Thomas Edison said: “Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
This is about willful ignorance, the state of brutal bliss which explains why most of you have chosen to not think for yourself and let South Africa fall apart.
Politicians happily lie to the public, safe in the knowledge that the public would rather be stupid than change what they know. Selling fear of the unknown is ironically more powerful an aphrodisiac than selling truth and merit.
Willful ignorance is when a person knows the truth but chooses to ignore it. Or, as a more precise example, when a person chooses to have more faith in their beliefs than allow the opportunity for their intellect to prove them wrong. Willful ignorance, in the context of violent South Africa, is political religion choosing the colours of skin and parties over reasonable arguments and facts. The willfully ignorant refuse to acknowledge anything that does not pretend to agree with them, even if their world contradicts their position by falling apart around them.
“You can’t make people listen.
They have to come round in their own time,
wondering what happened
and why the world blew up around them.”
– Ray Bradbury
Before you automatically apply your inflexible DA versus ANC viewpoints, I use these examples:
- Gayla Benefield, a resident of the picaresque, small town of Libby in Montana, was shocked to find out that the mortality rate of her town was 80 times higher than the American average. She discovered asbestosis from the local mine, W.R. Grace and Company, to be the cause. The disease would go on to affect a third to half the town, killing over 400, including her parents. She, her husband and much of her extended family would get the disease. It would later be alleged that the mine had knowingly ejected 2,300kg of asbestos laced dust into the air daily for years. Furthermore, it was in the bark of firewood, in compost for gardens and used in the building of sports fields for schools. Benefield campaigned for 3 decades to expose the presence of the disease and the mine as the cause. She was vilified by her community and victims were labelled as liars extorting the company. Some took to putting bumper stickers on their cars saying, “I Don’t Have Asbestosis.” Their willful ignorance led to painful respiratory and cancerous deaths.
- There are variations but many Creationists believe Earth was made in 6 of our calendar days, 6000 years ago, Genesis is a historical account and humans lived amongst dinosaurs. Noah took pairs of every species aboard an Ark that Harry Potter would’ve been proud of (that’s millions of living and now extinct species). Willfully ignorant Creationists refuse science or reinterpret science so that it isn’t science, so as to maintain unprovable belief i.e. faith. This from people whose religion was allegedly transcribed by people who believed the earth was flat and that the stars revolved around them. Notably, more adaptable religions, for whatever reason, have realigned their beliefs so that the bible is a moral guide and their God, encompassingly, created science and evolution.
“Faith is the great cop-out,
the great excuse to evade the need
to think and evaluate evidence.
Faith is the belief in spite of, even perhaps because of,
the lack of evidence.”
― Richard Dawkins
It’s seen across South Africa (and particularly within my experience of trying to expose the crimes of the DA in Knysna) that detractors use insults instead of logic, and resort to double standards determined by whether or not the crime was committed by the political party they are affiliated too. There is no moral high ground, no right or wrong, just ANC versus DA or DA versus ANC hatred. Often this is based upon race.
So why do they do this? Why do many of you do this?
Rational Wiki states that “willful ignorance is a mechanism that actually protects the brain from becoming unable to function in situations that it just can’t handle.” I prefer the term “tactical stupidity” as the consequence of illogical action is as important as the action itself.
The second reason is conformity. “People tend to believe what those around them believe, and questioning those beliefs would lead to conflict and likely rejection, and as any insecure adolescent knows, the last thing one would want to happen is to be a social reject.”
Ayn Rand said: “The hardest thing to explain s the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.”
In the case of my town of Knysna, both reasons are extremely relevant, emphasised by financial status and fear. I’ve written over 300 000 words explaining my position on politics and crime in my town yet a detractor’s inelegant argument will be as empty of substantiation, debate and construction as, “Mike, you’re a cunt” or “You must be ANC”. As on News24’s comment sections and this blog, these preconceived personal beliefs (that are avoidance of evidence) tend to be fired from people with fake profiles, further diminishing their credibility and emphasising public participation devoid of substance.
Conservatism and bias is a regressive storm upon South Africa. A culture of hate-drenched, willful ignorance begs our destruction.
The greed of politicians and their corporate sponsors, and their abuse of public ignorance, is as self-fulfilling as the public’s self-destruction. It’s an uncanny state of affairs that breathes in the moment whilst killing the future.
“Sometimes we find ourselves
walking through life blindfolded,
and we try to deny
that we’re the ones who securely tied the knot.”
― Jodi Picoult
“No drug, not even alcohol,
causes the fundamental ills of society.
If we’re looking for the source of our troubles,
we shouldn’t test people for drugs,
we should test them for stupidity,
ignorance, greed and love of power.”
― P.J. O’Rourke
PS2: On a more personal note, I blogged ‘Small-minded Commentators Show South Africa’s True Colours’.
PS3: Thanks very much to the subscriber who shared the link to this video.‘How Willful Blindness Keeps Everyone Living a Lie’ is recommended viewing.