I was thinking about ignorance today. I realized – I doubt for the first time – that ignorance is not just one thing. There are different types of ignorance. Different reasons and circumstances for why people experience ignorance.
Incapable of knowing ignorance
Some people are ignorant, because their life circumstance doesn’t permit them to know. They could live in another country and be ignorant of a cultural folkway – one that’s never been discussed on the Internet or in any book. Or they could be mentally incapable of understanding something.
Choose not to know ignorance
This is the “ignorance is bliss” type of ignorance. This can be conscious or unconscious denials of facts. A mother who refuses to accept that her son is gay or a Christian who refuses to follow a logical thought pattern for fear of finding an answer that is inconsistent with their beliefs.
Influenced to not know ignorance
Then there are people who are suffocated by those around them. A religious family that shuns any education that isn’t inspired by their own canon and rituals, forcefully and intentionally keeping their children from experiencing a world view that would deviate from their own family traditions.
Not knowing how to know ignorance
There are those who lack the tools and skills to research, learn and build upon their knowledge. Even if they wanted to know more, they wouldn’t know where to begin.
Then there are those who refuse to live mindfully, and allow their impulses to drive their behaviors and are unable to take the time to experience empathy or understand the world around them. They experience the worst kind of ignorance. The kind that makes everyone’s lives a living hell.