By Richard Ray:
Ignorance is a word that is bandied about often. A definition of ‘ignorance” is lack of knowledge or information, but while I am not Merriam-Webster, I do think there is a distinct difference between ignorance and lack of knowledge.
I am formally educated. I went to a great high school. I was privileged to attend one of the world’s best and most recognized University’s. I went to law school and subsequently passed the bar, yet, what I do not know far surpasses anything I would claim to have knowledge of by such a huge margin it would be laughable if not the norm.
An education, even coupled with a wealth of great life experiences still leaves most of us on the deficit side of knowledgeable. It is okay not to know everything. There are so many layers and sides to so many issues that there is no real expectation that we should be knowledgeable about all (but that isn’t an excuse to know nothing).
Ignorance, however, is the pervasive and persistent continuation of lack of knowledge and information when you have the ability and resources to change that course.
Ignorance is a refusal to learn. Ignorance is a refusal to try and understand viewpoints other than your own. It is one thing to simply not know something and, it is entirely plausible that you do not understand what knowledge or information you are lacking. However, when it has been brought to your attention, refusal to look into something or otherwise further educate yourself, then transfers from a lack of knowledge to ignorance.
I am sure this falls within semantics, but lack of knowledge or information is a state of being. It may occur naturally. Ignorance is a proactive occurrence and one that takes place by choice. Technology may come with down sides, but one of the absolute positives is that information is literally at our fingertips.
So much of what I learned in school had little to do with the subject matter itself and more to do with the ability to learn. Pre-Google, I had to actually research matters, fact check and site sources to substantiate my thesis or arguments. I had to go to libraries and find books or microfilm. The process was time consuming and in no way do I miss it.
That type of research in order to learn basic information on subjects is totally unnecessary today. If anything, the real task is in trying to disseminate amidst all of the information that comes up at the touch of an icon. Too much information may be a challenge, but it cannot serve as an excuse for putting in the time to educate oneself.
The time excuse also holds little weight. I understand time is a valuable commodity in all of our lives, but taking time to better and educate yourself has to fall within the priority section of our lives. I am super busy, yet I learn something everyday, because it is so obvious that there are so many subjects I NEED to better understand.
The challenge of where do you choose to get your information is a fair one. The Internet lets the most unqualified of opinions create platforms and content totally unedited and unchecked. It is your responsibility to vet the credibility of your sources. Some have long track records, others, like the site you are presently reading, do not. It may take a little time, but you will be able to decipher trusted sources of information over time. For those of you that don’t read the news because you believe that the liberal media has biased agendas…that would fall under “ignorance”. Everything written is done so with a bias or agenda. Those words do not mean that the source of information is prohibitively unfair or untruthful. The bottom line is how do you know until you consistently read and educate yourself on a subject enough to know what is or is not true, and most importantly to be able to formulate an educated opinion on subjects that you are now actually familiar with.
We all lack knowledge to a degree. Those of us who continue, by choice, to stay uneducated and uninformed are the problem. That is ignorance… a proactive choice that should never be made especially with the wealth of resources available to us all.
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#knowledge, #ignorance, #learning, #empathy, #truth