I try to avoid having thoughts. They lead to other thoughts, and—if you’re not careful—those lead to actions. Actions make you tired. I have this on rather good authority from someone who once read it in a book.
There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe what is true.
But you can't make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can't last.
. . . there is a wish in the heart of mankind to be distracted and confused. Truth is but one attraction, and not always the most powerful.
Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is the belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.
To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.
[T]he scripture worshippers put the writings ahead of God. Instead of interpreting God's actions in nature, for example, they interpret nature in the light of the Scripture. Nature says the rock is billions of years old, but the book says different, so even though men wrote the book, and God made the rock and God gave us minds that have found ways to tell how old it is, we still choose to believe the Scripture.
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
When all this is over, people will try to blame the Germans alone, and the Germans will try to blame the Nazis alone, and the Nazis will try to blame Hitler alone. They will make him bear the sins of the world. But it's not true. You suspected what was happening, and so did I. It was already too late over a year ago. I caused a reporter to lose his job because you told me to. He was deported. The day I did that I made my little contribution to civilization, the only one that matters.
Any formal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always ready to defend their most precious possession - their ignorance.
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.
The vast majority of human beings dislike and even actually dread all notions with which they are not familiar... Hence it comes about that at their first appearance innovators have generally been persecuted, and always derided as fools and madmen.
No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.
Only a blind man could have lived through these last years without seeing what was bearing down upon us; so I made myself blind as I could manage. I wanted to believe the worst was behind me, and I found an easy way to make it so. I simply turned my back on what was coming.
More generally, as I shall repeat in Chapter 8, one of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.
Five percent of the people think, ten percent of the people think they think, and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.
I think that the root of Willful Ignorance, is Fear. We'll return to that in a minute. But the root of Fear, is Simple Ignorance, at least I think that our original Fear is rooted in simply not understanding the World around us: not knowing.
The more you can escape from how horrible things really are, the less it's going to bother you...and then, the worse things get.
A very, in a sense, terrifying aspect of our society, and other societies, is the equanimity and the detachment with which sane, reasonable, sensible people can observe [war]. I think that's more terrifying than the occasional Hitler or LeMay or other that crops up. These people would not be able to operate were it not for this apathy and equanimity...and therefore I think that it's, in some sense, the sane and reasonable and tolerant people who share a very serious burden of guilt that they very easily throw on the shoulders of others who seem more extreme and violent.
Justice can be achieved only if one has the pertinent facts, and excusing evil requires that those facts be obscured; justice is thus precluded.
The irony of American history is the tendency of good white Americanas to presume racial innocence. Ignorance of how we are shaped racially is the first sign of privilege.In other words. It is a privilege to ignore the consequences of race in America.
Ignorance of how we are shaped racially is the first sign of privilege. In other words. It is a privilege to ignore the consequences of race in America.
...After all, acknowledging unfairness then calls decent people forth to correct those injustices. And since most persons are at their core, decent folks, the need to ignore evidence of injustice is powerful: To do otherwise would force whites to either push for change (which they would perceive as against their interests) or live consciously as hypocrites who speak of freedom and opportunity but perpetuate a system of inequality.The irony of American history is the tendency of good white Americanas to presume racial innocence. Ignorance of how we are shaped racially is the first sign of privilege.In other words. It is a privilege to ignore the consequences of race in America.
There are young men and women up and down the land who happily (or unhappily) tell anyone who will listen that they don’t have an academic turn of mind, or that they aren’t lucky enough to have been blessed with a good memory, and yet can recite hundreds of pop lyrics and reel off any amount of information about footballers. Why? Because they are interested in those things. They are curious. If you are hungry for food, you are prepared to hunt high and low for it. If you are hungry for information it is the same. Information is all around us, now more than ever before in human history. You barely have to stir or incommode yourself to find things out. The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is.
This is the biggest lot of abolitionist trash I ever saw.”“No it isn’t,” I said. “That book wasn’t even written until a century after slavery was abolished.”“Then why the hell are they still complaining about it?
A poet is a musician that can't sing. Words have to find a man's mind before they can touch his heart, and some men's minds are woeful small targets. Music touches their hearts directly no matter how small or stubborn the mind of the man who listens.