Fifteen years ago, I received a Bachelor of Nescience degree from the International University of Nescience in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. Nescience, for those who don’t know, (he says, chuckling to himself) is the study of Ignorance. I guess my University realized that the word Nescience was far more likely to encourage enrollment in the program than would the word Ignorance. A Bachelor of Ignorance Degree doesn’t really do much for a resume, not that a Degree in Nescience is worth anything, but it does sound a whole lot cooler.
The International University of Nescience, may not be too well known, but it does bill itself as “The Leader in Agnostic Education Since the Second Millennium.” Truth be told, the degree was not that difficult to obtain. The only exam was a one-question online test. The question was “Does God exist?” A “Yes” or “No” answer got you kicked out of the school. “I don’t know” was the only acceptable answer. I got it right. So, now, armed with that prestigious degree and the 15 years of subsequent research I’ve done on the subject, I think I am qualified to write a little bit about Ignorance.
First of all, there is a big difference between being unaware or uninformed and being ignorant. Google defines Ignorance as lack of knowledge or information, but I strongly disagree (and remember, I have a degree in the field). My favorite definition of Ignorance comes from Frio937, who states that “Ignorance is when someone assumes that the knowledge they have obtained is correct, regardless of knowledge presented to them.” An ignorant person doesn’t necessarily lack knowledge or information, they just stubbornly hold firmly to their beliefs, even when presented with a mountain of information to disprove those beliefs. That is why, despite the tremendous increase in information available today via the Internet and other sources, Ignorance is actually growing. Fortunately, Frio937 was also able to explain this irony to me. “Ignorance is growing because information is changing so fast that people are becoming stubborn like rocks in a river, refusing to update their knowledge.”
I’ll admit it. I’m guilty. With very few exceptions, I am ignorant of the popular music in the 21st Century. I have stubbornly refused to listen to the stations playing today’s music and I cling to the Oldies Stations playing hits of the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. Why? Because I feel that the music of my youth was the best music ever, and I refuse to update that knowledge. Some of today’s music might be far superior to ooh eee ooh ahh ahh ting tang walla walla bing bang, but I’ve been ignoring it. I’ve also dug in my heels on MP3s. In my lifetime, we’ve had 78 rpm records, reel-to-reel tapes, 45 and 33 & 1/3 rpm records, 8-track tapes, cassette tapes, CD’s, and MP3s. I stopped with MP3s and I didn’t care what they come out with next. I’m not buying it. Years ago, I consciously chose to ignore MP4s, MP5s, music on the cloud, or whatever direction music should take in the future.
Ignorance is a choice, and by definition, those who wish to remain ignorant on a subject can do so no matter how much information is available to the contrary. There are many political things that can be debated, but political debate is not likely to change anyone’s mind, especially if they have already made their decision and locked it in – Final Answer. If you have an opinion on one of the big issues such as Global Warming, the Death Penalty, Abortion, Religion, or Gun Control, most likely you locked in your opinion and then eagerly entered a state of Ignorance. Almost nobody can present an argument that will ever make you change your mind. Any information that doesn’t support your idea is quickly discarded, because to accept that information would force you to think about what you choose to ignore. Ignorance on both sides of issues have polarized us as a nation. People don’t seek out new information as much as “echo chambers” that confirm their opinions. They follow the stations which slant the news in the direction they prefer. Liberals get their news from MSNBC. Conservatives watch Fox News. I get my news from Comedy Central, because I’d rather laugh at what’s going on than take this world seriously.
How can we overcome this gridlock? We can acknowledge that we have become ignorant and listen with an open mind to what others with opposing opinions have to say. Of course, that won’t be easy. It might even be impossible for some. Remember, you don’t necessarily have to change your opinion. You just have to listen to opposing opinions with an open mind. Don’t try tackling the big issues right away. Start with the easy ones. I know that I’m ignorant of what’s going on in pop music, so I just listened to some of the top pop songs of 2017:
Lady Gaga – The Cure, Shawn Mendez – There’s Nothing Holding Me Back, Clean Bandit – Symphony, Anne-Marie – Ciao Adios, Dua Lipa – Be the One, Ed Sheeran – Shape of You, Ed Sheeran – Castle on the Hill, Little Mix – Touch, J P Cooper – September Song, Katy Perry – Chained to the Rhythm, Zara Larsson – I Would Like, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Human, and Camila Cabella and Machine Gun Kelly – Bad Things
I didn’t like all of them, but I have to admit that some I really enjoyed. I realized that I have missed out on some good music by ignoring all the music of this century. So, little by little, I’m working on eliminating some of my ignorance.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,