Lifelong Learning

When did people start taking pride in ignorance?

College isn’t for everybody. Some people do everything they can to get out of school as quickly as possible. And that’s okay. No one ever said that everyone should have a degree.

There’s no shame in manual labor. There’s no shame in never having attended college. Everyone has a different expertise. Once you find your place in the world, as long as you are comfortable and happy there, there’s no reason to feel like you should be something different.

(Although, that doesn’t preclude making a change later in your life. Things change. Life changes you.)

But when did it become a point of pride to be ignorant? When did people stop listening to experts in their fields? When did people start to turn a blind eye to ugly truths just because they didn’t fit in with their worldview?

I guess that’s always been the case to a certain extent. Confirmation bias. We’re told things at a young age by people we trust, and we don’t want to change those comforting beliefs.

So, we plug our ears and close our eyes and choose to push out the facts that oppose our long-cherished notions. We don’t want anyone to change our minds.

I get it. I hate it when things I believed to be true are found not to be. Why else would people fight so hard to continue to call Pluto a planet?

(Pluto hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s still a big ol’ rock orbiting our sun way the heck out there. All that’s changed is its label.)

The problem is, those in power count on this. It’s how they stay in power. They coddle the ignorant, telling them what they want to hear so that they’ll continue to keep them in power. These people want power, only care about power, and will betray anyone once they have that power. And they’ll fight tooth and nail to hold on to their privilege.

So, they’ve told the populace to revel in their ignorance. The people don’t need to know things. The people just need to trust those with power. Those on their side. The people don’t need to think. The people in power will do all the thinking for them.

Don’t be sheep. Question authority. Question “your” side as rigorously as you question the “other”. If “your” side can’t take the questions, maybe there’s a problem there.

Read. Think. Learning isn’t about schooling. All schooling can do is broaden your horizons, but if you recognize your limitations, you can overcome them.

The scariest thing to those in power is a population that’s paying attention, questioning them, and making decisions based on their best interests. Make them scared.

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...


  1. I agree. Learning isn't confined to school. Learning can occur anywhere... in a park, on a walk along the river... LIfe is an adventure and there is always more to learn!

  2. Yes. To all of this. You are so timely with this, PBS Newshour has contributed!

  3. It started in the 80s and has really targeted GenXers. It's sad.

    1. Which is weird as I'm a GenXer and I value learning.

    2. Me, too, but the whole positivity movement and doing what you feel really took off in the 80s. How you felt about something began becoming more important than the facts about the thing.


Post a Comment