And some reasons whyPhoto by Joe Ciciarelli on Unsplash
Nerds are currently in at the moment. Comic book nerds (thanks Marvel), science nerds (kudos to you Big Bang Theory), nature nerds (here’s look ing at you, Attenborough). This is great! It’s a thing to celebrate, to love and cherish and encourage in our next generation.
But it’s only skin deep.
Actually embrace the nerd — go into detail about chemistry, or cite the origins of Norse mythology, and you’ll be condemned as ‘boring’ and laughed out of the room. I hoped with the arrival of these strands of entertainment the nerd, the true nerd, would finally be embraced in society. Boy was I wrong.
But the world loves nerds now
So it would seem, but if you look even a tiny bit closer you’ll understand that it’s still only the right people who fit the right kind of nerd mould who are being accepted. Superhero t-shirts, okay. Mint condition comics in display cases, too much. Quoting the latest Avengers movie, fine. Going into detail about Tony Stark’s origin story — the real one, from the comic not the film — is too much.
The world is still afraid of anyone with a genuine passion for detail. You can only be accepted if your knowledge is paper thin — any more than passing detail or behind the scenes YouTube videos is too much for people to handle. But why is this?
We are afraid of looking like we care too much
This world is still terrified of looking like we’re passionate about anything. Try it with your friends. Start speaking with any level of enthusiasm about any subject and within moments people will be making snide comments. ‘Alright, chill out.’ ‘Dude, you really care about this stuff.’ ‘What’s with you and [this subject]?’
We feel challenged and belittled by anyone with a greater level of knowledge than ourselves. We as a society are incapable of sharing in someone else’s emotion, whatever that might be in. Why?
Because we , as a society, do not value knowledge
Just think back to your own school days. Don’t worry about how long ago that was, trust me, things have not changed that much. Who were the popular kids? The athletes. Who were the rejects? The intellectuals. We are threatened by anyone we deem to hold more knowledge than ourselves. And how do we combat that? To belittle, mock and threaten those threats.
And it’s not just the nasty kids that do this. We do it among our own friendship groups as well. Even if it is in jest, I still find myself being referred to as the grammar police or spellcheck among my close friends.
But what can we do to change things?
Isn’t this always the question? What can we do to change x,y,z? I’m only one person. I can’t possible make a change to the world.
The saying is true — be the change you want to see in the world. You want people to respect scientists? Then show them respect. You want kids to speak properly and stop using so much slang and ‘text talk’? Then know the rules of grammar and use them.
In all its forms, encourage people to learn. Go beyond Google. If you find a topic interesting, follow the links. Buy a book, click onto a reputable website and find the journal articles that support (or counter, if that’s what interests you) that point of view. Buy a book for a child.
And encourage self-love. Your niece wants to read up on Thor’s lineage and the deities of Norse mythology, so take her to the library and get all the books out on the table and draw big, colourful family trees and looked at who got married and who had kids and how they died. Encourage a child — any child you know, friend or family — to love what they do. Help them find a passion and encourage that passion and shout about that passion to others.Photo by Randalyn Hill on Unsplash
Find a passion of your own, and educate people about it. Rant on about the benefits of pole dancing to your male friends. Tell your girlfriends about how fishing is the largest participant sport in the world. Ignore the eye rolls and the comments, and impart some of your knowledge today.
Be that change you want to see