Poor Use of Language as an Indicator of Widespread Intellectual Decline

One of the most trite statements to be found in the mainstream is that there is no widespread decline in anything because even the Ancient Greeks complained about their youth. This argument is incredibly dishonest because it is a false equivalence. There may have been a few shitheads around during the times of Plato and Aristoteles, but today, societal decline is rampant, and such reports you do not find in the Greek papyri archeologists have dug out of the sand.

While it is very easy to point at publicly visible manifestations of cultural decline, such as rampant vandalism or trash littering the streets, what is a lot less immediately obvious that people are getting a whole lot dumber. The knee-jerk mainstream response is that it’s not that people have gotten dumber, but that instead today everybody communicates on the Internet. This argument does not hold water because we have plenty of records from history, such as the letters soldiers in the great European Wars sent home to their families. You can find facsimile reproductions. Even if you assume that such material is curated, this does not work as a counterargument either because today content is also heavily curated.

What gave rise to this post was a recent corporate blog post I came across. It struck me because the author used the adjectives “weird” and “crazy” where they did not seem to make a lot of sense. Much more fitting would have been the adjectives “unintuitive” and “complicated”. I paid some more attention to such uses of language for a few days, and noticed that there is indeed a widespread problem with imprecise communication. Seemingly everything is crazy, insane, weird, or scary. I once even overheard a PhD student in a technical discipline say that some experiment — running an algorithm on a standard dataset — was “scary”. You can only shake your head. Really, you meant to say that you were horrified of hitting the enter key in your office?

What I also noticed is that expletives are way too common nowadays. Terms like “shitstorm” are not just used in colloquial language but show up even in corporate communications. I have seen unironic uses of four-letter words or juvenile phrases like “whoop whoop”. It’s corporate kindergarten.

Mass media are not any better. The most obvious example is the term “hate”, which is nowadays used for anything that does not indicate complete agreement. You’re a “hater” if you merely ask someone to defend their position. This is worst in academia when it may happen that a woman gives a presentation and nobody dares to ask any critical questions because they are afraid of being called bullies. Thus, those women get a few softball questions, which they may fumble through regardless, and unjustified praise.

When “textspeak” first came up, the mainstream claimed that people don’t really communicate like that and if they do, it’s — you guessed it! — ironic. Then you go out in the world and realize that people really have a hard time spelling and therefore resort to sending “emojis” and GIFs.

Tangentially related is that even among the supposedly educated, it is rare to find someone who is able to effectively communicate in writing. This is no surprise because the average person practices sending emojis and GIFs back and forth all throughout the day. Having to compose a concise email, in contrast, seems alien even to people whose job depends on this. A beautiful example of this from corporate communications is an open letter the executive producer of Doom Eternal recently posted. Just skim the text! It is ludicrous. It’s several pages of a mere narration of events. I would not even tolerate that level of moronic communication from an eight-year-old. What happened to focusing on what is important?

There is a much more serious implication of those mere examples, namely the measured decline of IQ in the West. This affects all of society. Idiotic decisions at the highest levels, such as opening the borders wide for unskilled mass immigration, show that our political leadership is no longer able to properly assess reality. That a majority of voters support those policies further demonstrates that we live in an age of idiocracy. Going forward, worries about people not being able to precisely express themselves will be the least of our problems, however. Yet, both issues seem highly correlated.

Did you enjoy this article? Great! If you want to read more by Aaron, check out his excellent books, the latest of which is Meditation Without Bullshit. Aaron is available for one-on-one consultation sessions if you want honest advice. Lastly, donations for the upkeep of this site are highly appreciated.

12 thoughts on “Poor Use of Language as an Indicator of Widespread Intellectual Decline

    1. This made me chuckle. Modern society has evolved even further, though. We have now arrived at a point where the average person uses text speak together with emojis or, worse, animated GIFs.

  1. In response to the Doom Eternal open letter, it was created to address a disgruntled fanbase that had become increasingly irate due to a single tweet from the game’s composer. Considering that the masses were quick to come to the defense of Mick Gordon without much critical thought, perhaps the producer felt it was best the hold the reader’s hand through a step by step analysis of the events that lead up to the controversy.

    I thought it was interesting that a common meme surrounding the drama was something along the lines of ‘let Mick finish his work.’ It turns out the all the overly compressed tracks featured on the OST were indeed mixed and mastered by the original composer for in game use, he merely failed to produce the remixes within the allotted timeframe. I’m assuming that the over compression is more suitable for gameplay when you have sound effects and dialogue all competing with each other to be heard.

    Anyways, these were the types of people being dealt with, and probably largely unable to read between the lines and quick to side with the little guy.

    1. I was aware of the drama surrounding Mick Gordon. That guy is to blame as well for the drama that unfolded. That being said, I don’t think that the open letter by id Software was deliberate. I have the impression that the guy who wrote it is simply incapable of writing concisely. There are way too many people like that out there. I recall getting annoyed back in primary school when some kid launched into a story that was little more than a seemingly neverending string of sentenced that were connected with “and then”. They grow up to be adults who hardly develop their linguistic abilities.

      Given the state we are in, I furthermore think that addressing a PR fiasco with a long open letter doesn’t even work anymore. Can you imagine some teenager with heavy ADD go read through a wall of text that far exceeds his attention span?

    2. We talked about Switch games on my other blog a few weeks ago. To follow up, I now played through the main story of Dragon Quest XI. It’s a very good game. I have a few nitpicks, but they are trivial in the grand scheme of things. There is also a (long) post-game, which I’ve skipped as it’s quite grindy. Overall, I highly recommend it, if you have around 60 hours or so to spare. I also started playing Astral Chain recently. I have only scratched the surface, but what I’ve seen so far I like a lot. I’d like to see Platinum Games take on the fantasy genre, something like Dragon’s Dogma with a Platinum twist: more action, less RPG.

      1. I had looked at some gameplay of DQXI and I think I’d like it. I’m also interested in the definitive version of Xenoblade coming out for Switch, but not the sequel because people have consistently reviewed it as inferior to the first installment.

        Astral Chain starts out very strong and is quite impressive. Everything about the game looks good on paper and I should love it. Honestly, I’m on the fifth mission and I thought really hard about putting it down for good. I haven’t picked it up since. Please let me know what your final impression is. It just hasn’t really clicked with me, but I’ll avoid saying too much since you’ve just started. A lot of people praise it so I’m sure it’s just me. I really liked the music in it, though.

      2. I think Platinum has taken a leaf out of the book of Sony’s God of War series, which consistently has a very strong (and relatively short) beginning, a noticeably less captivating and long middle section (easily 80%), and an ending that is designed to floor you (think of the first and last boss fight of Metal Gear Revengeance or Vanquish, for instance). Thus, I’m still wary. That being said, the gameplay of Platinum Games’ titles is normally very good, which makes up for the lack of set pieces. I’ll let you know what I think of Astral Chain after I’ve played a bit more. One big plus, compared to typical videogames nowadays where they make you look at non-feminine women, is that you can play as a super-hot chick, so whatever my final verdict will be, I’ll round up my score because of that fact alone.

  2. Aaron,

    I think it was Minimal Game that helped me understand not to use technical words when speaking to women I wanted to lay. After I realized that concept, I also understood the futility in talking about anything remotely interesting at all. This isn’t to say that some women can’t have an intelligent conversation, it’s just that the ones I was interested in banging happened to not really be too deep.

    The women that routinely cross paths with me in my often speak in the manner of the open letter above. Stringing together a sort of monologue consisting of things that have taken place in the somewhat distant past, how that lead up to the events of the immediate past and present, and how they plan to proceed in the near future. I generally take the stance that if I don’t have anything productive or stimulating to discuss, then I keep to myself. I don’t even really enjoy bullshitting with other men. It’s mind numbing when two guys sit there and ramble on about their trucks or the fish they caught last week, as if they are sizing up each other’s dick size.

    All that said, I have found the value in at least being able to engage people on this level if necessary. Particularly if I feel something can be gained, like sex, or even in circumstances that require it because the alternative is to appear rude or to diminish your favor in the eyes of certain individuals. I would say that a certain proportion of guys have trouble with basic social skills, but it might be more accurate to say that some guys find it difficult to lower their social abilities to near retard levels.

    1. Even those with whom you could have an intelligent conversation you’re normally better off banging her first before you start pulling out big words. Nothing dries up a wet pussy like an intellectual conversation.

      What I found most baffling about female conversations or, more correctly, normie conversation was that it exists to just fill time. At first I expected that there was some kind of (non-sexual) climax waiting at the end of a narration that largely consisted of descriptions of events, combined with one “like” after another and more “and then”-connectives than you can count. Some can go on for ten, fifteen, even thirty minutes and not say anything of any substance. Then you look at them expectantly because you’re waiting for some kind of resolution or a bigger point she may have wanted to make, but there is nothing.

      1. When the above happens to me, unless I have some kind of interest in the person, I’ll usually just let out a ‘mmmhm’ and nod my head. Usually not even looking them in the eye. I feel no obligation to engage people socially unless I want to. In fact, I find is draining to do so unless I’m feeling elated. However, I have to admit I find myself trolling normies a lot for amusement. It’s become sort of a habit where if I’m forced to interact with people for long periods of time, I get into a trickster kind of mood. It’s usually well received, though, and I realize that pushing it too far can cause offense.

        An example would be asking a fundamentalist Christian how old they think the Earth is, and then listening intently to their ridiculous perspective with no judgement. I might then get another person’s opinion involved, just to conflict with the initial person’s reasoning and cause an awkward moment. At the same time, I wouldn’t reveal my personal beliefs about the subject matter and if pressed, I might just reply that I didn’t have an opinion and was just curious about theirs.

  3. This seems to be a global phenomena. While it is a wild claim on my part, it seems to be true for modern Vietnamese. I can’t even understand many terms youngsters use nowadays. Their meaning has been bent to the point where it has nothing to do with the original meaning.

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