The reason I hate ignorance is because it’s the opposite of inquisitiveness.
Inquisitiveness is the reason you and I are both here today, reading this blog. Monkeys bashed rocks against coconuts and early humans rubbed sticks together until they got warm — that’s why we’re here. The world we live in is made of energy, a force that comes in forms too numerous to list but one thing is certain: we haven’t discovered them all yet. If it wasn’t for scientists poking around at the universal fundament we’d still be hefting rocks into the air and giggling like children as they, yet again, fall to the ground.
The difference between ignorance and inquisitiveness is the number of times you fly a kite in an electrical storm. The ignorant man flies it just once and gets scared off by a near-death experience. The inventor, the thinker, flies it twice, thrice, four times, discovering a new form of energy in the process and thus enlightening the whole of humanity.
There’s a reason the stereotypical image of the inventor is ruddy-faced and static-haired with their goggle-sized glasses askew: their appearance doesn’t matter. Straightening your spectacles can damn well wait until after your appointment with particle physics! When you’re tearing apart reality to find out what makes it tick there are more important concerns than when you last ate. For the scientist, learning the hows and the whys are all that matters; personal safety — mental and physical — is a fleetingly unimportant notion.
The more I think about it, the more my hatred for ignorance grows. Every time I hear about or see yet another ignorant pissant, another monkey-faced bigot, it’s like throwing kindling onto a very virulent, white-hot fire that’s sitting underneath my ass.
I hate ignorance. It’s very, very close to stupidity, another thing I am not so fond of.
Ignorance is in the same vein as refusing to learn because you think you already know everything. It’s the gathering of just one working set of data, a singular, monofaceted education and the righteous, indignant refusal to admit any other viewpoint as valid. They say ignorance is bliss — they, not me, not us — ‘Here’s my view of the world: accept it or get lost.’ God shaped this banana; the world is round; all men are pigs; drugs are bad for you. Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant.
Rationally, it’s impossible to know everything, so why do people claim otherwise? Why is there a sizable subsection of society that thinks it’s wise or intelligent to stick to their poorly-educated guns? Why are there goons that will deny new research and rational arguments all the way to their shallow, but wide, graves?
I think it must be an innate human coping mechanism: we tend to glorify our traits, even if they’re negative. We exagerate stories until they contain just a grain of reality. We revel in aberration, we justify and pass it off as ‘human nature’: how did it become cool to pass out from alcohol poisoning?
Our most powerful drive though, the one that seals the deal, is the requirement to be right, the necessity to win the argument. There’s a facet of our genetic makeup that forces us to be right, even if it involves altering our, or other people’s, view of reality to make it so. The problem is, it’s the same trick of the mind that grants us the ability to ‘stick to our guns’. Only it’s called stubbornness and not ignorance when you put it like that.
And therein lies the problem: stubornness — inflexibility, implacibility, remorselessness, whatever you call it — is a good trait in most circumstances. Did Caesar march into nigh-impossible battles because he was ignorant of the risks? No, of course not: he was simply a genius that hated to lose. And he never did.