Willful Ignorance

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by jmpet, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. jmpet Valued Senior Member

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    Whether you are a priest, politician or policeman, you have signed up for willingful ignorance: the closing off of one mental state to reinforce another.

    I would like to open this fanciful topic to you folks to absorb and respond to.
     
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  3. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    Um, we all are.
    We're human, and not all that bright.
    We all have to choose a mindset and live with it. Therefore shutting out other ones.
     
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  5. Nocturnumbra ... Registered Senior Member

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    Personally, I don't think that there's any real choice involved in the mindset we live with, but I would agree with the rest. I suppose I'd draw here a distinction between willful ignorance and (willful) idiocy, as I don't think willful ignorance is quite as big of a problem. I'd also add that it's not just mindsets...all situations work like this. Every time you choose one option, you're ultimately closing the door on all other options. Of course, often times you can go back and choose what seems like the same option as one you didn't choose before, but it's never quite the same option.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
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  7. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    We don't have a choice in our mindset?

    What makes you say this?

    Please elaborate.
     
  8. Nocturnumbra ... Registered Senior Member

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    What I meant by "mindset" was the way you make up your choices. While your choices do eventually become factors to help you decide things in the future, you ultimately don't choose how you choose things.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  9. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    How do you not choose to choose? :shrug:
     
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Apparently the common denominator here is that these different professions (priest, politician, policeman) represent authority figures in some people's eyes. So fanciful cognitive and moral defects are projected onto them by those who don't like authority.

    I think that happens a lot these days. There are cultural critics who have made their entire professional careers around doing it.

    In my own experience, willful ignorance is an equal-opportunity affliction. I haven't noticed any greater prevalence among priests, politicians or policemen than among anyone else, ranging from store clerks and factory workers to scientists and university professors.

    Some of the most willfully ignorant people that I've ever encountered were scientists/professors opining about matters outside their area of expertise that they obviously knew very little about (and didn't care to study).
     
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    And people who work as soldiers have let themselves be manipulated into killing others?
     
  12. NietzscheHimself Banned Banned

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    Making jobs for the ignorant to control the barbarians is the only way to balance the system. Provide jobs for all the people who can't get into college and all they have to do is risk their lives providing a little expedited Darwinism along the way.
     
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I think that we do have some choice in designing our own take on the world. But we don't have total freedom.

    Just about all of our raw experience needs to be interpreted so that it will fit into some conceptual scheme. And the principles of interpretation have to come from somewhere, as does the scheme itself. That source is typically the culture that we were raised in and the resources of the language that we speak.

    We obviously have quite a bit of freedom in choosing our principles and tailoring our schemes to fit our desires. But I'd question whether we can ever throw off our entire mode of thinking purely through an act of will.

    A medieval person is going to think like a medieval person in lots of ways. He or she is going to interpret physical events as signs and portents and perhaps not so much as the workings of mechanistic causality. He or she is probably going to have a radically different vision of social relationships. That's powerful stuff, and I don't think that people in 1011 CE possessed the ability to modernize themselves then and there by a pure act of will, by simply choosing to view things as we do in 2011.

    Maybe if they were transported to 2011 by a time-machine and then slowly acculturated, slowly introduced to our way of thinking about things, perhaps they could do it. But they would need outside help.

    It makes you wonder what happens when tribesmen from the highlands of New Guinea end up in a modern city. Their failure to acculturate and their high rates of alcoholism and social dependency are probably predictable. Asking somebody to suddenly change how they think about... everything... is probably just too big a leap for many people to manage.
     
  14. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    That would depend upon the education they would receive before they are brought to the city and exactly what they are taught would be paramount in their ability in comprehending their new environments. Anyone can be taught because everyone can learn, if they want to, and become more aware of things that once they knew little about. You can't just give a little education to someone and expect them to become acclimated to a new way of thinking overnight, it takes time and perseverance which many people would rather not give. That's a reason Native Americans, as just one example, weren't helped. Those in charge wanted them to change overnight but they weren't educated, they were murdered and genocide was thrust upon them. The people in charge didn't want to take the time to reeducate the Native Americans because time was money and to eradicate them was faster and cost less than education. I would rather educate than eradicate but I'm not a wealthy industrialist that only wants profits.
     
  15. Nocturnumbra ... Registered Senior Member

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    I never said that one does not choose to choose...only that one does not choose how they choose things. It doesn't really matter whether or not one has the ability to choose to choose...because it either applies to everybody or nobody in the same way. Basically, it's just in how you define it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  16. Lori_7 Go to church? I am the church! Registered Senior Member

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    the bible says that willful ignorance is evil. turning a blind eye so to speak. i don't remember the scripture, but i remember a friend citing it once.
     
  17. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    I guess you could say we could be willfully ignorant to other proffessions as a
    dedication to our chosen one. But is that actually ignorance or good intelligence?

    jan.
     
  18. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    Well said jan.

    The entire problem with the OP is that it assumes complete knowledge is somehow attainable...
     
  19. NietzscheHimself Banned Banned

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    You could know everything that is known to be known... your head might fall off, but the combine knowledge we have today will someday be in the mind of a fifteen year old..
     
  20. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    Until one second later...
     
  21. jmpet Valued Senior Member

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    To be a Priest, you need to turn your back on all other faiths and for that matter, most of science. To be a Politician, you have to see things from your party's position- ignoring or speaking against the opposition. To be a Policeman you have to be willing to arrest pot smoking cancer patients. They all come with a degree of willful ignorance.

    Perhaps I like sitting on the fence because from there you can see both sides of things. But most people are willing to be bought and sold heart and soul for acceptance.
     
  22. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    I think that's the goal of Zen, actually...look at things with no preconceptions. A thing is a thing.

    But Yazata is correct, most of us less acheived people slot stuff into conceptual frameworks. It is possible to remodel that or chuck it out.

    I'm not a Christian anymore, I'm not an Atheist anymore, I'm not an Anarcho-syndicalist anymore, I'm not terribly judgmental anymore.

    I see a lot of people who have hurt others and are trying to not be that person anymore...and so I am a lot less willing to condemn than I used to be, and a lot more willing to believe in redeemability in some cases.
     
  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I think you are projecting, heavily. Namely, it might take you to be bought and sell heart and soul for acceptance to a particular group or profession - but that does not mean that everyone who stands for something has sold themselves.

    Some people truly stand for what they claim to stand for.

    Others have various other reasons for doing what they do, not necessarily an overwhelming desire to belong to a particular group even though they don't feel any real connection to it.
    For example, some may do it for the money, others do it because currently, it just seems like the best or the only thing they can do.


    You seem to think that the real position of any person is to be neutral, to not belong anywhere, to be general, to not be anything specific; and that standing for something, performing a job, belonging to a particular group can only come with a considerable degree of "willful ignorance".

    But I don't think people are like that. Most people are born with specific predispositions for certain kinds of work, and most people are born into some kind of social group to which they have some sense of belonging.


    If anything, the OP's position is that of an outcast who has tried to belong, but failed at that, and is now sour-graping.
     

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