Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ignorance and Darkness

"The ignorance and darkness that is in us, no more hinders nor confines the knowledge that is in others, than the blindness of a mole is an argument against the quicksightedness of an eagle." - John Locke.

Unfortunately, he was not entirely right. Maybe at the time he wrote this, he hit his mark. Today? Well, things change, often for the worse.

The problem with ignorance today is that it not only hinders and confines knowledge, it obscures the truth. It spreads like hot tar, and darkens everything it touches. Or to paraphrase my husband, it spreads like a venereal disease. (If you've been to Cobwebs of the Mind, no Teddy is not my husband. He just liked the phrase and used it because it fits so perfectly.)

Just a few instances where ignorance has spread:
  • librarians are now talking about banning that awful middle-grade novel... you know the one that mentions a "scrotum". Apparently knowing the proper term for a body part is wicked.
  • people still think the use of a swastika or something closely resembling a swastika is cool (or rad or whatever), and other people think that's just hunky-dory because it's only a symbol. Umm... Yeah. Sure it was only a harmless symbol once upon a time, but that time has long passed. It means something really really REALLY nasty now. Stop using it.
  • DDT is still banned because of one stupid book. See here. Millions have died of malaria/west nile/etc. because some wacko-chick decided decades ago to fudge her data. (Ignorance really had a field day because of this, and it spread like wildfire across not only this nation but most of the world.)

See? Ignorance is being used to obscure the truth. Now, I don't have a problem with ignorance in general. Not everyone can know everything all the time. If we did, we'd all be friggin' geniuses. But when ignorance passes itself off as knowledge, then it stops people from actually seeking out the real knowledge. You have a question, you get the answer, and you stop looking asking the question. Right?

And the darkness of stupidity reigns.

(Anybody seen Diogenes lately? I could use his lantern.)


Anissa said...

Speaking of the swastika, I had an interesting incident a few years back. Hubby's little sister likes to write poetry and is into different stuff. So I found these cool hemp journals online. Three to a set, they had natural hemp covers with a bead on each, and some unique kind of paper. I ordered her a set.

When then arrived, I opened up the package to check them out. Two out of the three beads were swastikas. I called to return them and was told I could not as they weren't defective.

The poor little fellow I talked to kept having to put me on hold to tell his manager what I was saying. Stupid manager refused to speak to me. He relayed this message through his peon. "They were made in some foreign country. Maybe that symbol means something good there."

My response? "I don't care what they mean elsewhere. Here, where we live, and throughout the civilized world they mean something hugely offensive. I can't believe they you're selling them in the first place."

Long rant ensued, through the poor little guy who kept telling me how sorry he was.

No return, but we left a review of the item. Wouldn't you know it never made it onto the website.

Sometimes people purposefully perpetuate ignorance. It's absurd.

Sorry for the long post...

Therese said...

With you all the way on this! Especially your point on how people who think they have all the answers stop asking questions--and spread misinformation to others, who take it on faith.

Reminds me of politics...

But no time to rant, I have to get back to my WIP. :-)

Thanks for this straight-shooting, thoughtful post.