The hideous visage of evil is clearly perceptible in our time. Behind it lurks the perpetual conspiracy of ignorance, threatening to overwhelm all noble elements of human culture. At present, the flood of ignorance endangers the very foundations of civilization.
“Evil actions are the result of ignorance.” ~ Plato
Ignorance is not merely the lack of knowledge, but self-destructive turning away from truth in all areas of life. Persons develop a taste for ignorance, the predisposition to embrace erroneous beliefs based on presumption or mere authority. The ignorant person believes he knows what he actually doesn’t know; he becomes delusional. He is deranged.
We find it difficult to understand how people today deliberately refuse to look at what is actually happening in the world, believing the lies and distortions their leaders tell them. With a straight face, political, economic, religious, and media figures tell the people that black is white, war is peace, lies are truths, joblessness is economic recovery, ignorance is intelligence.
The Nature of Ignorance
The worst feature of ignorance, Plato tells us, is self-satisfaction. “For herein is the evil of ignorance, that he who is neither good nor wise is nevertheless satisfied with himself: he has no desire for that of which he feels no want.” (Symposium)
Self-love, Plato recognizes, sees its own ignorance as wisdom; it seeks no cure, “the soul wallowing in the mire of every sort of ignorance and by reason of lust becomes the principal accomplice in her own captivity.” (Phaedo) It will not let a more competent person perform what he can. Ignorance can only be overcome by an outside force of true wisdom.
Plato describes ignorance as the “greatest of diseases” and says that “the excessive love of self is in reality the source in each man of all offences; for the lover is blinded about the beloved, so that he judges wrongly of the just, the good, and the honorable, and thinks that he ought always to prefer himself to the truth.” (Phaedo)
Read More: Vanquishing Ignorance written by Norman Livergood