Thursday, April 16, 2015


I don't want to say that I hate ignorance. It really, really irritates me, but "hate" is such a strong emotion, even for such an amorphous entity as ignorance. Hating ignorance itself, really just translates into hating the ignorant people that display it. And I really don't want to hate people (as individuals or groups).

No, I don't. But you know, I really hate ignorance.

And it's not like I know everything. I'm ignorant about a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff. I'm always finding new shit out. Even about games that I blather on about like some, say, Basic D&D. I've been playing the thing for 30+ years, I've been blogging and writing about it since June of 2009 (nearly six years!), and I'll still discover the occasional thing about which I'm ignorant.

[though admittedly, with regard to D&D, I'm a bit less ignorant than in other arenas of knowledge]

So I'M ignorant, too...about a great many things. And I prioritize what it is I want to enlighten myself about, just as everyone else does. I know a lot more about the current state of the NFL, for example, then the state of the NBA. I have a tiny smidgeon of knowledge about South American history, and effectively zero knowledge of Thailand or southeast Asia (other than that shitty bit of U.S. history involving armed conflict in the region). Do I hate myself for being ignorant? Do I hate myself for being selective about that which I choose to learn? No...but I'm sometimes disappointed or frustrated with myself, and folks might consider me a bit obsessive when it comes to researching things about which I find myself ignorant.

[this can be chalked up to a Scorpio Mercury in the 12th House, by the way...not everyone has that drive to know everything about everything]

So maybe I don't "hate" ignorance in others, either. Maybe I'm simply frustrated and disappointed she I see it. Like people who believe Fox News has even the slightest accuracy. Or that Iraq had anything to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

[ is that bullshit going to be explained in schools in 2021?]

The internet is a wonderful place to learn stuff about which you're ignorant. It's also a fantastic place to get distracted for hours by stupid memes, dumb videos, and free porn. But even if you manage to avoid wasting too much time in idle surfing, your search for enlightenment can often be roadblocked by the conflicting opinions of various parties on the subject of study that you're pursuing. I suppose this might be slightly better than listening to a single professor giving his/her single opinion on a topic...but it really depends on the quality of teacher and the quality of school, no? I went to a pretty good school and received a fairly decent education (when I bothered to show up to class), and while the wikipedia is uber-convenient, there's something about studying a multitude of books from your local library that just seems to cover subjects in more depth. Not that the people of Paraguay have bothered to build any libraries in this damn country.

[oh, wait...they do have one: the Biblioteca Roosevelt. It's 69 years old, was named for the the 32nd president of the United States (FDR), and is part of the Centro Cultural Paraguayo Americano (the Paraguayan American Cultural Center). Huh...I wonder who's responsible for that? I should probably check it out, but it's located downtown, which is inconvenient for a number of reasons. Ah, well]

Anyway...I'm all for youthful fire being injected into all things old and crusty and having the cantankerous, conservatives give up their seats at the high table, but would it be too much to ask that they do at least a minimal amount to alleviate their ignorance? When I read about teenagers not knowing Cameron's Titanic film was based on an actual event, I get...well, irritated.

I'm sure there are plenty of intelligent young people out there who will help to make the world a better and brighter place. In fact, I know there are. But there's still a shit-ton of ignorance out there and a lot of folks (young and old) who just don't seem to care enough to educate themselves. Sorry for the ranty-ness; it depresses me at times.

Okay...back to gaming stuff.


  1. It's the difference between 'ignorance', which we all have to some degree and hopefully seek to lessen when it reveals itself... vs. 'willfull ignorance' which redirects energy better spent on learning towards shoring up its delusions instead. Seeking out echo chambers and avoiding anyone who might challenge comforting beliefs.
    Willfull ignorance is the one I hate, in myself and others and it's the harder one too root out and deal with because it takes more than just reading a book... though that can help, sometimes.

  2. I'm with knobgobbler on this. Ignorance is just a lack of knowledge. Nothing to be hated.

    Willful ignorance is hate-worthy.

    And you ask a good question. How will 9/11, Iraq Wars #2 and #3, Afghanistan, drone strikes, and all of this be taught in schools in the future? I'm guessing the historical revisionists who try to prop up the idea of American Exceptionalism will win out, and we'll have more ignorant kids coming out of the U.S. school system. But hey, they make better serfs...I mean consumers that way, right?

    1. @ Dennis:

      I give my four-year old a lot of "history lessons." He's learned about the Roman Empire, he's learned about the Spanish conquest. We've talked about war in general and WWII specifically. He wanted to know all the wars the United States has been in. Since it's (fortunately) a short list (compared to older countries, I was able to list the main ones. Then he wanted me to explain why we engaged in each.

      It was pretty hard explaining things like Vietnam and Korea...and near impossible to explain our most recent invasion of Iraq. I mean, try that some're trying to paint a picture that a child can grasp, trying to be fair to both sides, trying not to be too political. But it's one thing to explain straightforward motives like "Japan bombed us and Germany attacked our allies" and...well, I still can't do it.

      In fact, I really don't even want to talk about it at the moment. It's just depressing.
      : (

    2. Personally, I can very easily find ways to both justify the Middle East Wars and to muddy the waters of moral clarity of WWII. War is always like that, just take a step back and look at it from someone else's POV.

      Of course, this doesn't necessitate agreeing with that POV, but it is possible to understand it or at least appreciate it.

    3. @ FrDrave:

      I'd enjoy hearing a reasonable explanation for our invasion of a sovereign nation that had not attacked our country or our allies.

      I'm not a big proponent of war, "just" or otherwise. But there're some fairly compelling reasons for our involvement in WWII, not the least of which was an attack on our soil by the nation of Japan.

    4. Sure (note that I don't buy this argument, but I do find it reasonable):

      At the time, Israel and Turkey were the only democracies in Middle East and both brought an amount of stability to the region that made the rest of the world safer. Saddam had started several potentially destabilizing wars in the region, was constantly threatening powers all over the world and was working on getting WMDs. He posed a threat internationally and getting rid of him created an opportunity to establish another democratic state in the region replacing a destabilizing force with a stabilizing force, thus potentially making the world a safer place.

      Our conflict with Japan was caused by U.S. policy. The U.S. was the main source of fuel for Japan during its invasion of China. The U.S. then cut that fuel off. Pearl Harbor was an attempt to cow the U.S. into reversing that policy change.

      It could be argued that the USSR was a greater evil and threat to the world than Nazi Germany. Indeed, by the numbers Germany would kill less than a third of the people in their concentration camps than the USSR did in its gulags by the time we allied with them against Nazi Germany.

      There is also evidence that suggests the possibility that FDR knew the attack on Pearl Harbor was coming and didn't do anything to stop it in order to justify getting involved in Europe.

      Of course, the U.S. won WWII and "lost" in Iraq so it is easier to justify the war that "worked" and harder to accept the justifications of the one that didn't...

  3. Most of the ignorance that you speak of in this post is not really ignorance. Most of what you speak of is actually opinion. We have a really bad habit of being unable to discern the difference between the two.

    Being conservative or liberal are positions based upon opinion, not fact. Yes, we can rationalize all we want about why conservative positions are worse than liberal ones or vice-versa but at the end of the day every choice has both a positive and negative effect. Therefore, whether you side with one or the other is entirely based upon an opinion of whether you think the positive outweighs the negative. Others are bound to disagree.

    Ignorance and the term “willful ignorance” are actually used as excuses to not have to deal with people that have opinions that differ from our own. Our task, therefore, is not necessarily to educate but rather to start relationships. Only through relationships can we learn why a conservative or a liberal has the opinions that they do. I have yet to meet either a conservative person or a liberal person who doesn’t want to help the downtrodden — they just have different opinions of how and a different tolerance of the negative consequences of that how.

    When we actually have those relationships, it is much easier to see that what we know personally/relationally is just as important as what we know factually.

    1. @ Fr. Dave:

      No. Most of what I'm speaking about is ignorance, as in "lack of knowledge or information" (the dictionary definition). My "opinions" on Fox News are based on things I know from the circles in which I move (related to both media-communication and politics). However, it is certainly not the only "inaccurate" news source available to Americans; most (if not all) have an agenda to make profit, which is the driving force for what is reported. However, despite my liberal bias (which I readily admit), Fox is one of THE most inaccurate.

      At least, so I've been told by people far more informed than myself.

    2. I put very little faith in the whole "accuracy" issue when it comes to modern news. It is very easy to take a basic fact and spin it to mean anything you want.

      Take 3d6 in order. It can be painted as unfair because it saddles players with characters they don't want to play or a challenge that any player worth their chops should be able to have fun with. Is either inaccurate?

      My family has been the subject of a news piece where every fact was technically correct, but the overall meaning of the story was spun in a way that wasn't true. The story was both accurate and inaccurate at the same time.

      Most everybody pretends objectivity when there is no such thing. I actually respect MSNBC and FOX more than other outlets because at least they are more honest about their bias than the rest of the media.

      In the end, all news is really just opinion, and how does one measure the accuracy of opinion?

    3. @ Father Dave:

      Mmm...that's pretty cynical. Though I say that as a person who doesn't follow the news much for pretty much the same reasons.

      [and I've had a similar experience to what you describe with your family, though targeting my work/prior employer. Still there's "slant" and there's outright lies...down here in Paraguay the newspapers are used as attack vehicles to push the agenda of the owners. My wife was recently the subject of an article that reported gross untruths in an attempt to discredit her and her work...not just slant, but LIES, man. At least in the USA there is some degree of holding new outlets accountable. That's not the case in all parts of the world!]

    4. Cynical or just a lifetime living in a family full of journalists? Your experience with media in Paraguay is one of the reasons why I am thankful that we in the U.S. have the luxury of having Fox and MSNBC...we at least get biased reporting from two different POVs and we have the freedom to see both and decide for ourselves.