It’s amazing how sometimes the simple lessons we learned as kids hold the most universal truth.
“There’s no I in team.”
“Do what makes you happy.”
“Trying is having the intention to fail.”
These quotes are simplified so that children can understand them, but the simplification is also what makes them so poignant. Because they’re straight to the point. Not every quote needs to be a three sentences long uttered by some brilliant philosopher. Often, it’s the five- or six-word quotes that really dig deep and remind us what life is all about.
Sometimes we forget that the most profound things we’ve learned in our lives came when were still wearing money pouches to school so we could by lunch for five dollars.
Another one of those lessons we’re taught early is to never say the words “I can’t.” A specific quote about it is not coming to me, but it goes without saying. By saying you can’t do something, it’s admitting defeat without even trying. It’s a decree of failure.
And yet, on Facebook and Twitter feeds across North America — and probably the other six continents, too — the words “I can’t” are being tossed around by the second.
OK, fine, so it’s in a totally different context then I was alluding to a second ago, but it’s become common practice for people to use the words “I can’t” in a response to a link, or a comment, to indicate that they are incapable of summoning the words to form a proper reaction.
If it’s not “I can’t,” then it’s a variation like “I can’t even.”
Where did this come from? Suddenly people think these words are appropriate in conveying human thought? When people write this, I don’t know what they are trying to say, and have to guess based solely on the context of what they are responding to.
If they post a link to a sad story, and say “I can’t even,” I assume it means they can’t express how upset they are. If it’s in response to something happy or funny, then I figure it means they’re extremely excited. Essentially, when something triggers an impassioned response on any end of the emotional spectrum, that’s when “I can’t” and “I can’t even” come into play.
I have two questions. One — why am I supposed to be the one who is figuring out your emotional state? And two — when did human beings suddenly become so illiterate that they are now unable to formulate sentences to describe their feelings? Has social media corrupted our brains this much?
Every day, social media gives us an excuse to become dumber. That’s all it comes down to. So I don’t blame people for taking advantage of it.
While people who do this are not necessarily admitting failure by using the words “I can’t” in this context, they might as well be. Because they are failing as intellectual beings.
And that is something that I can’t even say surprises me.