We need to stop idiot proofing the world as it’s just making more idiots!

25 Oct

Now this is a blog post I’ve been musing over for a while but really didn’t want to create a massive vent on how dumb the world has become or open the door to people leaving comments of a similar nature. So I’ve tried to keep it light by lacing it with humour and sarcasm, so different for me I know!

Call it a plea for sanity as I address the fact that every day we are idiot proofing the world, the end result is we’re really turning into idiots. People have lost the ability to think outside the box, to use common sense and to basically think for themselves. Yes, honestly, this still isn’t a rant. 😉

Some of my friends may see this as a little two faced as, for a living, one of the most common things I do is create user documentation to take people – step by step with big colourful pictures – through how to do something… usually on a computer. But the fact is, if people had been taught how to think for themselves, I wouldn’t have learnt this skill. It’s not as if I walk into an organisation and these instructions exist. No! I have to use my brain, ask some questions, make some notes and then create these picture books for adults. I have always found it sad (but true) that new, younger, staff needed my documents as – through idiot proofing them through their years in education – they were unable to figure out how to do things the same way I did. Gosh, now I feel old. 😉

Please don’t take this as me calling you, personally, an idiot. If I was to do that, I’d firstly do it in private and secondly would name you. This is one of those annoying blanket statements I also don’t like… but that little ironic journey can be left for another blog post.

Are we such law abiding, goody two shoes people that we can only do what we are instructed to do? So if you’re given something to take by your doctor and it doesn’t include in the instructions to remove it from the foil packet… you’re going to take it in the foil packet? Yes, this is a real story told to me by someone in the health industry. But it wasn’t for oral medicine… it was for the other end! You’d think you’d take the foil packet off wouldn’t you? Guess what had to be added to the newer version of the instructions – duh!

No, we’re not goody two shoes… sadly these idiot proofing steps come from people simply being too lazy to think for themselves. There, I said it. Too lazy to think “hang on, that foil packet has pointy corners… perhaps I should open it first?”

And, as a Writer, this spoon feeding of information to our readers can be frustrating. As in, certain readers expect it and if you dare write the non idiot proof version, you fail! Uh oh!

I will freely admit I like some description of a place, a person, a meal, a view, etc when reading a story. But when you need to go into specific measurements, colour shading and precise tones for most of the chapter, that is no longer setting the scene, that is allowing us to bypass our own imaginations and letting the Author do all the work.

Good writing is sketching the scene and then allowing your reader to fill it in the blanks. Taking control and forcing your exact images down their throats – unwrapped or still in the foil – it’s not entertainment, is mind numbingly boring. I tend to not get past the first two chapters if they’re still setting the scene in all those pages.

So please world, look around you, realise your own power and intelligence and think for yourself. Remember the foil packet and figure out if you can open it out without instructions… and then remember to put it where it’s meant to go. 😉

Be free, be yourself, realise how clever you really are and stop accepting the spoon fed version of life. Strike out, move away, realise you can walk without instructions reminding you to put one foot in front of the other with, detailed diagram as to which part of your body are actually your feet.

Read, think, reflect, muse, digest, whatever it is you do. Just break free of the idiot proofing mould, scoff at the need of a detailed diagram of life given to you and realise you can live a better one if you make it up as you go along. The more we reject the need for idiot proofing, I’m hoping the less it will be needed. Go find your common sense (it might be down the back of the couch) and dust it off and start using it again. You have an amazing brain – use it!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

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Posted by on October 25, 2014 in Writing


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