Recent events got me to pondering the difference between ignorance and stupidity. Neither is in short supply. The good news is that one is fixable.
Despite a lack of formal training, I consider myself to be an expert on ignorance and stupidity. Life has taught me all I need to know. Decades of observations and more than fifty years of practice and personal experience inform my thinking.
Ignorance is about a lack of information, and therefore; fixable. I am ignorant about poisonous insects of the tropical rain forest. Should I ever plan a trip to the tropics, however, you can be sure I’ll read up on the subject. Be stupid not to, right?
I’m also ignorant about quantum physics, string theory, combustible engines, derivatives, and how a lot of things work. At least a few are over my head. Try as I might, I just don’t understand.
Which brings us to stupidity — the inability or lack of willingness to learn something. I’m stupid about all kinds of things. Information about the risks of obesity and a healthy, nutritious diet hasn’t changed my behavior. I know better, but I still eat too much of things I shouldn’t be eating at all.
Overeating is doubly stupid because I know how difficult it is to lose weight. It takes six months to lose the weight I gained in a matter of weeks. I know better, and yet….
Ignorance is bliss, and a lot less work. Separating fact from fiction isn’t always easy. Bias, partisan spin, and distortions pollute the truth and perpetuate ignorance.
Stupid is forever, but ignorant can be fixed. All it takes is willingness and good information.