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Overcoming Ignorance

TUF
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8/7/2013 7:23:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Overcoming Ignorance; the strongest human attribute

Hey everyone, I"ve wanted to do this for a while, but I think it"s finally time. I want to talk you today about what I believe, is one of society"s biggest challenges: Overcoming Ignorance.

Let"s be honest though. Every single person is guilty of this at some point in their life. Some more than others, but everyone to some degree is a little ignorant in at least on area of their life. I know I am all the time.

I think our own ignorance sets up road blocks in your life; especially if you feel like what you do or say is wrong, but convince yourself that you "know" it isn"t. But do we really know, or do we just have a hard time facing the fact that we could have been wrong about something? Are you even willing to believe that there could be a different answer to a question that you were previously so convinced of the answer to?

I will admit, over the years, my own ignorance has been my greatest human flaw. There"s been many times that I have been so unwilling to budge on something despite even being presented with outstanding evidence, or great arguments to something that I didn"t originally agree with. The problem is that these only presented a challenge for me to find more arguments, or reasons to dis-agree. It gets to the point where if I defend something enough, I can get to the point of making an argument that I would have never thought of myself making when I originally made my point.

The extent that we go to in order to be "right" is pretty tremendous. When faced with a compelling objection to our beliefs, we will continue to make a goal of being right. But over the last few years, I have been looking at my own life, and have personally seen that doing this has gotten me absolutely no where. In fact, I feel like I have held myself back. So while my ignorant tendencies are still there, I have made it a goal to get over them. To consider the possibility of being wrong; to weigh and balance my opinions and ideas until I feel confident that what I am doing and saying is right.

A lot of what made me realize that I had this problem, was noticing it in others. How can I claim that someone else is ignorant if I don"t notice my own ignorant tendencies?

So with that I am going to switch this topic up a little bit, and point out something I think I tend to notice a little bit of ignorance in. I know this will raise some controversy, but I only ask that you hear me about before closing out this thread.

I want to talk about Gay Rights. This is an important topic right now to me because this is one place that I feel human ignorance takes a physical effect on others, and in some way this effect can be largely detrimental. Born and raised in a Christian family, with a very vocal and opinionated father, I spent about 5 years of my life adopting my beliefs from what he preached to me almost daily. Since becoming an adult, a lot of my beliefs have changed as I have been able to think independently.

But I always loved to argue when I was younger. When I found someone with an opposing belief to mine, I found it challenging and excited to try and "win" them in debate. Looking back, a lot of my arguments were poor and probably contradicted other values I claimed to stand by, but I refused to recognize this. I was so caught up in being right, that I promptly would choose to ignore the possibility that I could ever be wrong.

I was heavily against gay rights. I made arguments that were riddled with false premises, arguments that weren"t really even relevant, and arguments that outright were hypocritical. In doing so, though, I didn"t realize that what I was doing was wrong. I had discriminated an entire group of people because it suited me. This was the most selfish thing I have done. I chose to not support a right that belonged to every human being, because it was different than the normal.

Did I really believe that Gay"s didn"t deserve rights? Probably not. But I knew I had to convince myself that I did, or risk *gasp* being wrong about it.

So my request is that we allow ourselves to put ignorance aside for a moment and really consider something.

So let"s ask ourselves: Is there anything wrong with Gay Rights?

When first presented with the question several obstacles first come to mind that make us question it.

It"s different. Often time"s it"s hard to understand a life choice someone makes that varies from our own. I am attracted to woman. I don"t think I have ever seen a man that I"ve felt anything more than friendship with. I don"t know what it is like to love another man, because I"ve only ever been attracted to woman. The argument I used to make here is the same that I see others make all the time; that this attraction is fake, or made up. So because I don"t feel the same way about men as gay"s do, I had come up with a discriminatory answer, that only precludes myself and my own interests. But this argument is flawed because it"s based entirely on lack of understanding of preferences. I hate onions. Does that mean that people who claim to Love them are faking it, or pretending to love onions?

Here"s another one I have seen: Gay Sexual acts are Disgusting, or wrong. While what we see as "disgusting" is purely our own taste, can we really say that there aren"t many straight sexual act"s that aren"t equally disgusting? And whether it is "wrong" is also pretty subjective. Why is gay sexuality wrong, but straight sexuality not?

Here"s another one: Workability of Gay relationships. Many people like to provide statistics, that show that there is abuse, or not as long lasting relationships with gay"s. But this has never really been an argument that means we should dis-allow gay marriage. The gay population is a lot smaller than the straight one. People in general have a hard time maintaining long relationships. Fortitude and will in marriage is specific to individuals only. So while you take a percentage of failed relationships out of a small pie chart of a group, you can also look at the fact that there are more failed straight relationships than there are in Gay"s. How long lasting a relationship is, shouldn"t really matter though. Plenty of people get married without fully knowing their significant other which often results in failed marriages.

There are plenty of reasons that people discriminate the marriage of gays, however this issue is a lot more serious than some people seem to think.

Let me give good context example for straight people. Imagine you were in love with a beautiful, perfect woman who was everything you had ever wanted. Let"s say that society told you that you can"t marry this person because of some defining aspect about you. Let"s say you are both red heads. On a daily basis, you hear people make fun of red heads, you hear people argue that red heads are immoral people, that red heads don"t deserve the right to be married to each other. Not only do you have to deal with discrimination, hate, and humiliation daily for just being who you are, but you also no longer have the right to be recognized by your own country as legally able to be married because of who you are. Because people fail to recognize you as human being and treat you with the same conduct they would or should to others. This world might make you depressed, and hate life, maybe even commit suicide.

The point is we have seen this over and over again throughout history. You can say that there is a difference between race, gender, and orientation, but the arguments in which you see all three categories discriminated against are identical. You see Neo-Nazi"s make stereotypical arguments against other races that almost exactly resemble the arguments made against gays. So how can you support one, without supporting the other? This is evidence of the ignorance that some of us have. But society changes and becomes open to new concepts all the time.
"I've got to go and grab a shirt" ~ Airmax1227
TUF
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8/7/2013 7:23:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Just as with any other case in history, society will have to legally accept gays. Soon discrimination will die down. It will always exist, though people in general will have to acknowledge gays as equal, just as they did with racism, and sexism.

The ultimate point of all this; Don"t let yourself do things that may harm your integrity or moral standards based on ignorance. I did it for years; I never realized the harm I have done by little comments.

Just the other day at work, another employee at my work made a brief little comment noting his disgust of gays. He didn"t know that we had a supervisor in the room who was gay. Later on I asked him if he was okay after that comment: He responded that he didn"t mind, and that he was used it. I can only think about what a strong individual it must take to have to hear things like this and have to be used to it. This person has had to learn to be okay with being called disgusting, repulsive, immoral, though in truth he is none of these things. And society has accepted this ignorant behavior to the point where he is used to it. While he may be able to handle the ignorance, some can"t. Being humiliated every day of your life for doing nothing other than being who you are.

And we wonder why gays have such a high suicide rate.

This is issue is a lot more serious than most people seem to think it is. This isn"t just an argument against gays anymore. They are being used as an excuse to augment hate and discrimination; This is not okay. So if you watched this whole video all the way through, than I would like to invite you to over come ignorance. If you feel at all that what you are doing and saying might be wrong than don"t stop the feeling because you want to be "right". Let Ignorance die. Take a stand with me. Thankyou.
"I've got to go and grab a shirt" ~ Airmax1227
tvellalott
Posts: 10,864
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8/7/2013 8:16:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Thanks for the post TUF.

My biggest intellectual obstacle is being an anarchist. I've had the anarchy discussion with so many people and I can never convince anyone of my position being viable, let alone convert them to my way of thinking. It actually bothers me a lot and I've had a lot of moments of 'sh!t, maybe I'm wrong and we do need a state.'
As you say, the big problem is ignorant. I am ignorant of anything more than rudimentary anarchist theory. I am however, aware of my ignorance. Though I've come to the 'agree to disagree' many, many times on it, I've never heard anything new or original. It's just the people I debate with (two of my bosses and my cousin notably) are very good at presenting the same arguments and I feel, they too are stubborn in their belief that a state is necessary. It's the same old 'who will stop criminals' and 'who will build the roads type thing' and much like when the debate gets started here, it just goes around and around until I'm exasperated.

Otherwise, I like to think I'm very open minded. I'm the type of guy who uses his smartphone to fact check things constantly. If something I believe to be true (a good example is regarding the bombing of Japan at the end of WW2 being the cause of the their surrender which is contradicted quite extensively by this well sourced article: http://mises.org...) I am all for changing my beliefs.
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TUF
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8/7/2013 10:08:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/7/2013 8:16:29 PM, tvellalott wrote:
Thanks for the post TUF.

My biggest intellectual obstacle is being an anarchist. I've had the anarchy discussion with so many people and I can never convince anyone of my position being viable, let alone convert them to my way of thinking. It actually bothers me a lot and I've had a lot of moments of 'sh!t, maybe I'm wrong and we do need a state.'
As you say, the big problem is ignorant. I am ignorant of anything more than rudimentary anarchist theory. I am however, aware of my ignorance. Though I've come to the 'agree to disagree' many, many times on it, I've never heard anything new or original. It's just the people I debate with (two of my bosses and my cousin notably) are very good at presenting the same arguments and I feel, they too are stubborn in their belief that a state is necessary. It's the same old 'who will stop criminals' and 'who will build the roads type thing' and much like when the debate gets started here, it just goes around and around until I'm exasperated.

The best way to tell if you are ignorant is to check other beliefs similar to the one you are advocating. Do some of the principals you advocate for one contradict the other? If so, then you have to value and weigh which one you feel is more fitting to your beliefs with both morals, and logic. I don't know if you really are ignorant about anarchy or not. Based on what you said, you could have a very strong case for it, but if you are constantly arguing for it, and something about your argument feels wrong, or you may not be sure about it, you might consider those options. Most of my beliefs changed from arguing devils advocate, and then weighing both sides. After arguing for the thing you are naturally against, you may find yourself a little more open minded about the subject. If you still feel anarchy is the best route, maybe you aren't really ignorant on the subject.
"I've got to go and grab a shirt" ~ Airmax1227
slo1
Posts: 4,361
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8/8/2013 12:48:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Radio lab had a good show on deception. They had a sub section dealing with self deception and said that people who have a greater propensity of self deception are generally happier. Ignorance is truly bliss.

On the other hand, if one really wants the truth then it is a great idea to fully examine the inconsistencies we all have with beliefs. I did a complete 180 reverse years ago on gay marriage when I did that.

Old habits and beliefs die hard.
TUF
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8/11/2013 2:56:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/8/2013 12:48:32 PM, slo1 wrote:
Radio lab had a good show on deception. They had a sub section dealing with self deception and said that people who have a greater propensity of self deception are generally happier. Ignorance is truly bliss.

On the other hand, if one really wants the truth then it is a great idea to fully examine the inconsistencies we all have with beliefs. I did a complete 180 reverse years ago on gay marriage when I did that.

Old habits and beliefs die hard.
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"I've got to go and grab a shirt" ~ Airmax1227