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The Middle Class of Thought

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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
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Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 10:45 am    Post subject: The Middle Class of Thought Reply with quote

The internet reveals so much about us that we never knew before.

When I was a child, I had the chance to learn from the people who happened to be around me, or from the 3 or 4 channels of TV. What I would now call high-quality cultural materials were rare, and therefore treasured: books, newspaper clippings, etc. To expand beyond these boundaries took some effort and initiative: sending two dollars for the thing advertised in the back of Popular Science, riding a bike all the way to the library to explore the 001 section, staying after school to methodically go through all the audio-visual science materials.

When I look back at those times, in the light of today's environment, it seems appropriate to think that I was establishing my presence in the "middle class of thought", and making forays into upper-middle class.

What exactly is the middle class of thought? It hardly ever suits my temperament to rush in with definitions. I prefer to leave that for later, or to others. Meanwhile, it is still possible to gain some benefit from this notion.

When I think less critically, I'm mostly swayed by my innate assumption that we (people) are pretty much all alike, but seeing climate change deniers pretend to lecture actual scientists, for instance, reveals the "thought-class" distinction. Likewise, seeing an otherwise rational online discussion devolving into a thread war signals the departure from what might be considered "middle class" standards.

Oddly, normative concerns about other people and what they do are mostly *not* middle class (of thought) concerns, but lower class, along with other commonplaces, such as nearly all talk about weather and most talk about politics.
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