Ignorance is not bliss

2012-10-23 09:25

Know stuff. Be knowledgeable.

Not like Albert Einstein was about physics, necessarily, but it is good to have a grip on the world of facts.

Ignorance is painfully, irredeemably ugly.

I was sitting in Bottega in Parkhurst and overheard one of the most breathtakingly ignorant conversations ever.

Three friends were holding forth loudly on evolution, and they decided that it clearly can’t be true because otherwise why are there still monkeys then?

Then they began discussing the Marikana massacre.

‘I think the cops should have used live bullets, because rubber bullets don’t stop you,’ one woman offered.

Nobody corrected her. It was all I could do to stop myself flinging my laptop across the room at her head.

Look, whatever your views on evolution are, at least know what the theory actually says.

And before you loudly yell across a restaurant that rubber bullets aren’t effective, google the words ‘Andries Tatane’ and read about a man who died after police shot him with a rubber bullet.

It stuns me every day (thanks to the voyeurism of Twitter) to see how many otherwise sane and rational adults choose to live their lives in purposeful ignorance, simply because it inconveniences them too much to learn.

Sometimes changing their minds deflates their ego just a little too much.

I personally can’t be that bothered about the whole Karoo fracking thing. Honestly, there are far bigger problems in the world that demand my energy.

What I can’t stand is people who object to it on the basis of Josh Fox’s discredited documentary and that one factually incorrect article in Rolling Stone.

Fine, if you want the government to ban shale gas exploration and mining, then write all the letters and sign the petitions that you want.

But you can at least inform yourself as to what the other side of the debate actually has to say.

The same applies to employment equity, global warming, rhino poaching and all the other things people get excited about.

Just know your facts. It’s not too much to ask.

» Sipho Hlongwane is a writer for Daily Maverick. He finds books very helpful for knowing stuff.

» Get your iMag with City Press on Sunday

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