When Folks Say This Or That About Humankind And The World Their Frame of Reference Is Usual No More Than About Thirty Years

You can tell that the average person, when making grandiose statements about human nature, world events or whatever — and how everything is so much different now, usually worse — has no more than around a 30 year sweep of history upon which they base such notions, the core share of one’s own adult lifetime. The truth, however, is that the rules of the universe haven’t change in over fourteen billion years and nature’s hard wiring of the human mind has been consistent for at least the last two hundred thousand years.

The only thing that has really changed in regard to the human condition is humanities slow but ever accelerating accumulation of technical knowledge and all the creation that flows from it. But you ask the average man or woman in the street what was the worst time in human history and many will say that right now is the worst ever, like the enormous human slaughter and destruction of WWI & II of the last century or the massive blood letting of the American Civil War during the century before that never existed. And of course in their thirty-year time frame it didn’t happen, so as far as they are concerned it might as well have never happened.

This all popped up in my mind when I read the other day that only three percent of the population reads books. And since what folks tend to read is mostly fiction that explains why so many people have no idea whether to believe Fox News rather than, say, the New York Time or the Washington Post. Since so few read high quality biographies or history or science or psychology, they have no solid reference point, not only as to time, but also what likely constitutes truth.

Now I was a poor student in school mostly because my preferred curiosity of life, technology and events is from the thirty thousand foot vantage point, and that is not how grade school and high school are taught — so I was bored.

Now I don’t want to give the false impression that I was just too darn smart to care. Actually I Q wise I’m not so hot, but knowledge wise, because I never stopped satisfying my curiosity by reading a wide range of nonfiction books has given me a pretty powerful intellect. I see myself as something akin to a primitive, slowly running computer with a very sophisticated program, not quick minded but insightful. I digress.

The bottom line of this ramble missive is that it blows my mind that people in a free society can have such a limited time frame and restricted storehouse of knowledge simply because they don’t read serious books to the point of ending up voting for such a simpleton as Donald John Trump, another notorious non reader, to be President of the most power nation on earth. Yes, a man who craps upon all the values that hundreds of thousands of other brave Americans gave up their lives to protect.

Don’t be a Donald — read.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!