"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." - Sir Isaac Newton
Starting college is quite possibly the best thing that could have ever happened to me. American high school can only teach you so much; it is limited by its shortcomings in policy. Let me say further that American high school in the South can only teach you so much. What ever shortcomings there are in the system are bolstered by the religious fanaticism proselytized in the so called "Bible Belt". Trust me, I have been there.
You are limited in how well you can learn to think critically in high school. In Georgia, teachers have to give you a grade as long as you do the work. Luckily, I am a very critical person by nature; I started learning how to think deeply some time ago. Me being in the local college is very interesting. People that I have not seen since I left the Christian, private school masses five years ago are raising their heads back into my life, along with all of those I went to high school with. I can see that this cursed gift has not been passed on to many people.
I believe that my favorite class right now is my physical science course. Its a culmination of math and science at its finest. I have to admit, I am quite shocked at peoples lack of ability to grasp even mildly challenging concepts. People do not know how to think outside of the box anymore. I have always felt that way, but it has become way more apparent to me lately. I can't help but ask if it is just a part of our American way?
I think towards the near future when the subject of the Big Bang is brought up in lecture. Every friend of mine who has taken this course has told me that some loud-mouthed, Christian fanatic will try to tell the professor that these teachings are wrong and of Satan. I find that hilarious, yet very unsettling. Are people so deeply rooted in their own ignorance that they are not able to be open minded, as well as having a lack of ability to think outside of the box? Are close-mindedness and a lack of critical thinking a routine part of our American way?
It scares me even further to think about the roll of media. My grandmother is always watching Fox News - as I like to refer to as Faux News. That media outlet genuinely scares me. They have said some of the most racist, bigoted, homophobic, fanatical things I have ever heard. For instance, though I do disagree with the U.S. giving Egypt tanks and fighter jets, Bill O'Reilly has the nerve to refer to all Egyptians (and other people of Middle Eastern origin) as Muslim crazies who kill people. You can imagine my disgust, but then amplify that further when I realized he said this on national television to millions of people, thousands of whom are probably impressionable children who picked up on his bigotry and will continue to spread this anti-Muslim fear and hatred through our country. He knows what he is doing; he knows he is talking to several generations of uneducated, close-minded Americans who lack the ability to think critically. This became solidified to me when my MCC professor started a free association game; he said the word Islam and the first and unanimous word blurted in retort was "terrorist".
This is going to continue on, unfortunately. I doubt I will start to see an ease to this situation in my lifetime. People have got to start thinking critically; otherwise, it will be the death of our nation.