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What is Ignorance?
Ignorance, they say, is the greatest disease. It is from two Latin words – ‘in’ which means ‘not’ and ‘gnarus’ meaning ‘knowing’. Literally, ignorance means ‘not knowing’. It is the condition of being uninformed, uneducated and unaware of the happenings in a place. It is the lack of understanding, learning, knowledge and knowing things that should be known. An ignorant man is like a blind and deaf man walking on a busy road. Ignorance is may be believed in some instances to be synonymous to stupidity, but that is wrong. To be stupid means to lack in intelligence or exhibit behaviours that lack intelligence.
Ignorance could be intentional or unintentional, voluntary or involuntary. Some people deliberately walk away from important news, facts and information while others are ignorant due to the latency of the required information. This is because some set of information are hidden, esoteric, inconspicuous and limited to people. We cannot totally blame this set of people for their ignorance because it is involuntary and unintentional. Some set of people are aware of their ignorance while some are not. The former seek to know better through browsing for information, asking people around them or going out of their convenience to sought out the obscure ideas and information, while the latter are those that do not know they are ignorant, they think they know, unfortunately, they lack in the knowing. They are the pompous ones when it comes to learning. They do not make clarifications on the things they believe they know, they are not ready to accept new ideas or ideas that are different from theirs, they hold on tight to their beliefs and do not shift a bit to disregard old ideas for new ones. They are difficult to convince and thus their act of ignorance is classified under voluntary ignorance. Sometimes, it is better to know nothing than knowing too much.
It is impossible for an ignoramus to survive in this global world. The world itself has remedies for ignorance. There are numerous technological means of getting enlightened e.g. phones, laptops, tablets, internet etc Information is now everywhere, Media houses, journalists, bloggers, writers are to be commended for reaching out to people and feeding them with the events going on. The Internet is a major information provider, cheap and accessible to all. Any doubts can be cleared and questions answered by the help of different search engines like the popular Goggle Search, Goggle Scholar, Wikipedia and others. Online Journals, Newspapers, articles, books, are not left out. Libraries, museums, information institutes are everywhere. Learning can be done by recording teachings, uploading them online and thereby making it easily accessible for everyone. You can be many miles away yet knowledge is very close to you.
Nothing good comes out of lation of intellect. It inhibits learning process. Many people are cheated because they do not know their fundamental rights. Ignorant people are taken advantage of by people that are informed and those that are aware of this weakness of ignorance. Children cheat their parents by asking exorbitant money for what does not exist all in the name of being a student, the ignorant parents will be eager and willing to give. Asking strangers met in the bank to help with the use of ATM cards who may get away with the victim’s savings. Many people fall in the hands of Internet fraudsters due to ignorance.
Another consequence of not getting informed is being punished for offenses that you should not be punished for or with minimal punishment. The law covers all rational acts and it does not exempt anybody of its punishment. There is no ignorance under the law – “ignorantia juris non excusat”. You get punished for any act whether you know of it to be an offense or not. Breaking traffic rules attracts punishment. People go to prisons as a result of ignorance. If you are new to a place, it is important to know the laws and regulations binding the members of that society.
Inability to contribute to the conversation or discussion of people about the recent news in town brings inferiority complex. Greater shame comes when you are unable to provide an answer to a question a ten year old child could answer boldly. People look down on naive people, they make jest of them. Information retarded people are not respected; they are seen as being stupid or local. Imagine a Nigerian citizen that is not sure of the name of the new president in Nigeria. Such people hide under excuse like them being busy or not having interest in politics.
Many people lose many employment opportunities due to ignorance. They fail woefully in exams and job interviews when they are asked questions that are not related to their courses. Many people cannot address the issues in town. It is not enough to graduate with a First Class Honors in your profession and be ignorant of what is happening outside realms. Flexibility and diversity of ideas is important, updating of knowledge is also required. Many people are poor due to lack of information. Such people are not aware of the various job opportunities available for them. Talents are dying as a result of ignorance on how to develop them. Youths are getting it wrong in their career choices because of their narrow information scope.
Many lives are lost in crisis, many people die of curable disease, some gets infected with avoidable diseases. People’s life are endangered because of illiteracy. Examples of diseases that claimed many lives due to ignorance include the HIV/AIDS, flu, Sickle cell anemia, cholera. In the olden days, all these diseases are seen as punishment from gods for sins or disobedient. Albinos, hunch back, twins were once seen as abnormal and are killed and used for sacrifices in the olden days due to ignorance. This was because there was no biological explanation for such diseases and occurrences. Experiments, modern science and technology has now brought about the biological explanation and this has been keeping people informed. Recently, the EBOLA virus claimed many lives which would not have been so if the information on the prevention was disseminated early. The viral spread was curbed with the help of the government and media houses who provided adequate awareness and information on the disease.
There is no excuse for any form of ignorance in all sectors of the world – education, law, politics, religion, sport, relationship, fashion to mention a few. We all need to get informed. Going out of our field and area of interest to know more will boost our intelligence and reasoning, it also commands respect from the public. News outside Nigeria should also interest us, we should not be limited to information about our immediate environment. Old ideas and knowledge should be put away for new ones. We should be flexible in our beliefs. Change is the only constant thing, the world is changing, new inventions and discoveries are coming up each day to replace old ones. We should roll with the globe as it is changing. By that, we can be informed in all things and get understanding.
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