Why we stay ignorant in the age of knowledge

The most pointless argument I have ever had was when a Facebook friend decided that she knew enough about the topic at hand after reading the title of an article whose link I had shared. She wrote a long emotional comment in reaction to the article and even made assumptions about the author.

When I pointed out that her comment was ill-informed, she proclaimed that she hadn’t bothered to read the article. She said it with an air of arrogance. It went downhill from there.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Countless times, I have read comments on social media from people who form opinions about matters without bothering to educate themselves first. And for a while, I have been wonderingwhy people continuously choose ignorance in the age of knowledge. But now I know.

I know that we are in the age of self-centeredness. We are all about “me” and “my happiness”and “I don’t care what people think.” As a result, we are in constant pursuit of selfish endeavors. In the end most people won’t educate themselves on things that don’t directly affect them.

They are happy to download, watch, dispense and discuss long videos about pointless public scandals. But they won’t be drawn to a two-minute video about a social justice cause.

Another reason why people choose ignorance is because they are so inflexible and egotistic that they would rather be right than enlightened. I once had an aspiring suitor whose response to the plethora of information on the dangers of unhealthy eating habits was: “Doctors don’t know everything.”

And he blatantly refused to see the positive correlation between his frequent episodes of illness and his lifestyle choices. My attempts at enlightening him were met with emotional outbursts.

And that’s the other problem. This is the age in which emotions are worn on the sleeve. We are easily triggered into outrage, depression, excitement, affection and lust. People are happy to convince themselves that they love someone whose surname they don’t know.

And as Selena Gomez rightly put it in her song “The heart wants what it wants”, people now want to you to “save your advice ‘coz I don’t care” when they are supposedly in love.

Despite all the evidence about the world becoming an increasingly dangerous place,people are still willing to go home with strangers in the dead of night, to marry strangers because emotions are high.

We also choose to stay ignorant because we are too lazy to engage in due diligence. Technology has made everything easy. Information that was once hard to obtain is available like the air we breathe.

So we see no point in putting in extra effort. We don’t read educational social media posts because they are too long. We have graduates asking “okay but how do I apply for the job? Please call me (insert telephone number).” Yet the post clearly provides a link for application.

But most of all, we choose ignorance in the age of knowledge because the simple but profound statement “knowledge is power” has surprisingly not yet sunk in.