WHY THE WELL-TRAINED MIND DOES NOT LAUGH IN THE WRONG PLACES | 2003-07-19
Some of our readers may have a certain problem with the idea that Asia has been a model of individual prosperity. He may laugh at the idea just as I did.
Four years in college will prevent a person from making my mistake of laughing out loud at the idea that a Chinese peasant has been the world's model of good living for over two millennia.
It starts with the fact that every student has spent hundreds of hours learning that, "Things are not as they appear."
So when the Aztecs slaughtered thousands of human sacrifices and kicked headless bodies down the stairs of their temples, it wasn't really a bad thing. Europe was just as bad. If you don't agree with that, you are Hitler.
Schools into which large numbers of ghetto children were bussed produced a generation of white children who consider foul language normal and schools where drug dealers and pimps have become routine. But college students are told that this is not bad. This is exposing white kids to experiences they would not otherwise have. This is broadening their social horizons. If you don't agree, you're Hitler.
So the well-trained mind is expected to fill in the gaps and not laugh. A young person has heard hundreds of explanations as to why our provincial mind might think that peasants who live in squalor and starvation are, to the untrained eye, not prosperous. After all those lectures you just fill in the blank without a tedious explanation.
So you don't laugh.
I have an untrained mind. I laugh in all the wrong places.