Abstraction, the loss of wisdom through intellectualism, may be a major cause of many of societies problems.
The British Daily Mail is worth having a read on occasion, it whinges about everything, but offers daily a bunch of case studies of how dumb society has become. An example as reported in this newspaper is the medication of children with drugs like Ritalin.
I am a skeptic about the claims ADHD exists, and the medication of children is a huge bugbear of mine. There are many reasons why children express ADHD-like traits: the education system is boring; stressful home life; diet; exams; lack of sleep; pressures to conform to peer group and media expectations; fast pace of society; being children. The answer to lump all these children into an abstracted group of people with an invented medical condition, then medicate the “problem child” to fit in is doing nobody any favours.
Abstraction is where you reduce a person or situation to a simple mental construct devoid of its unique and complex qualities. Every ADHD-like child is like that because of a unique set of circumstances, that has to be handled differently, thus the abstraction of each child into a common “illness” (ADHD) with a common “solution” (Ritalin) won’t resolve the causes of the problems, but reduces the symptoms under the cloak of mind bending drugs, with serious side effects.
I read two WordPress blogs yesterday that provided further examples of abstraction: the hijacking of the Occupy Movement in a small town by “organisers” who reduced the movement to a “head trip”, specifically their treatment of fellow protesters, which was no different in approach than the system they protested against; and the experience of one blogger in a British psychiatric institution, a facility designed to do the reverse of making people mentally well.
When people live in their heads, they create separation between knowledge and practical wisdom; the intellectual invention, the abstraction, is divorced from all reality of the human being or situation it was supposed to target; it becomes cruel, destructive and merciless. It is this separation, the abstractions, I suspect is a major cause of problems in modern society.