Ignorance is not bliss

Ignorance is not bliss

Every year as the air starts to chill, the world seems to feel itself coming to a close, and people celebrate a holiday designed to let the year go out with a bang. Children roam the night in ghoulish costumes in search of chocolate rewards, and Hollywood is hit with almost as many horror movies as there are leaves on the ground.

However, one of the most frightening things can’t be seen on the big screen or behind a cartoon mask but inside the minds of people today. Or rather what doesn’t seem to be found there: an eagerness to learn.

Many people think that ignorance is a synonym for stupidity, but this is not the case. Ignorance is not stemmed from a lack of intelligence but a lack of knowledge or understanding. The problem with the mindset of people today, mostly seen in teens, is not a decrease in intelligence but a decrease in ambition for learning.

Teenagers are showing an alarming trend for going through the motions, treating schoolwork as a mandatory chore instead of an opportunity to learn. If a student is not passionate about a subject it is understandable that he or she wouldn’t necessarily dive into homework or a class discussion, but a certain amount of effort would be appreciated instead of this affinity to “The Walking Dead.”

However, ignorance in the classroom is practically harmless compared to that of ignorance toward other humans, particularly online.

Face to face, people are generally civil and keep their most nasty comments to themselves, but it is considerably easier to be blatant and rude behind a computer screen. Recently, students became interested in an app called Yik Yak. The app is similar to Twitter, but does not require a user to sign up with a username. In the Yik Yak rules, it clearly states that users are not to target other yakkers, but bullying and crude behavior ensued nonetheless. There’s nothing wrong with sharing a personal opinion, but there is definitely a tactful way to do so. When people are ignorant of another person’s intentions and walk of life is when most of these Internet battles occur. I always try to think that there is another living, breathing human on the other side of the screen and limit my posts to only things I would say to people I know in real life, without the safety of anonymity.

I have also noticed that people tend to lash out at others who make comments about certain topics such as depression or how a person identifies sexually. For instance, if a person were to make a somewhat insensitive statement about these topics, they are immediately attacked. What people need to understand is that oftentimes when someone makes an insensitive comment, it is because he/she is uneducated in that area. It is very possible to inform this person without making digs at their intelligence. In fact, that person is much more likely to learn and correct their opinion if handled in this way.

Overall, people shouldn’t make assumptions about other people based on things they are not completely aware of. The best way to handle the growing ignorance in this generation is to communicate with each other and develop a want for understanding and change.

As autumn draws to a close, the world waits to be washed to a clean slate by coming snow, a chance to restart. Personally, I’m hoping for a blizzard.