Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ignorance is Dangerous

"Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.”
Thomas Jefferson

The start of a new year, and a good time to explore some life enhancing distinctions on how we create our world through what we learn, what we pay attention to, and what we ignore...

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't there more happy people?

It might seem obvious... but ignorance and stupidity are life denying and dangerous. They can kill you. At the very least, they severely impact your success and happiness.

Some of the dangers of ignorance are:
  • You can’t prepare
  • You can’t see what’s coming
  • It limits your choices and power
  • Amplifies consequences
  • Leads to more mistakes and greater costs

Whilst most people would agree with this, nevertheless, the majority of people are largely ignorant of the most important things and processes in their life. They don’t know how their mind, brain and body works. They don’t know how they unconsciously generate their own reality and happiness. They don’t know the enemies to their success and happiness. They can’t even articulate their values and core beliefs, let alone improve and refine them for greater success in their life.

Such ignorance means they end up living average and unhappy lives. They make stupid mistakes that cost them peace of mind. They bounce from failure to failure in their relationships, finances, careers and health. The outcome of this blog and upcoming posts and the skills you’ll gain from reading them is to change all of that. The first step is awareness. The next step is gaining and expanding your knowledge. Finally, through practice you’ll have achieved new skills and mastery.

Knowledge and choice provide power and control. By instilling in your unconscious mind a desire for learning, and a passionate move away repulsion of ignorance and deception, you can make an incredible and life enhancing difference to your happiness.

Denial of Reality - A Story

One of the most life denying enemies to knowledge and happiness involves denial of reality. While philosophers might argue over it, for the rest of us, reality exists and denying or ignoring any part of that reality can cause problems and issues in your life.

A great story that shows the futility of denial is the one about the guys driving across the desert. They drive and drive and eventually run out of fuel and become dangerously stranded in a barren and hostile environment, miles from help. The passenger looks at the fuel gauge, which is still sitting on full, and asks the driver “Hey, how come we’re out of fuel?” The driver turns to his stranded companion and says “Yeah, I don’t understand it, I disconnected the wires from the gauge, and it’s still showing a full tank. We should still have plenty of fuel!

What foolishness you might think. What craziness! Yet, how many people live their lives exactly like that. They delete and distort their model of the world; deliberately ignoring facts and evidence ‘til the consequences impact their lives so painfully that they can no longer deny their reality. How many people ignore the evidence of infidelity in their relationships? Or the warning signs of failure in other areas of their lives? The indicators of ill health or financial difficulties for example.

It reminds me of another story, a very real story. One of my father’s work colleagues, we’ll call him ‘Old Bill’ had an excavator, a large machine used for digging dirt and soil. It was a very expensive machine and was the main component of his business. One day he was servicing it. He had the side of the machine open, when the phone rang and he had to leave it and take the call. When he returned, he saw some kids running away and noticed some sand and gravel sticking to the edge of the opening into the side-case of the machine.

Now I have to explain that this particular machine is filled with very expensive and complex hydraulic motors and pumps and sand in the internals would destroy them in a matter of seconds. Well, Old Bill decided that it would be a huge amount of work to strip down the machine and clean out any sand, if the kids had thrown it into the machine. So he figured he’d just ignore the evidence and pretend that nothing had happened. He finished the service, re-assembled the machine and started it up.

In a matter of seconds, he heard terrible noises and the machine ground to a halt. The kids had definitely filled the side-cases with sand and gravel. Now not only was Old Bill faced with having to clean out the hydraulic system, he was also faced with the incredible expense of replacing all the pumps, lines, filters and motors. The machine was a wreck. His denial of reality caused him even more cost and delay than if he’d faced up to the truth from the start. This was a valuable lesson for both Old Bill, and for me when I heard it. Never ignore the facts. The facts are our friends.

Thinking Tools:

The facts are our friends!
Ignorance is NOT bliss. Ignorance is dangerous


As we've now seen, ignorance is NOT bliss! Ignorance is risky and dangerous. Ignorance can kill you! Lack of knowledge, stupidity and deception of yourself and others are all life denying and can destroy happiness and meaning in your life. Replace them immediately with a life enhancing desire for knowledge, wanton curiosity about your world and an ever increasing store of wisdom and skills. Remember: Knowledge brings choice and control.

And in coming blog posts we'll explore some more key skills and distinctions on how to embody learning and overcome the largely unconscious processes of ignore-ance.

life enhancing thoughts and wishes,
Grant

4 comments:

  1. So true, so true...

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  2. Though everything in this post is obvious to me, Grant, I'm glad I read it because I know the points are not obvious to a lot of people. I hope some of those head-in-the-sand-what-i-don't-know-can't-hurt-me types will read it, recognize themselves and come out of their fogs to live happier, more fulfilled lives. Good workk!

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  3. Ignorance is dangerous, is right. It is one of the two darkest forces in humanities history. The other? Fear! Ignorance causes Fear. Watch out for "THOSE" people, "THAT RELIGION" is trying to take over the world.... and so on. FEAR on the other hand causes ..... what? Well IGNORANCE of course. When you're afraid of "THOSE PEOPLE and THAT RELIGION, you have already made up your mind, you don't listen and learn about THOSE PEOPLE and THAT RELIGION, you SPREAD VISCOUS RUMOURS about THOSE PEOPLE and THAT RELIGION.... doing what? CAUSING MORE FEAR! So you see they insestuously feed one another and have been responsible for witch burning and genocides... so now you know just how DANGEROUS they are.

    Oh by the way... the Positive Imperative will tell you that takes ten times the effort and work, 'cause it's easy to be ignorant and in a constant state of fear and it invariably like dominoes does ten time the damage.

    The solution? EVOLVE, Lear, be open minded and educate and be educated!

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  4. Hey Victor, you are so so soooooo right. What a loop: ignorance -> fear -> ignorance and so on, looping the loop into a world of negativity. The life enhancing alternative is learning and educating -> sharing the learnings. A positive and generative strategy that makes the world a better place for everyone.

    Thank you so much for sharing your insights!

    smiles, Grant

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