There's an old saying, "If you don't use it, you lose it". If that's true, the average American brain must be in a state of atrophy. Most of us are seldom called upon to use our cerebral cortex anymore. Network TV shows, commercials, our schools, our jobs, etc. have all been "dumbed down" to the point where mental acuity is no longer necessary. No one even performs simple math anymore without the use of a calculator. Think about it, when was the last time you performed multiplication, or division on a piece of paper without a calculator?
I admit, I am as guilty as the next person; I like modern conveniences. My posts would not be the same if I did not have a spell checker to fall back on. The point I'm trying to make is that, we are now conditioned not to think, because we aren't often called upon to do so. The problem with this conditioning, is that society is quickly becoming a herd mentality. Reasoning, and creativity, are becoming things of the past. That's a big problem if mankind is to grow and prosper.
Part of this problem, is everyone's need to be entertained all the time. Whether its an i-pod, TV, computer, or cell phone, everyone is preoccupied with something. Seldom do people read in order to learn something. Novels are very popular, but, nonfiction, history, and science books seldom make the NY Times best seller lists.
I am all for entertainment; we all need to relax and get away once in a while. However, just like you need to exercise your body to keep it in proper working order; you also should have a mental exercise regimen. I like to do the NY Times crossword to keep sharp. I also will mix in informational reading, along with my favorite fiction writers.
Our children need to be taught to balance video games, and TV, with school work, and informational reading. Getting them in the habit of reading the newspaper everyday is a good start. Teach them, "if you don't use it, you lose it".