The New Type Of Ignorance


There's a new type of ignorance and Mark Twain had it well laid out in his quote -- "It isn't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; it is what you know for sure that just isn't so," And that is the new type of ignorance.

It might look confusing and illogical. But I'll give you examples to make it clear. 

Once upon a time, many years ago, a very rich man died but before his death he had a special fund that had millions of Naira and he willed that the money in it be split equally between his two sons and transferred into special accounts for them. Son number 1 didn't know about the will or the money transfer to a special account for him. He simply kept living like he had no millions stashed away somewhere in his name. This is the conventional ignorance. Son number 2 knew about the special account and was sure it was billions his dad put in there for him. He began living like he was a billionaire and getting into scrapes with people he shouldn't because he now had billions he was sure he could never finish. This is the new type of ignorance.

Remember the Ebola Virus Disease and the salt water preventive procedure? Parents called up their children in schools and universities and persuaded them to bathe with salt water. Neighbourly neighbours persuaded their neighbours to bathe with salt water. Caring pastors persuaded the congregation to bathe with salt water. It was the people refusing to bathe with salt water who looked ignorant. Somehow a large number of people, like the rich man's second son, knew for sure what just wasn't so.

Another example that saddens me more and seem to go on undetected is what people say on radio, TV and in newspapers. More than half of what I read on newspapers and hear on-air-personalities say are just not correct. People making claims that aren't credible. People seeing things that aren't there. People giving unsound advice.

In my first year in the university, I became friends with electricity. Almost every week I used to get electric shock, mostly due to faulty electric stove (hot plates, as we called them). Then I stumbled on a cool trick. In an electric socket, there three cables -- live wire, neutral wire and the earth wire. In our hostel, our kitchens and rooms often had two wires and no socket, just wires sticking out from holes in the wall. The two wires were live wire and neutral wire. From experience, I found out that if I touched the neutral wire I didn't get electric shocks. And that became my new hobby. I would tell people that I could touch electric wires and not get electrocuted, as usual they wouldn't believe me. Then I would make the crowd grow by repeating myself and louder so people around would hear. Then I would touch the neutral wire and they would be surprised. And all kinds of theories would emerge -- "It's because Michael held his breath"; "It is because he is wearing a rubber sole shoe"; "It is because Michael is slim, not much water in his body." And on and on. I always made sure to not correct them. They now know something that isn't so.

That is the new type of ignorance. Being sure of what is not correct. And we all have it, just to varying degrees. The only worrisome part is that in Nigeria here the degrees are often alarming.


You can be sure of a response, a very relevant one too!

Click on Subscribe by Email just down below the comment box so you'll be notified of my response.