I thought it would be illuminating to list the vices that were, in my book, much worse than the traditional seven deadly sins. They are the result of a perspective fueled by the vicissitudes of postmodern culture – one that absorbs and progresses past the traditions of Christianity and the tenets of modernity.
I have already blogged on a related field: stupidity. In addition to a factor of suffering, ignorance is the uncritical assumption that one’s knowledge is good enough and the unknown is not worth knowing. When a problem arises, we are quick to blame others before we look at our own lack of knowledge or understanding, that it is limited. Ignorance is more than the absence of knowledge — it also consists of a characteristic of indifference, an apathetic attitude that only reinforces self-deception regarding what one already knows. Being ignorant means you have no point of view, and do not deserve a place at the table of discussion.
Naturally, it stands to reason that it’s better to know than not, but at the same time a general apathy has infected our culture to the point that it’s not cool to know too much about anything. Yes & that leads to the absurd position that its better not to know too much, or be seen as a nerd. This also may be a variant of the traditional belief that ignorance is a virtue in order to accept authority; thus knowledge is dangerous. As a result we don’t grow, evolve, learn new things — merely await marching orders from our superiors.
The tree of knowledge of good and evil was the original forbidden fruit & only spineless saps fearful of change & the unknown bought that myth lock, stock and barrel. In this age of proliferation there should be some corner you must master. Schooling isn’t enough. There must be a desire to learn that stays with you for the rest of your life. Ignorance is only at best a starting position, provisionally, to investigate the rich mystery of life. It is okay not to know, but it’s not okay to stay in your comfort zone.
“The fruit of good conduct is pure & untainted, they say, but… ignorance the fruit of dark inertia. From lucidity knowledge is born; … from dark inertia come negligence, delusion & ignorance.” — The Bhagavad Gita: Krishna’s Consul
Knowledge liberates. Ignorance enchains.
7 thoughts on “New Seven Deadly Vices: Ignorance”
Great use of a Calvin and Hobbes comic.
I fully agree with most of the points you make but I do want to make a comment on the point regarding it being "not cool to know too much about anything". I can see where you're coming from with that point given how media portrays the issue but it's mainly a misrepresentation from the real world. Perhaps it's because I spend my time around academics but people with specialized or elite knowledge are usually well accepted. Perhaps this is limited to certain demographics but I don't see that at all in the real world.
Anyway, great read as always. How many more vices do you think you'll write about?
My comment about "cool" is probably due to my personal experience growing up as a know-it-all. I sublimated the knowledge just enough to be a wiseacre, so I avoided the "nerd" tag for the most part.
It's true that the stigma of knowledge isn't uniform everywhere, but there's a general distrust of intellectuals in America that's pretty exclusive, and doesn't really exist elsewhere. That attitude translate to an arrogant belief in self-determination that also includes ignorance.
I'll be blogging the other six vices, hopefully once a day!
Have you seen the perception of "knowledge" not being "cool" change as you age? For whatever reason, I can only imagine such a concept being apparent in middle school, high school, and perhaps the beginning of college. I don't see it at all in the real world but that might be because I only interact with young intellectuals and people over 40. Then again, perhaps my view on the subject is limited because of who I see on a daily basis?
It is true that in the smaller circles I travel in, the educated, knowledge has immense value and is respected. But how much of that is an elitist attitude that prevents us from traveling anywhere outside those circles?
The question becomes, do we want to venture out of our circles? =P
Nah, I see where you're coming from but I think to venture out of your circle, you need to find some common ground between you and the other party. It's extremely difficult for both sides to come together when they have nothing in common. And it's even harder when one of them is ignorant and not willing to see things eye to eye (or however the situation plays out) like your post mentions.
I agree with a lot of points in your post. I consider "cool" is an ability to know all well no matter how it is difficult. Anyway thanks for your points of view. Really useful and valuable for me!
Thank you for responding, and your agreement.
Your judgment that knowledge is "cool," is, well, cool. 🙂 We can be friends!