of confusion came over his face. Burton loved drinking, and he was, yes, drunk during the performance. That's the real reason why he forgot his line. But the next day, the critics said "Brilliant!", Hamlet was pondering the question. It had never been done before, of course. But Burton was brilliant for being the first to do it that way. So je ne sais pas.
I should also point out that there is another way of looking at people being less intelligent. I still remember from my senior year in HS when we studied Shakespeare's "The Tempest":
"I’ th’ commonwealth I would by contraries
Execute all things, for no kind of traffic
Would I admit. No name of magistrate.
Letters should not be known. Riches, poverty,
And use of service—none. Contract, succession,
Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard—none.
No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil.
No occupation: all men idle, all. (II.i.)"
So some people think that people can only be happy if they are more stupid. I know the Khmer Rouge in Campodia used things like genocide and torture to approach this goal. But in Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" he talks about how a more benevolent government could use it too, along with things like human prejudice, ironically, but for the "right" reasons (or so they think). Huxley's novel is ironic, because as you know, brave new world is a quote from the Tempest.
People who are intelligent are less happy, they think things thru too much. They are complicated too, and that can sometimes lead to things like violence, believe it or not, again because they think things thru too much, they let things get to them that an idiot would not. Now as is "Brave New World" the intelligent people were on top, monitoring things, and taking care of things. And the less intelligent people where the common masses, perhaps even unaware that their intelligence was even being manipulate, who is to say that they wouldn't be much more happy? And in the end, wouldn't that be all that mattered?