“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than
sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
~Martin Luther King
Some ignorance is bliss. Like when you don’t know something that your child did but it was all worked out and you find out ten years later and are mortified, but realize that everyone survived and lessons were learned without you having to be the key interventionist. There’s an element of bliss in that. Or when you don’t know about a meeting that you were supposed to go to but didn’t really want to go to but would have gone had you known. Or ignorance is bliss when you get to walk in sweet oblivion of conflict that doesn’t concern you and it’s all worked out by the time you get wind that there was even an issue in the first place. Or ignorance can be bliss when you have little awareness of the price of something and you just get to enjoy the beauty without the expense.
Yes, some ignorance is bliss. It frees from responsibility for a lack of awareness. But some ignorance is not bliss. It’s downright dangerous. Ignorance that moves to quick judgements and rash words is dangerous. Ignor-ance that ignores principles of respect, truths, consequences and makes blanket statements that rile the masses…this kind of ignor-ance is lethal. People die because of words. Not even just the ideas behind the words. They die because of ignorant reactions to the words. They die because of perceptions that might or might not even be consistent with what the words were intended to mean in the first place.
Seems to me the most dangerous “ignorants” are those who don’t even know that they are. People who make rash decisions without thoughtful consideration or contemplation or education (not formal, just a desire to learn) are often those who are the most extreme…because balance takes into consideration views other than our own. Balance comes with a weighing of more than one side. Balance comes with awareness of variables outside of our own sphere of importance. Ignor-ance IGNORES. It becomes more and more extreme the further it gets from being aware of views that differ from it’s own.
There are good things to overlook in life. But there are basic rights that should never be overlooked. In a country that calls itself “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”, there should be freedom to speak and stand. Brave stands up for the oppressed, but doesn’t glorify that which is making them oppressed. Acceptance of diversity is different than a glorification of differences. That builds walls once again. To me, “Brave and Free” are balanced. “Brave” guards, protects, …”Free” accepts and respects. The walls they build are to protect, the walls they tear down are to accept.
It’s hard to stare into the trauma of all that is going on in the world. And it’s crazy, because we can literally do that in this day and age….Through social media we have a birds eye view (or skewed representation) of things going on all over the world. Good things. Terrible things. Like the ignorance that is bliss, some can be ignored. But some things…some injustices should never be ignored. Ignorance is like darkness in which extreme views breed and grow and thrive. Awareness is a turning on of the light that dispels the dark views. It’s calling things what they are while still having the heart to protect and accept… It’s having the courage to not just see, but to speak words that protect and accept balanced views that protect and accept human rights.
Teeter-totters are children’s playground gems. Up and down, up and down, up and down they go. And in the middle is a fulcrum, a strong base on which the teeter totter rests. May we become fulcrums in a world with extreme disparities that serve as eyes and ears that listen before speaking, see before reacting, and consider before counteracting. May we turn the light on the darkness of ignorance and avoidance. May we not turn away when it’s too hard, but be tenacious in our determination to keep the light turned on.
I do not want to be ignorant…therefore, I can’t ignore injustice. And it’s rampant in the streets. And people are dying…not just physically. Some ideas and philosophies are so full of hate that it’s my view that they’re eating people from the inside as well. As a Christ-follower, I must hold tight to the belief that God is love and calls us to love Him and love others. Period. No room for narrow-minded views that plow over and trample people under their feet (or tires). No room at all. Hate kills. It kills. And giving credence and tolerance to ideologies that kill is dangerous and ignorant because it ignores the power that hate has. Because hate has power. We’ve seen it through history.
I know there are no easy answers. Just giving my two cents to scratch the surface, and lighting my one little candle. Because I know that one candle plus one candle plus one candle ….makes a thousand candles and a flood of light. This darkness is not gonna thrive in the perimeter of my little light because I aspire to be a lot of things…but never, never ignorant. And the world needs light. Who’s to say what impact a little light can have, even for a person who’s full of hate? Who knows what a little light can do. Yes, the world needs light shed on darkness. The temptation is to fight hate with hate. Doesn’t work. Just makes more darkness. And the world desperately needs people to stand with their lights turned on. Darkness cannot be ignored, but light…light won’t be ignored. Light changes how everything is seen.
I started out with a MLK Jr. quote that was new to me. But this quote is one of my favorites, and a go to for me at times. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” One candle at a time.