I try to avoid expressing my socio-political views on this blog, but what I just encountered is too ridiculous to keep to myself. At least, it's ridiculous to somebody of my sensibility. So bear with me as I rant and possibly, rage in the rest of this post.
I don't have a Facebook account. Never have, and don't ever intend to. I have this conspiracy theory that Facebook is part of a big evil plan on the part of those in power to prey on the need for attention and validation on the part of the hoi polloi, get the hoi polloi addicted to constant visual stimulation, and then progressively rob them of their power of verbal reasoning and speech. In other words, I believe that Facebook is part of an evil plan to turn our brains to mush. I have kept this opinion to myself so far, because I have no systematic way to prove it.
But today, something happened that seems to validate my theory. I was grading a student's paper. The paper seemed to be very well-written, and I was enjoying myself reading her clear writing and concise reasoning. Until I got to this particular section of her paper. She quoted the following "famous equation found in Facebook." I have no idea that it's a famous equation on Facebook, since, as I said, I don't have a Facebook account (Maybe some of you know this equation?). Here's how the equation goes:
"No study = fail (1)
Study = No fail (2)
No Study + Study = Fail + No fail (adding equation 1 and 2)
Study (No +1) = fail (1 +No)
Study = fail"
As I understand it, if we were to translate (1) and (2) into English, we would get:
"If you don't study, you will fail.
Therefore, if you study, you will not fail."
Anybody who knows even a little logic will know that this is nonsense. Even if it is true that if I don't study for a test, I will fail it, it does not follow that if I study for it, I will not fail. There are a million and one reasons why I can study for a test and still fail it. Actually, who needs logic to see this? Commonsense is more than enough, don't you think? I'm not even going to bother critiquing the rest of this "famous equation."
Which means that Facebook (or whoever is behind Facebook) is robbing us of our most basic common sense. We are being slowly drained of our ability to think for ourselves. In its place, people are given this false sense of security in what they think is right and wrong ("If everybody thinks this way, and I also think this way, then I must be right."). So much so, that college students have the audacity to cite Facebook as a scholarly source!
Well, if you are a big Facebook fan, sorry to rain on your parade. Please ignore these random ramblings of an ivory-tower academic. Do not let his ramblings make your Facebooking less merry and joyful. After all, the man doesn't even have a Facebook account! What does he know? You may go back to your Facebooking now. Thanks for taking the trouble to read through what must be a very unpleasant few paragraphs. May the Force be with you.