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1/16/13: Pet Peeve: Active Ignorance

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I don't mind people who literally have no idea what is going on. Sometimes, that just happens. We get caught up in work, school, family, friends, home life- and for us sparkers- trying to be healthy (ie, making meals, finding time to exercise) that we can't know everything, and we can't be constantly seeking knowledge TO everything. I guarantee you, there are many aspects of the world that you do not seek to understand. Most of you probably don't even bother to figure out the actual calorie content in the different carbs you eat. I mean, that's what Spark and nutrition labels are for. You don't need to know the exact calories in galactose, or glucose, or sucrose. "4" is close enough. 3.97, 4.12, 3.76- whatever the heck they are, it probably doesn't matter to you.

And that can be a very good thing. This is how we process our days without getting overwhelmed!

However, ignorance becomes a problem when it goes from IGnorance to igNORance. Say that with the emphasis on the capitalized syllable- it goes from "ig-norance" to "IGNORE-ance." This is MY distincition. IGnorance is when you simply are unaware. You may have developed high blood pressure since your last doctor visit, but you don't know because you haven't had that test done. You are ignorant. This is IGnorance. Now, say you go to the Doctor's office and he tells you your blood pressure is high, and gives you some pamphlets on high blood pressure, but you choose not to read it. Now, you can't say you are IGnorant. You become igNORant. You are not just unaware because you don't have to be aware. You are actively ignoring it!

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. It happens all the time. It happens to my ochem professor- sometimes she "ignores" the fact that I am actually doing quite well understanding the course material- but it also happens in a day-to-day setting. We get so fixated on one thing that we ignore the rest. Active ignorance plays a major role in so many squabbles! We hear something about the Muslim faith, and suddenly we don't care to know anything else- that one piece of "information" is SO true to us that we decide the Muslim faith is all bull, and those practicing/devout are going to be evil. (Hopefully none of you are that ignorant!). But this also happens a lot in health and fitness. One thing works for us, so we disregard any information that says this is bad. Or, we had bad experiences with something, so it instantly becomes "bad" even if there are a lot of legitimate studies stating the health benefits!

Actually, I find researchers and scientists are the worst at this. Many dedicate their whole career to one thing- they hypothesize a link between two things, spend years and years proving it... and then, another researcher finds the link is actually between an intermediate, or the research methods didn't account for another lurking variable- and before you know it, the two scientists are basically warring. Neither one has to be correct!

I see this a lot. As a budding scientist (and hopefully future medical researcher), I read a lot of reports. I don't have a "work" that is "mine" that I get attached to, and I do my best to open myself up to all information- both goods and bads in all things- so that I get the most hollistic, most accurate picture of what something is. I connect things. It's not just what I love to do; it's what I find is best to do, because I'm not dead-set on any one thing myself. If YOU don't have a strong opinion one way or another, it is your duty to find BOTH SIDES (or perhaps there are 3,4,5, or even 10 sides!) and gather as much info as you can so you can make the best decision possible.

What I really dislike, though, are those who are so actively ignorant that presenting them with information does nothing. Those who can read what is known to be fact and still hold their opposing opinion. Those who actively ignore SO MUCH that they end up in straight up denial. The doctor says you have high blood pressure. He shows you the reading. He takes it 2-3 more times to make sure. It's high. But you still say it is not, that you are healthy.

Did you know that over 70% of parents with overweight or obese kids think their kid is healthy weight or even UNDERweight? If you watched Biggest Loser you were exposed to that statistic... but just think about it. Your denial can hurt people- even the people you love the most- your children! That is truly sickening. The biggest problem in our country is not the soda. It's not the candy bars. It's not the commercials for PopTarts. The biggest problem: ourselves.

So, try to be the change. Totally cheesy, but it's necessary. Don't blame other people or other things for your own actions... seek out information. Be actively informed.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I love this blog, and having been a research analyst myself, I totally agree with you! There are things you just don't know or don't care to find out about because you have other things going on, and then there are those inherently OBVIOUS things that you refuse to believe because it would make you adjust the way you live or think.

    I believe there is good in everyone... even serial killers. The difference is that they make a conscious choice to do evil deeds. And I KNOW some of the things I do are bad and I still choose to do them... that is my issue and my igNORance, but I know the problem will not go away until I address it.

    And overwieght children... well, I was one. No one but other kids made me feel bad about myself, but it scarred me for life. No matter how "thin" I have ever been, I have always considered myself fat because the kids around me growing up would call me that. I am sure if they called me ugly, I would believe that after hearing it enough.

    So maybe we needs KIDS to stand in front of McDonalds or other fast food joints and BEG parents to take their children home for a healthy meal. But that won't work either, because McDonalds would sue you for defamaion or have you arrested for "infringing on their right to free enterprise".

    I could go on with this all day, but I totally get what you are saying! And most importantly, I am happy to see you on here blogging more often. I thought we had lost you there for a while.

    Happy days to you, dearie!!
    1981 days ago
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