What You Think, I Don’t Think

One of the benefits of learning I am on the autism spectrum has been the realization–the very deep realization–that practically nobody thinks like me. I don’t think most people really realize that others don’t think like them. At least, not in such a way that it affects their world view.

Most people think that other people are exactly like them. If someone acts in a way different from them, that difference is seen as a flaw or fault (the social justice warriors only invert this and declare that Western differences are flaws). Many men see women as flawed men; many women see men as flawed women. They’re both wrong.

The social sciences and the humanities are a complete mess because of this. Academics think everyone else thinks like them–like academics. Practically every stupid thing Marx thought can be traced to this fact. He looked upon the working masses with pity that they have to work at jobs they did not inherently enjoy, not realizing that only a few people thought that any work at all could or would be inherently enjoyable. The academic, the scientist, the artist, the inventor, the entrepreneur all find their work inherently pleasurable to do. Them, and nobody else. 20% of the population at best. The other 80% would rather be watching TV or browsing the internet. There is no work out there they would find inherently enjoyable. They work only because they must, and if they didn’t have to, they wouldn’t do a thing.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. I recently had some middle school kids tell me they thought the reading and writing I love was boring. Well, of course they did. Almost everyone on earth agrees with them. Very few love to read, and fewer still love to write. I decided to tease them by telling them I didn’t like sports because I find sports to be boring. They couldn’t even begin to imagine such a thing. They couldn’t imagine me finding sports boring any more than they could imagine finding reading and writing interesting, let alone a great joy.

So long as social scientists think everyone is really just like them, they are going to get practically everything in the social sciences wrong. There are a few who manage to have a great enough connection with non-academics, with that other 80%, to have non-stupid ideas in the social sciences, but they are very few indeed. Even those who come from working class backgrounds seem utterly oblivious–they likely spent most of their own childhoods with their nose in a book, and didn’t realize nobody else around them did or thought the things they did. And when they got into college, let alone grad school, that was the last they set eyes on any non-academic outside their own parents, who they called less and less often as the years went on.

And think about this: the people who most love learning and academics are the ones who are trying to reform education for the 80% who don’t.

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