Blissful Abyss of Ignorance

stockvault-washington-dc-famous-landmarks112207Ignorance is a flaw. It is an equivalent of suffering according to Taoism and Buddhism. It does not allow us to see the world fully as it is due to our perceptual blindness imposed on us by ignorance itself. Dr Wayne Dyer, a splendid motivational speaker, claims that “the highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.”

Sadly, I have to admit that this type of ignorance is the most hurtful yet the most common phenomenon in our society. We tend to rush with judgments that very often are no more than statements saturated with prejudice. The latter word can be broken down into a preposition pre and a stem judicial which signifies something that was pre-judged which means that it was given an opinion based on illusionary facts rather than direct experience.

Such ignorance spiced with prejudice creates stereotypes and discrimination which is highly infectious among people. Behavioural psychology states clearly that certain ideas combined with people’s tendency to conformity creates interesting mingle of behavioural patterns within and outside the society.

In the 1950s a psychologist Minard did a research on a miner community of mixed racial background. It led to rather interesting findings, that is, whenever miners went underground it was the mining community that counted, there was no place for racial demarcation; however, when the same group of people interacted outside the mine, there was noticeable race distinction to be observed.

Minard explains that the notion of conformity is highly influential when it comes to social life, meaning that the group of miners were sociologically forced to adapt their behaviour to the normal social constrains while being up on the ground, whereas those same rules were no longer applicable in the distinctive environment of the mine. Finally, the psychologist comes to conclusion that whether or not prejudice is present depends on the social context.

Ignorance gives a green light to stereotypes and pejorative opinions towards other people, organizations, ideas. But is that all that lures behind this infamous state of oblivion? Unfortunately, it is only a tip of the iceberg. Ignorance provokes dependency, which nowadays is promoted big time.

Current research shows that people in the U.S.A. who know little about economics are prone to entrust this issue to the government, and by doing so, they tend to feel dependent on the currently ruling government. And this beaviour goes further: such people, in order not to get disappointed with the current state of economy, nor to shatter their unshaken faith in government tend to consciously ignore the issue, choosing not to learn anything connected to economy of their own country.

Such dependence is used not only by politics in their campaigns but also by media feeding people with already formed radical opinions which do not give room for thinking about the issue. We are bombarded with ready-made solutions instead of being given a chance to ponder upon a subject and do it our way.

Somewhere on the Internet, among other quotes, I found a statement which says as follows: “you and you alone can salvage your life. You and you alone can walk the path. No one else can do it for you.”

This made me think of how dependent I am of the opinion of the others, of the life style that is promoted by the others. What importance I put into living the life according to the rules that were created by our contemporary consumptionist society. Why? Because it is more convenient for me to live in oblivion of my own needs, to adapt to everything, ignorant of my own individuality.

Why? Because I don’t want to be different, I want to be one of many, a part of something bigger than an individual isolated particle. The need to fulfill my sense of belonging makes me ignorant of my own self.  And in the long run I am glad, because I know that somewhere out there exist people that can finish a sentence for me, people that will emit the same amount of ignorance directed towards certain issues as I do.

I can talk for hours about today’s awful teenagers choosing to remain ignorant of sociological context that is usual an important marker, and of providing any kind of solution – that is my ignorance, I accept it, and I know that there are many people that I can share it with.

Healthy? For sure human …

Apart from this unifying qualities are there any other “blessings” of ignorance? Well, many thinkers and researchers attribute their best performance to this paramount moment when they realise the vastness of their ignorance. Thus, ignorance is considered to be the first important step in education. An American philosopher Will Durant claims that “education is a progressive discovery of your own ignorance.”

Being conscious of how much each and every of us has yet to learn or discover is as essential as learning process itself. It makes us want to aim higher, reach for more, learn more efficiently. It simply keeps our mental self in shape. The need to know more and to go out of the shadow of one’s own ignorance stands behind our educational motivation.

So, after all, is ignorance a blessing or a curse? I leave the answer to you …