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Thursday, 14 July 2016

Closed mindedness, ignorance and stupidity

Once in a while, I take a look at Facebook comments regarding certain news related topics. Each time I notice certain outrageous comments that make me tempted to add my opinion. After typing my comment, I usually refrain from hitting the Enter/Return button. I then remember the words from a 1742 poem by Thomas Gray: “Where ignorance is bliss, it's foolish to be wise”.

Recently, a Belgian friend posted a Dutch YouTube video in which certain people expressed their opinions following their denial of historical and scientific facts. Their opinions are in line with my concept of the 7 Belief systems, the 7th one called the Truth. Furthermore, these opinions are also in line with my 31 March 2016 blog: Why are opinions stronger than facts?

One of their Truths is that the Earth is flat and that Science is lying to us. Conspiracy theories are used to support their minority view. After many centuries, this belief and opinion has suddenly returned. The start of social media (eg, Facebook in 2004) clearly helps spreading such opinions. I sincerely doubt that Facebook contributes to social cohesion and stability.

Yesterday evening during dinner, my friend and I talked about the relentless need of people to dump their opinions – and often their ignorance – about anything and anyone on social media. Some decades ago, the only option was sending a letter to a newspaper. Also see my 5 June 2016 blog: Opinions and criticism.

Yesterday evening, the moon was still clearly visible at 9.30PM. I suddenly remembered my long-time question: why are all planets round? Whatever you can see in the sky is shaped like a ball and certainly not flat like a saucer. The answer is surprisingly simple and logical. Each object has mass. Mass creates gravity. The bigger the object, the more mass, the more gravity. Gravity pulls matter to its core. Hence, all planets and stars become spherical (round). (eg, Scientific American)

Asteroids and comets drifting in space are generally too small objects to have enough mass to become round. The same applies to everything on Earth although nearly everything does have mass and (internal) gravity, including human beings. Fascinating as the Earth’s gravity prevents us from drifting into space and our own (internal) gravity is inadequate to become round although obesity does make some individual attempts. (eg, Scientific American)

In June 2016, the former British Tory Justice Minister/Secretary and leading Brexiteer Michael Gove said: “I think people in this country have had enough of experts.” Labour MP Gisela Stuart, also of Vote Leave, added: “There is only one expert that matters, and that’s you, the voter” (Telegraph). In a nutshell, this very attitude is at the heart of closed mindedness, ignorance and stupidity.

Any of the 7 Belief systems (i.e., Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth) is ultimately rooted in closed mindedness. The moment we stop questioning our opinions at the arrival of contradicting information, our opinions become Beliefs. Beliefs become a Cause. Causes are worth fighting – and dying – for. The willingness to sacrifice your own life for the Cause, is the very essence of a Belief system.

I still have an immense dislike for closed mindedness, ignorance and stupidity. The last few years, I have nevertheless managed to lose my anger over this. I just force myself to remind these wise words: Where ignorance is bliss, it's foolish to be wise.

Pink - Stupid Girls (2006) - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Disease's growing, it's epidemic
I'm scared that there ain't a cure
The world believes it and I'm going crazy
I cannot take any more
I'm so glad that I'll never fit in
That will never be me

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