Ignorance is a state of being uninformed. The word “ignorant” is an adjective describing a person in the state of being unaware. The term may be used specifically (e.g. “One can be an expert in math, and totally ignorant of history.”) or generally (e.g. “an ignorant person.”); although the second use is used less as a descriptive and more as an imprecise personal insult. It is not be confused with being unintelligent or uneducated.
Writer Thomas Pynchon (American author) articulated about the scope and structure of one’s ignorance: “Ignorance is not just a blank space on a person’s mental map. It has contours and coherence, and for all I know rules of operation as well. So as a corollary to writing about what we know, maybe we should add getting familiar with our ignorance and the possibilities therein for writing a good story.”
The legal principle that ignorantia juris non excusat, literally “ignorance of the law is no excuse”, stands for the proposition that the law applies also to those who are unaware of it.
I have spent a great amount of time exploring my ignorance for I spent many years living in it for all to experience. My lack of knowledge about something never stopped me from speaking at length against whatever was being discussed. People would look at me in horror and challenge my assertions. That would inspire my ignorance even more and I would look back in equal horror. My ignorance was so bombastic and I was so proud of it.
Much has changed in my life over the years. One is remembering a Professor who stated that I was not entitled to an opinion unless I had real knowledge of the subject matter at hand. I didn’t agree when I first heard him as my ignorance was more important than my knowledge. Knowledge took time and energy to acquire; ignorance just took opening my mouth and speaking.
In addition to minimizing my ignorance over the years and learning that silence was wise and questions could teach me something, I also have come to believe that the core of my ignorance was spiritual. I believe today that knowing me as honestly as I can at the moment I am being honest is what truly overcomes my ignorance. Yes, I can study, read and hear material on a variety of subjects, but I consider that external knowledge. My true ignorance is not having internal knowledge. My journey is dedicated to overcoming my ignorance for when I do, I am blissful; when I am externally ignorant I am not.
My prayer for you today is that you seek, located and embrace your internal ignorance and free yourself of the ties that hold you back from being truly free.