Scientists are citing the recent flurry of pages devoted to “The Dress Debate” as evidence supporting the existence of a “Global Middle School.” The theory behind this is based on the work of the eminent researcher, Professor Robert Langdon. Dr. Langdon’s life’s work has been to study the relationship between internet memes and human development or lack thereof. His latest project is based on gaining a better understanding of the maturation of individual humans. The central premise of his theory is a radical reinterpretation of the human life-cycle and the hypothesis that teenagers are the larval form of human beings. If his theory is proven to be true then the Middle School years are the time when the average human enters this larval stage. While the theory is too complex to expound upon here, one need only visit a middle school cafeteria during lunch to see where he first found the inspiration for his research.
Dr. Langdon was not the first researcher to note that there are many parallels between the experiences one has on the internet and in middle school. For many, middle school is a time when feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing can be reinforced by ones peers. This is also true of much of the internet experience. Alternatively, the internet can fill one with an overblown sense of the importance of one’s own importance which can also be seen in the early teen years. Both the internet and middle school can be seen as a testing ground where each individual is either ground into the dirt or given a false sense of bravado based on temporary popularity.
Given its worldwide reach, the internet allows some people to experience peer pressure, insecurities and personal inadequacies in a larger context. For others the internet becomes a place where their narcissism is rewarded by likes and shares. Using the power of the worldwide web any human or photo-human is able to mindlessly follow fads, spread rumors that are clearly untrue and engage in anti-social behavior at a level not available to previous generations. As an example, Dr. Langdon points out that we were once limited to bullying those within physical reach. The opportunity to select targets was limited to the few who rode the same school bus or lived in the same neighborhood. The availability of the internet has allowed bullies to become predators with virtually unlimited hunting grounds and the opportunity for anonymous attacks makes it unlikely that the bully will experience any consequences. This allows each individual to have the freedom to reach a level of cruelty and viciousness under a veneer of self-righteous pretense that was once the sole territory of school-yard tyrants, political pundits or book, movie and theatre critics.
While many have recognized the obvious similarities between the experience of middle school and the internet, it took hours of effort for Dr. Langdon to develop his hypothesis on a link between the two. The next step was to determine how to test his theory. Before a theory can be considered in any sense “proven” it must be used to accurately predict the outcome of one or more experiments. In the case of the Global Middle School Theory (GMST), Dr. Langdon’s team constructed a model based on the GMST and then used the model to create predictions of internet behavior. One of these predictions was that at some point we would see people all over the world discussing, and even arguing the color of a piece of clothing. The model provided additional predictions that this debate would be covered by all of the world’s major news outlets.
After watching “the dress” story develop, Dr. Langdon and his researchers were excited to see it covered by CNN, Reuters, UPI, and the BBC as well as by numbers of other news and “news” sites. Reportedly the story was also covered by AOL but by our publication time we were unable to find anyone who would admit to visiting that site. The NQN Technology Correspondent, Ned Ludd, noted that, “The explosion of blogs blogged, Facebooks booked, tweets twittered and Instagrams gramed demonstrates that this is this week’s “Story of the Century.” Media experts have measured the trend lines and extrapolate that it will remain the top story on the internet up until right about now.
While pleased that his theory had been shown to predict real world behavior, Dr. Langdon stressed that the outcome should have been obvious to everyone as he asked, “Where else but in middle school or the internet would you find people lining up to fiercely defend their perception of the color of a dress?” Now that the GMST has been confirmed, he has started working on a Unified School Theory which may help us understand the next step in the evolution of the human species. He shared some of his early thoughts on this new project.
Upon transitioning from the teenage/larval stage to adulthood a small percentage of humans become the equivalent of a butterfly and spread beauty and grace throughout the world. The vast majority become something more akin to a moth and are simply attracted to one bright and shiny object after another. – Dr. R. Langdon