March 22, 2012

Ignoring the Truth

Stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of ignorance. ~William Gaddis

Innocence and naivete are charming and touching in the young. But there is nothing charming about adults who refuse to read the writing on the wall. This kind of blankness is called willed ignorance because it's done on purpose, deliberately. With enough practice, willed ignorance can be indistinguishable from stupidity.

On the surface, this condition seems absurd. Who would will themselves to be ignorant? But there are many reasons for this sad tactic. If we have learned to be terribly afraid of conflict or anger, we may also have learned to ignore the red flags that signal danger. If we have learned to avoid vulnerability at all costs, we may also have learned to throw a wrench in the works if a growing relationship calls out for commitment.

If we don't see what's going on, don't know what's happening, we won't have to deal with it. So we choose not to know. But the price of willed ignorance is always loss. When intellectual integrity goes out the window, self-esteem goes right after it.

Facing the truth is not as difficult as ignoring it.

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