I can’t remember the first time I heard the phrase; Ignorance is bliss. I do remember for a long time I didn’t understand exactly what it meant. When I did understand, I thought it was somewhat comical. Images of people meandering about in this oftentimes dangerous world of ours happy as field larks, oblivious to what might befall them provided light-hearted relief to what many of us had to deal with in the real world. Now, at the age many consider to be elderly, I’ve come to realize that ignorance is a real and present danger.
I was reading an article in the paper this morning about the spread of the Delta variant of covid-19, and how it’s making headway in infecting considerable numbers of people in areas where there have been low numbers of vaccinations. One of those areas is the state in which I live, Arkansas. Far too many young people have chosen not to be vaccinated for God knows what reason. If they’re like a few young people I know, they probably think they’re impervious to the possibility of contracting covid-19. There are some people who are convinced that the vaccine is worse than the disease. Whenever I read about some people equating the covid-19 vaccines to experimentation the Nazis carried out on unsuspecting enemies of their state, I cringe to think just how ignorant that characterization sounds. I don’t know about you, but I fear this level of ignorance associated with a microscopic enemy that has taken the lives of almost 4,000,000 people globally as I write this piece.
For four years, ignorance in the United States has caused us to be in a state of division far worse than any time since the Civil War. In 2016, ignorance of many people in our country made them vulnerable to the flimflam talk and self-serving arguments of a would-be politician, who probably had never read the Constitution. People who needed help from the federal government were moved to vote against their own best interest. All it took was for them to hear about enemies from within and without; you know brown folks from south of the boarder and other folks who don’t look like them living next door. When people are sinking lower on the socio-economic ladder, they need information to make good decisions about their lives, not incendiary speeches that get them emotionally agitated to the point their ignorance morphs into stupidity.
This may not be an example of just how dangerous ignorance is but consider how it might have led you down a prim rose path if you believed it. P.T. is known for coining the phrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Consider this: Rochester Institute of Technology professor Nicholas DiFonzo described in his 2008 book The Watercooler Effect, that Barnum’s biography could not verify this attribution at all. Rather, it was likely that a banker named David Hannum from Syracuse, New York who said it. I don’t like writing blogs much longer than 500 words, so I invite you to look it up in the Library of Google.
I’ve seen many people in my lifetime who have allowed their ignorance to cut their lives short. The doctor says do this and your health will improve. They choose to follow some path that makes no sense at all, and they expire far sooner than the God they serve wanted them to. Speaking of God, misinterpretations of ancient scriptures, in all world religions, have caused untold amounts of hatred and so-called holy wars than I care to go into.
I think ignorance is too often dangerous and should be feared more. What do you think?
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.