The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Columns

November 5, 2013

Primus Mootry: Living and coping in a McDonaldization society

(Continued)

That is why this moment in human history is so crucial. The tsunami of change is on its way, but many would opt to stay on the seemingly quiet beach of days gone by. After all, the sun is shining, isn’t it? And the wind is calm and warm. Why take flight to higher ground? Then, suddenly everything is washed away, including the beach itself.

What I am suggesting is that the change that is sure to come will be brutal. Only the well educated are likely to survive it. And this does not necessarily mean formal education or the mere acquisition of knowledge. As to formal learning, I think Mark Twain said it best: “I’ve never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

As to acquiring knowledge, the way things are now we have unprecedented access to information. In fact, there is a new term I hear a lot. It’s TMI — too much information. It seems the more we know, the less we understand. To the point, it was recently revealed that the National Security Agency, or NSA, has acquired so much public and private information they don’t know what to do with it.

In any case, the issue is not merely acquiring information, but controlling the acquisition of information. In this regard, those who control information are the likeliest “winners” in the battle for our minds. Common folk — those who survive — will believe what they hear, and act according to what they believe. Ritzer makes the point, for example, that people eat Chicken McNuggets even though the very idea of a chicken nugget is completely absurd.

And so, the whole business of getting an education might be interpreted as education for survival. That translates into self-reliance.

Without regard to what support local, state, or the federal government may provide, increasingly, I believe, survival and the prospect of prosperity will depend on individual initiative. Further, I believe this to be a social and political structural reality, not a matter of morality or immorality.

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