True, as unwisdom is the worst of ills.Â – Sophocles
ATV, Acquired Truth Virus, is a brainvirus that lives in your brain which claims to be a real truth but is not. It’s a fake. It’s counterfeit. It is simply acquired through transmission.
ATVs, like ‘smoking is cool’ or ‘smartphones are cool’ can be acquired through exposure to repetition of the truth whether through advertising, media, big authority or through daily social group pressure.
If everyone, everywhere, everyday are smoking then it’s very difficult for a young brain to not become infected with the ATV that ‘smoking is cool’. What protection does the young brain have from such a social onslaught?
If everyone, everywhere, all the time are smartphoning then it’s very difficult for a young brain to not become infected with the ATV that ‘smartphoning is cool’. On what basis could a young brain reasonably be expected toÂ have the wisdom to resist?
What if smartphoning is the new smoking?
How would you even know?
Unwisdom is a wicked problem, especially for the younger brain. It is, in fact, a very serious cognitive deficit. It is a wicked problem because there is no real solution. Many young brains suffer from this problem because it is largely a predicament of the younger brain ipso facto, by virtue of the fact of being a young brain.
Unwisdom is a very old word because it is a very old problem. It’s a wicked paradox:
TO KNOW that one does not know something is a problem that can be solved. It can be solved by acquiring the knowledge, skills and experience that are known to be missing.
But TO NOT KNOW that one does not know something is a wicked paradox that cannot be solved within the logic of the situation. This is the problem of unwisdom.
This is why it is a relatively simple thing for a young brain to become radicalised. Yet, it is a very difficult thing to radicalise a skilled, wise and experienced brain.
Young brains are fair game. They always have been. Aristotle said, “Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man”. Interesting. Think about the impressionability, the vulnerability of children and the cognitive implications of what he means.
I have even heard this quote attributed to St Francis de Sales and other religious figures, who may, of course, have been paraphrasing Aristotle who also said in Rhetoric, “The mind is in its prime about the age of 49.”
The internet is a particularly fertile environment for older brains to radicalise younger brains. There the manipulation of young brains is convenient because so many unwise young brains inhabit cyberspace, without protection, and are getting daily online megadoses 24/7/365.
Not all radicalisation leads to violence at all but the process usually involves multiple reinforcements that, with enough exposure, can desensitise young brains to committing acts of increasing anger, rage and aggressive behaviour.
The Domino Theory
50 years ago when I was finally escaping my teens, before I was even old enough to vote, my own brain was radicalised by much older brains when I just turned 20 years of age.
Back in the 60s, long before the internet, I was infected with a meme (or a ‘truth’) called The Domino Theory which was, in simple terms, “the fear of China’s hegemony”.
As youngsters, we were told thatÂ America (and therefore Australia) was threatened by the ‘Domino Theory’ and that we were to stop it by fighting it in Indochina. History refers to this as the American War in Vietnam.
This acquired truth virus (ATV) took two years out of my young life to be trained to go and fight. Then, another ten years to be forgiven for going. My brain has healed but there are scars.
As far as I can see, “the fear of China’s hegemony” is still today being used to radicalise young unwise brains but my older and wiser and experienced brain is immune and is less likely to be radicalised by the relentless onslaught of these faceless subversive influencers.
Just suppose there are two kinds of COOL things, REAL and FAKE, and you were asked to judge 3 of each. DFQ 02:Â Name three real COOL and three fake COOL. REAL 1 REAL 2 REAL 3 FAKE 1 FAKE 2 FAKE 3