on the freedom to be ignorant…

I have to admit this post was inspired by a friend, who put into words something I’ve been trying to explain for a long time.

He said: “The freedom to be ignorant is one of the most prized American rights”

We’re all ignorant. To say that we’re not would be completely inaccurate. Not because we’re not smart, or book clever, or know a lot about a specific issue. Nope, we’re all ignorant because we know close to nothing in the grand scheme of things. And admitting that, while it might make us feel small, is the first step to fighting ignorance.

You’ll always have people who think they know everything. I actually think life would be a little dull without them. But it’s the people who know nothing–and refuse to learn–that really bother me. I’ve witnessed this several times, particularly when talking about geography or politics. It’s okay to not know where a country is…up until very recently, I didn’t know what the Ural Mountains were, and I definitely could not place them on a map. But I got curious, and now I can.

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The Ural Mountains. They look like something out of a Lord of the Rings movie!

But a lot people couldn’t care less. They won’t know where something is, and their argument for not knowing will be something along the lines of “Oh it doesn’t matter. Why do I need to know that? It’s not like I’m ever going to travel there.”

How do they know what the future holds? The world is not only filled with ignoramuses….It’s filled with psychic ignoramuses!

We have all sorts of technology at our fingertips. Smart phones, laptops, libraries filled with books… The information is out there for those who want it. And it’s not like you have to read through piles of old books to find things, either. A simple google search will turn up thousands of results on whatever you’re looking for.

So why do people choose to remain “blissfully” ignorant of things?

Knowledge is power. The more we know, the more we can accomplish. Why would someone not be curious about the world we live in? I don’t ever plan on traveling to the Ural Mountains, but I can’t predict the future, and I’m sure as hell not going to let someone make me feel as if knowing that little bit of information is pointless. Somehow, society has found a way to deem certain pieces of information useless. As if there is some higher power that decides what is useful to us, and what never will be.

Where is the curiosity to go further than just whatever they teach you at school, or in college? We let professors impart their opinions on us, and sometimes we adopt them without so much as a second thought.

Today I learned that the 57 on the Heinz ketchup bottle represents the number of varieties of pickles the company once had. Is this useless information? To some, probably. I never knew what the 57 stood for, and now I do. And that, I think, makes me a little bit of a better person.

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