by | Sep 13, 2017 | Culture, Keith | 0 comments

ob·tuse  (ŏb-to͞os′, -tyo͞os′, əb-)

adj. ob·tus·er, ob·tus·est


a. Lacking quickness of perception or intellect.

b. Characterized by a lack of intelligence or sensitivity: an obtuse remark.

c. Not distinctly felt: an obtuse pain.


a. Not sharp, pointed, or acute in form; blunt.

b. Having an obtuse angle: an obtuse triangle.

c. Botany Having a blunt or rounded tip: an obtuse leaf.

I often comment on the acquired obtuseness of American society so let us look at that for a moment. I believe the obtuseness of American society roots back to allowing our ego and indulgence of self-righteousness drive our beings, while at the same time we are living the most pain free existence of all time. In other words, we can indulge our ego and self-righteousness without the severe pain that historically accompanies people indulging their ego and self-righteousness – this may continue at least until the credit runs out.

We have by and large become an intellectually and morally lazy people because, at the moment, there really is no significant downside to that laziness. We are not the first society to go down this path; famously Byzantium and France also traversed this territory. It also famously did not end well for them. The general path is societies that are victorious in an arduous struggle, be that military or otherwise, that then feel they can relax and breathe but they quickly find the replacement for the arduous struggle is to violently argue over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Rather than giving thanks for the peace and victory and building even greater success society turns and fights over trivialities and fiction. The societies expend a great deal of intellectual capital on the meaningless while ignoring the meaningful and obvious – in fact disparaging the meaningful and obvious becomes quite popular.

In order to disparage the meaningful one must consistently ignore the obvious – and the habit of ignoring the obvious in favor of the intellectual and moral contortions required to continually defend the meaningless and fictional is what leads to the obtuseness. ‘Lacking quickness of perception or intellect’ is the outcome of continually denying the existence of the obvious and meaningful. A great number of Americans now measure intelligence purely on the ability to engage in the intellectual and moral contortions of denying the obvious. Echoing the intellectual and moral contortions is quite the social media sport.

As a society we are sliding. For two hundred years the United States was the foremost problem solver in the world – and now it is not that we can no longer solve a problem, we by and large cannot even admit to the existence of the problem. We go about engaging in the intellectual and moral contortions of creating fictional problems (statues anyone?) and fictional solutions while real problems are completely unaddressed.

Meanwhile, the indulgence of ego and self-righteousness allows the continued transfer of wealth from the many to the few to continue – with the accompanying intellectual and moral contortions that enriching the wealthy via government policy, at the expense of everyone else, is ‘progress.’

No, still not at peak absurdity.