I’d intended blogging about something TOTALLY different but just HAD to write about this. This thing which has drawn so many people back, destroyed generations of people, and continues to plague each of us in at least one area of our lives: IGNORANCE!
I was moved to ponder the issue of ignorance this week when I had the misfortune(??) of boarding a Trotro ( a passenger vehicle) with a heavily pregnant and just as equally misinformed female homo sapien. Another passenger requested the car stop so she get down because she was feeling squashed (I suspect the pregnant woman had taken up more space than was due her,as she had a little boy AND a heavy load and could not carry both, because of her condition). Now, I felt this lady had every right to request to alight, especially seeing as she was going to pay her own fare (I mean, she should be as comfortable as can be if she’s paying with her hard-earned money, not so?) So the car stops, she alights, and this pregnant ignoramus (as she later proved herself ) took the issue rather personal and launched into a tirade of abuse against the tribe or people she perceived the other passenger a member of.
Assuming wrongly that we were all interested in what she had to say, or perhaps having no brains and therefore not even being able to make sound assumptions, she proceeded to enlighten us on the habits of the group of people she thought our fellow passenger a member of. According to her, they were carnivores (so she’d heard) who lured people with various incentives into their country and homes and then killed them and used their meat for various stuff.She did not think it prudent to curb her tongue when one of the other lady passengers brought it to her attention that all she was saying was hearsay and not something she had found out for herself.Nothing anybody said could make her shut up.She just went ahead and said a whole lot of other useless stuff I do not care to recount.
Needless to say,I was highly disappointed and saddened by the ignorance displayed, especially seeing as she was being egged on by the other passengers, who were asking questions and laughing. Yes, they were making fun of her, but I didn’t think they should even have feigned interest under the circumstances.I was sitting in the car and thinking this was the same kind of prejudice that informed and fueled Hitler’s juvenile and racist decisions and led to the massacre of over six million Jews. I was so disturbed I had a horrible dream that night in which people of a certain ethnic group were being hunted down. I was that traumatized!
I tried to imagine what sort of mother she’d be to her little son and unborn kid, and with what half-baked, narrow-minded ideas they’d grow up. Who knows what these sons of hers will become and how far they’ll carry these ideas they gathered from her? God help these innocent minds. I’m speaking of this woman and the ignorance she displayed like a colorful head scarf, but all of us are just as guilty as she. And the sad part for most of us is we have no one but ourselves to blame for our ignorance and prejudices. Sure, people influence our thinking to a certain extent, but the final decision you take and the final thought you store in your memory depends on you.That’s why you were given a brain: to sift all you read and hear and make sensible, well-informed decisions.The sad truth is most of us practice ‘pick -n- go’,picking up other people’s ideas,and content to let a few think for many.And we end up with ideas that aren’t ours as a result.
I woke up the next morning with a very uncomfortable feeling, knowing something was just not right. Then i remembered the dream,and what had transpired the night before. Still angry at the woman, I proceeded to examine the events of the previous day.And these were the things that came to mind:
1. Read, People Read.
We’re living in an age of information explosion. Information on EVERYTHING is on the internet.You have no excuse to be ignorant, seriously. I’m sure you’ve heard it said Knowledge is power? Well, it IS. If in doubt do not only ask, research,read about it. You will get diverse opinion on the issue, which will be a good thing.
2. A Little Love Goes a Long Way.
Christ had a reason for asking us to love our neighbors as ourselves. It really helps eliminate a lot of issues. If she, and we for that matter, love unconditionally, a lot of this ignorant and unnecessary behavior will not be so blatantly displayed. Love for others would cause us to be a little more gentle when dealing with them, as we ourselves would like to be treated.
3. Prejudice Does Not Pay.
(Who’ll pay you for that?) But on a more serious note, it’s unhealthy. Why should you walk around with preconceived ideas of someone else and their culture and not bother to verify the truth or otherwise of it? I know we’re all guilty of this (ignorance) but let’s not do it in huge doses, okay?
4. Ignorance is NOT Bliss.
‘What you don’t know you can’t grieve about’.I believe this is true to a certain extent, but in the case of our pregnant woman, it was anything but. When it comes to issues such as this, what you don’t know you MUST, you SHOULD grieve about.As a matter of fact, you should wail and put on sackcloth and ashes if you hold preconceived, unjust and unfair ideas about your neighbor and do not bother to know them better to find the truth out for yourself. Ignorance is expensive,confining. It does not allow you live fully, to enjoy the beauty of life and people. Even if what you’re going to learn will be painful and potentially damaging, I don’t believe there’s anything you can’t learn or grow stronger from, especially if God allowed it to come your way.’My people perish for lack of knowledge’, God’s words. God certainly does not think ignorance is bliss.Now, if God thinks we need to be informed about things, who are we to think otherwise? The thing can kill, people!!! You’ll perish, my friends, if you remain ignorant.In this case, it would not have cost her anything except perhaps a little of her time, to attempt to get more information.
Going over that event has left me disturbed all over again.I’m afraid I may not be able to end this post in a befitting manner. Please read a lot more, ask questions, and seek God’s guidance (not exactly in that order,though). And whatever you do remember to temper your acts with love. Because a little love really does go a long way.
PS: I guess I owe her some thanks, though.Following her tirade and my nightmare, I bought an earpiece the very next morning on my way to work (something I’ve been postponing for a while now) so I wouldn’t have to listen to anymore of such talk on my subsequent trips. I guess that was the silver lining this cloud had. It made me buy my earpiece 🙂