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Willful Ignorance?

Willful Ignorance?

By Dennis Loo (5/23/14)

"So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late” - Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower

A number of my students, even those who have taken multiple courses with me, have a hard time overcoming a conceptual problem that is rooted primarily in a personal moral dilemma: they keep saying that revolutionary change will never happen because all these other folks in this country are willfully ignorant.

This is not true of all of my students. But it is true of a sizable minority.

So many students have said variations on this theme so frequently that it almost seems like an intellectual knee jerk reaction:

Many people choose to be ignorant about social problems… Perhaps many of the individuals [hide behind] their ignorance as an excuse for not participating or taking action [about] the problem.

[People] do not want to believe that political officials, such as our president, would lie to them. It is much easier for some people to live a blind life than [to] face reality.

In at least some of the cases, these statements come out of people’s personal experiences talking with some people that they know – some of their friends or some of their family. “I tell them about what is going on and they tell me they’d rather eat hot dogs.” To which my response, half-jokingly, is that you need to get yourself some new friends.

But the statement – “it’s all those other people” – is really, in a fundamental way, a statement about themselves. What those who continue to repeat this statement are saying about themselves is this:

“I don’t have to do anything about what’s going on because even if I do, all those other people won’t listen to me. So it’s hopeless and unnecessary for me to stick my neck out because of those other people.”

The statements that “many people” or “most people” or “everybody” chooses to be ignorant about social problems is easily refuted since it should be obvious to my students who have been studying how much distortion, censorship and outright lies are being told to people through mainstream media and public officialdom that the majority of the public can’t be choosing to live a “blind life” when they aren’t being told the truth the vast majority of the time. You can only choose to live a “blind life” if you are regularly being exposed to the truth and despite that are choosing to be blind to it. You can’t consciously reject the truth if you don’t know what the truth is and what you think is the truth is a pack of lies but you don’t know that they are a pack of lies.

Yet, these statements, like an intellectual tic, keep being raised nonetheless. No matter how many times and how many ways I've shown why this argument is not empirically supportable and is illogical, it keeps being raised. It’s cropped up so much that I have had to scratch my head in puzzlement as to why it keeps coming up.

I think I finally know why.

I think that the safe way to fend off the necessary consequences of knowing how horrid the truth about our government and the capitalist system’s destruction of the earth is to say that “I don’t have to do anything because anything I do will be fruitless because all these other people already know the truth and they are refusing to face the truth.”

I think that it is sufficiently upsetting to those who are seeing the truth for the first time and the magnitude of it that they are afraid to face the implications - that they need to awaken other people to the dangers that our world faces. This involves some personal risk of potentially being socially shunned or worse, being killed. The stakes riding on all of this, after all, are immense, the highest stakes imaginable. 

So what those who are condemning others’ willful ignorance are doing is they are mainly making a statement about themselves. They are trying to rationalize a way to keep from having to do anything about the truths they are confronted with.

So if this is so, then does that make what they’re saying true, that the problem is that people know the truth and are being willfully ignorant to it?

It makes it true about those who are saying it, that they are being willfully ignorant.

But it doesn’t make it true about who they are ostensibly saying it about. It doesn’t make it true about the vast majority of people who still do not know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It doesn’t make the environmental crisis that is destroying the earth any less real because they are personally blaming other people for not recognizing the problem and doing something about it. It doesn’t solve a damn thing because those who are complaining about other ignorant people aren’t stepping up to the plate and doing everything they can to save the earth and humanity.

So to those who keep saying that the problem is all those other people: look in the mirror. It’s not them. It’s you. Stop making excuses and start acting on what you know and sharing it with more people. Don’t worry about the people who don’t want to accept what you’re telling them. Those people frankly don’t matter. There are literally millions of people in this country who would like to know the truth and don’t know yet what the truth is. They are languishing in misinformation, misconceptions, and being denied the truth. Telling people the truth and waking them up isn’t an easy thing to do because as I have written, even if you tell people the truth this doesn’t necessarily mean that they really get it because to really get the truth you need to get training.

Let us assume as a thought experiment that we had public officials who were in fact "transparent" and did in fact tell people the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. For the masses to really get this would require that the masses have training, otherwise even if they're being told the total truth, that truth isn't going to translate into the masses becoming capable themselves of fully knowing what to do with that truth.

You have no doubt had the experience in your life of someone telling you something (e.g., some verified theory in science like Relativity Theory) that is true but something that you didn't have the training to fully understand.

Since in the real world we cannot always count on public officials and others to tell others the whole truth, the public needs to be trained in how to sift through information and make considered and sophisticated judgments about what's true and what's not. That training requires a) leaders of a particular kind who are not leading out of personal self-interest but who genuinely want to raise the level of understanding of others and bridge the gap between leaders and led, and b) an economic and political system that does not require that the people be systematically fooled in order for that system to stay in place.

If you have an economic system - and a political system that reflects that economic system - that can only stay in place if the people who are being exploited are not fully aware that this is the system’s fundamental nature, then you cannot correspondingly have public officials who will tell people the truth and lead others in training them to make independent judgments. That kind of persons would be shunted aside by the system itself because they would be doing things at odds with the overall system’s inherent logic.

Thus, those who think that “campaign finance reform,” repealing the Citizens United decision, running third party candidates, calling for the end to all wars, and/or abolishing corporations, will solve the problems that confront us are not really addressing the heart of the problem. They are, instead, treating symptoms rather than the disease. The disease is the system itself. And the disease is killing us.

The primary purpose of this website is to a) expose people to the truth and to b) train people in how to evaluate facts and sort through competing claims.

People like to say, "knowledge is power," but that is not entirely true.

The truth is there to be found, but the truth has to be fought for. You have to learn how to recognize the truth and you have to want to know the truth. Not everyone wants the truth. Some people think that whatever serves their personal interest is what is "true." To want to know the truth requires that you be willing to accept things that are not personally convenient. You have to be willing to recognize hard truths sometimes. Not everyone is willing to do that. Yet they will argue with you vigorously until the cows come home.

When truth comes knocking on your door, if you don’t hear it knocking, you won’t let it in. Some people hear truth knocking, but when they look out their peep hole and they don't like what they see, they tell truth to "go away!" 

But this isn't the main problem. The main problem is that truth hasn't come knocking on most people's doors yet. Most people don't know that they have doors on the boxes that they live in because they don't yet know that they live in boxes. These are the boxes that people are referring to when they say you have to "think outside the box."

Some of the people in our society do not want the truth because it does not serve their narrow self-interest. Those who are living a privileged life are the more likely among us to reject inconvenient truths because that would interfere with their privileged life. There are some people among us who are philistines. But this does not describe everyone. And, in any case, even if it were hypothetically the case that 90% of the population were unwilling to face the truth about the threat to the planet, would that mean that the other 10% should let the planet be destroyed? Wouldn't it be incumbent upon the 10% who do see the dire necessity here to act and radically change what is?

Another objection that I have been hearing from a few students is that sociology is not really a science. They say that studying society, history and economics does not necessarily tell you anything. It’s all a matter of faith and belief rather than science.

Notably, nobody who truly understands what makes sociology a science thinks this way. Those who understand the scientific basis for a science of society do not think that sociology is a mere “belief” as opposed to a science.

Surprising as it is that some sociology majors should say that sociology isn’t a science, this view is nonetheless out there. It exists in part because even some sociologists aren’t scientists and they deride the idea that sociology can be and is a science. Postmodernists share with religious fundamentalists the same view that objective reality doesn’t exist and that all that matters is text or discourse or interpretation. Saying that truth is unknowable and that “everybody has their own truth” is another way of rationalizing inaction. If no one knows the truth then acting on what you know is useless. This radical rejection of the meaning of truth is the dominant perspective in the society as a whole. It serves the interests of those who are exploiting humanity and plundering the earth because they profit from people thinking that the truth is not knowable.

If we are going to save the planet from destruction we have to very firmly, passionately and scientifically fight for the validity and importance of science and reason.

What is true is true, no matter how many people may see it that way at any given point in time. Truth doesn’t depend upon how many people see it at any particular point in time. It’s true that capitalism and imperialism have a system logic of expand or die. This is true whether or not millions and billions of people currently understand that. It is true even if nobody understands it.

But it makes a material difference how many people understand what is true because it can spell the difference between life and death of individuals, species, and the planet.

If you’re interested in the truth and think that those who argue that there is no such thing as objective reality are stupid and dangerous to say that, then the revolution needs you. Those who can see this and who refuse to rationalize this away with various paltry excuses are needed badly. Because as sociology and materialist dialectics teaches us who recognize their scientific value, systems have a governing logic to them and this particular system is destroying the earth. This system is unable to avoid crises and catastrophes. It is by its very nature driven to economic and political crises and those who are scientific about this and courageous enough to face the truth are needed to prepare minds and organize forces now so that when the system’s workings compel millions to directly confront what way will rescue society from the ravages of this system, then we will have a chance to go for it.

Comments   

 
0 # vices 2014-05-24 06:52
It is definitely up to us to make the changes we want to see in the world. I was once skeptical about the motives of individuals, but I now believe that most people really do acknowledge that the system is corrupt and that there needs to be something done about it. I would have to agree that most people simply are not trained enough to fight back against the systems and there is lacking of leadership. I believe that there is a fear of stepping up against the system but as a past article explained, there are people that are willing to step up but taking the first step is the hardest. The first person that breaks the barrier reflects the traits of a leader. What most people need to realize is that everyone possesses that trait to break the barrier and become a leader. The truth exists whether an individual decides to acknowledge it or not. The truth is something we all must strive for because it has become something that is not as easily acquired anymore.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-24 14:36
People do need to step forward and there does need to be more leadership. There is an existing core of revolutionary leaders, however, that people can join up with. See http://revcom.us.

As for the system being "corrupt." I think a better term would be rotten to the core or irredeemable. Corrupt implies that its true nature has been distorted. That's not what has happened. What we see happening is a direct and inevitable outcome of the logic of a system that is based on "expand or die."
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0 # Sadiez Moreno 2014-05-25 04:08
I, too, was guilty of using such terminology. However, not only did I use similar phrases because I heard others expressing themselves in similar ways, but I believed them as well! I thought that it was pointless to go out on a limb and ostracize myself when everyone else is just "too selfish" or "too dumb" to care or understand. After this class, though, I have come to realize that this just isn't so. Do you believe that a new system should be implemented in educational institutions? I do. I think that this would help with the issue of people not being trained enough, as your concerned comment expressed. This problem of people not being exposed to this type of information results in the system that is in place today; thus, continuing the cycle generation after generation.
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0 # Giovanni 2014-05-24 18:49
In order to create change in society, one must create change within themselves. As I mentioned, people are willfully ignorant because they run from pain. In order to transcend it, we must embrace it.
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0 # cglov3r 2014-06-09 02:31
I couldn't agree more. There is a quote and unfortunately I cannot think of the author at the moment but it says to be the change you want to see in the world. We must definitely first begin with self. If we cannot change ourselves how will we ever begin to change the world? How could we ever lead by example and see to fruition the necessary changes our world so desperately needs?
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0 # Lomonaco 2014-05-25 05:29
We are socialized to think, and, and be a certain way. Change is not easy. Education is a contributor in making people believe and follow a certain ideology. I have really enjoyed this class because it has opened my eyes. I see that change is needed, but I am still unsure how change is going to happen or what it would look like.
According to Marx the proletariat are the ones who are going to have to stand up to change things. Even though this class of people is not rich, they have power. Without these people the bourgeoisie could not thrive like they do. The proletariat are the backbone of this country. People need to ban together as one and stand up for change. Ruffle the feathers of people and get them to think is a step in the right direction.
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0 # LA305302 2014-05-25 18:15
It is hard to imagine what change will look like, but what we need to keep in mind is that it will be better than what it is now. Without Capitalism we will have less crime and exploitation because these seem to be key outcomes of that system. Even though we are not very understanding on how to make it happen, we can as college students embrace what we have learned and pass it on. Spread awareness in ways that we haven't before. Being in college for me has made me a very vocal person in terms of my ideologies. We can use that as our tool to get out there and show those who are still uninformed.
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0 # Lomonaco 2014-05-26 04:42
True that education can open ones eyes. In reality we do not know what this change would turn out to be. It could be complete chaos.
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0 # LA305302 2014-05-26 05:28
Are the conditions that we currently live under not complete chaos? The violence that the government uses against us, rape, racism, or the crime amongst minorities trying to survive in this system that holds them down? Our goggles that we currently see society in are not the same that others do. Some come from more privileged life's than others, and we need to attempt to understand a world view that represents all of us.
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0 # CamouflagedWife 2014-05-26 15:53
I definitely agree with you Lomonaco, because it's true that everyone is socialized to be brought up and think a certain way that favors our current system one way or another. Many of the people in our society are not educated to think critically or to understand science and logic as something that is important in our society because many of the people, in my experience with friends and family, choose not to believe in the fact that there is something bigger that is wrong. Change is something that is needed, but going after individuals in the system won't necessarily change anything BIG because it's the system that needs changing. Until everyone can see that the system is to blame for all this destruction, then real change cannot occur. While some people see through the facade we live in, many still need help to see the truth and it's something that should also be happening as change is in motion.
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0 # Lomonaco 2014-05-27 03:11
It would be interesting to see the system crumble and be rebuilt in our lifetime.
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0 # Princess Peach 2014-05-25 07:13
It is an invalid excuse to say that it is pointless to contribute to revolutionary change because other people will not listen. The majority of Americans get their information about what is going on through the media. As we have learned throughout the quarter, the media distorts information. It is common for information presented in the media to be a flat out lie. If more people were exposed to the truth, more people would get involved in revolutionary change. If someone states that change cannot happen because of other people, they are being hypocrites. Change needs to start somewhere. On another note it surprises me that even a minority of sociology majors think that sociology is a belief rather than a science. We have discussed in lecture that sociology utilizes scientific methodology, human behavior is predictable, and human behavior comes from systems. With all of the information presented in lecture it is unbelievable that some people do not consider sociology a science.
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0 # Sarah Heitz 2014-05-25 21:26
I completely agree with you! I do not understand how after the lectures we have had in Loo's class how one cannot consider sociology a science. This is also an idealistic idea. According to Loo, idealism is where good ideas produce good results. All that we need to do to fix things is instill or propagate good ideas. If it were this easy to do I think a lot more of us would be idealists.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-25 21:29
Just to clarify for those who aren't familiar with this, you're using the term "idealism" here in the philosophical sense as in contrast to "materialism" in the philosophical sense, as opposed to the common use of the term of idealism as someone who strives for high ideals.
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0 # LA305302 2014-05-25 18:08
There are people out there who refuse to change anything for their own selfish gains, but once a person like us steps up to the plate I believe others will follow. By us, I mean people who are being oppressed by the system. Minorities who face day to day challenges. In order for others to follow some kind of critical mass needs to be formed. Once you get that others will follow because people can act like sheep. they follow the herd, except this time it wouldn't be brainlessly due to oppression. They will be following because the proper tools have been handed to them on how to think critically. An example of how people are already rebelling against our system, is by looking at communities with high crime that are against the police. If only we can redirect that suffering and channel it at the people who are imposing this system at us, That would speak in volumes.
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0 # Sme 2014-05-25 19:08
Through the course of the class we have been discussing the conformity principle that exists among people in our society, also about people being ignorant about many things that happen around them. Conformity keeps a society together it is because the majority of people are conformist that allow the government to behave the way it is now. The only difference between the conformist and the rebels or those who are doing something to change the system, is that rebels accept the truth while the minority of people or conformists deny it. It is easier for a person to listen to the truth and to turn their back on it rather than facing difficulty that comes with the truth. It is not necessarily true that most of the people do not know about the truth, it is just the fact that they know about it that makes them want to hide their knowledge or just ignores it.
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0 # Sarah Heitz 2014-05-25 21:17
As a sociology student some part of you has to feel the need to want to change the world and make it a better place. I have always felt this way and never realized until taking Dr. Loo's classes that we can make a difference. As we discussed in class this past week, society is a thing in and of itself which is why we are able to study it. We are able to predict patterns because of the social norms and rules in that certain society. We have to get the word out there that this form of governing society that we have today is killing our planet in many ways! But how? How is social change possible? How can one Cal Poly student enact change and inspire people to listen?
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0 # zzchi 2014-05-25 22:33
Dr. Loo pointed out his personal experience in which he crossed a line in a certain situation and other people did the same once he took the first step. As stated above ninety percent of the people on earth are unwilling to face the truth about the planet, yet the other ten percent does. A revolution is on the rise, but the system does not want to acknowledge it nor accept it. At one point, there was less than one percent who accepted the truth about this planet and now there is ten percent. People are seeing the truth. Whether it is rejected or not, something has to be done to save this planet from destruction. How much time is left before mass destruction is the key question I am imposing. Here we see both sides to the problem, yet people expect "others" to make the change first.
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0 # SecretSeaBridges 2014-05-26 00:58
Instead of waiting for someone else to make a move about change, we all must act on our own and make a difference. I do feel that there are people who chose to be "ignorant" about making changes, but I also believe that people would rather have someone else make the first move and then follow along with them. With more idealists in the world there will be a change for the better in our society.
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0 # zzchi 2014-05-26 01:16
Dr. Loo hypothetically pointed out, ninety percent of the people on earth are unwilling to face the truth about the planet and do anything about it, yet the other ten percent must do all they can to save the planet. This is an important concept because, people are neglectful when it comes to the truth of planet in which they are living on and simply turn their heads when confronted with the truth. A revolution is on the rise, but the system does not want to acknowledge it nor accept it. With any percentage rise this shows people are learning the truth. Whether it is rejected or not, something has to be done to save this planet from destruction. How much time is left before mass destruction is the key question I am imposing. Here we see both sides to the problem, yet people expect "others" to make the change first.
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0 # Sherlock 2014-05-26 03:11
I agree with everything you have said above-I am one of the willingly ignorant. As I said when I met with you, I am probably one of the people you don't like. That being said, I feel that when I get older and am not so busy, I will be more inclined to participate more in politics and the like. As of right now however, I do not like confrontation and feel I am too busy to learn everything I need to know and am lacking knowledge of in politics. But maybe this is myself making more excuses. I do believe that sociology is a science and feel that people who think otherwise need to put more research into the subject, before finalizing their opinion.
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+1 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-26 05:04
If I didn't like people who aren't politically well-informed then I would dislike most of the nation. It's not your fault that you're not that informed about politics, nor is it the rest of the nation's fault that mainstream media and the gov't lie to them.
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0 # Jane Doe 2014-05-26 04:42
This is true, I myself fall into the mainstream of people who has an excuse for being mainstream. Although I do not necessarily always believe that what is being said it is the truth I still accept it because frankly, I am either lazy or too busy to actually stop to think anything about it. That is why I love taking classes such as SOC 302 because it opens my eyes even more to what is going on and actually gives me a reason for me to think a bit more critically about politics & the gov't. I agree if we want to see change we have to be the change. Like an example you gave during class about the captain of the Brooklyn Dodgers who refused to sign the petition to get his fellow [black] teammate off the team and it made a difference. Proof that one person can make a change, it was not a movement, but it was a step to something big. It sounds cliche, but it's proven to be true.
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0 # aplopez 2014-05-26 06:47
I agree with you, I admit it too, that I would believe most things because of laziness or not thinking about the situation. Change is always better and lets us experience things in a new perspective. I remember being involved in a club "be the change" in high school, where we would participate in many activities (community service) to help make a difference. Small things can make a big difference. I soo agree that the example with Jackie Robinson story!! That is a perfect way to make a difference and changing the world to see in a different perspective.
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0 # zzchi 2014-05-26 05:54
Being trained to look for the truth is a difficult because, one has to be untrained to think as they did and trained to look as they do underneath the surface. One must dig under the surface and find the flaws in the system to find the truth. For example, capitalism is maximizing profit by any means necessary. Whether it is exploitation of the worker, horrific working conditions or anything but the truth to maximize profits, then capitalism has done their job. Marx pointed out, "labour produces works of wonder for the rich, but nakedness for the worker." The capitalist system works for the capitalist; not for the worker. The worker is alienated through his work in order to survive. However, it would be wrong for me to say, as a sociology student, what goes on in the world runs great with minimal glitches in the system. The system in which we live has all sorts of kinks and glitches that cannot be undone, yet how do we bring the revolution for change to fix the mess the world is in?
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0 # jnandez 2014-05-26 06:42
The majority of people do not know the truth. They are not constantly exposed to the truth, so they can't actually know it. This is something that needs to be understood by many people who are interested in changing the system i.e., the revolution. It's one thing to jump on the bandwagon yourself, but it is another thing to get others to understand and join the bandwagon themselves. People cannot "give up" on exposing the truth to others because they think people do not care or are uninterested about the truth, because in reality these people simply do not understand it.
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0 # BBalty 2014-05-26 21:26
Up until reading this article I have had a lot of questions regarding those individuals who refuse to accept the idea of a revolution. I could not comprehend why majority of people believe that there is nothing we can do as a nation to bring about social change. I had almost lost hope that spreading my knowledge would do any good. But now I see that if we choose to believe that nothing can change after knowing the truth then we are the ones being willfully ignorant. It has become our responsibility to spread our knowledge and not just the knowledge that is convenient to us but everything we know to be the "truth" in order to bring social change.
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0 # agris 2014-06-02 00:39
I can see where you are coming from as an activist however I feel as a sociologist you overlook a few issues. To say that people do not step forward & speak up in willful ignorance is false. There are many reasons people do not preach. Going against the grains of society is risky. Not everyone has the ability to take action. The working class is not middle class & not in poverty. They cannot say “I have nothing to lose” and create a reputation of speaking for reform. They also are not affluent enough to not care about what they say because they are already financially stable to have a sense of freedom with their speech & reputation. I feel this college is of students that are mostly working class families & have the potential to climb social classes & have a lot to lose when hindering their reputation. For you to say that people need to step up and preach maybe simple to one person but may ruin another.
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0 # Slovebee 2014-06-03 05:12
I agree in the beginning of the article where it states, "don’t worry about the people who don’t want to accept what you’re telling them." I do think that if we spend most of our time blaming others for not listening we are losing so much more time that can be used to inform others or do something ourselves! I definitely believe that if we spend our energy on forcing others to believe or making them feel bad about not knowing, then we lose plenty of opportunities to show others what our beliefs put into action can look like. We can definitely make more of an impact in our day-to-day actions that long winded tirades.
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0 # Sinnerman 2014-06-04 17:56
I feel like some people might use the populace as an excuse, but acknowledging the ignorance of the majority isn't just a way to excuse ones own laziness. I consider the average American to basically be a sheep that follows along with crowd, but that isn't an excuse not to not try to make change. Even if everyone informed on the subject cared enough to try to spread the information it still wouldn't reach everyone or even the majority of people. My question still remains how do we inform the majority of the lies that are told to them? I can't imagine any major news network would cover it unless they were ensured profits, and social media only does so far.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-06-04 18:38
Quoting Sinnerman:
My question still remains how do we inform the majority of the lies that are told to them? I can't imagine any major news network would cover it unless they were ensured profits, and social media only does so far.
The problem you're citing is made more severe by the fact that mainstream media are now gigantic corporations themselves & social media only goes so far, as you say. Movements like Occupy when they were in the encampments WERE reaching a majority & the majority responded positively. It's not possible to answer your question in one comment box. Here goes: social & rev mov'ts that become significant enough will garner media attention and thereby spread their message, even if in a way that's not entirely true to those mov'ts. This in conjunction w/ its exposures thru rev literature such as Revolution (revcom.us) and a site such as this can spread the word and build forces and opinion. Finally, there is the system itself (cont.)
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-06-04 18:49
Cont: Capitalism is a system that produces misery for most and is incapable of escaping from crises since it's a non-sustainable economic process that can only exist through periodic crises. As such it is also destroying the biosphere - e.g., global warming, nuclear disasters like Fukushima, hurricanes, etc. The revolution doesn't need to do all of the work to get peo in the place where they're open to another system, capitalism and imperialism themselves are wracked by crises and will produce inevitably situations in which business as usual becomes impossible. This provides the raw material for peo to consider seriously radical change.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-06-04 18:53
The system and its leaders are utterly illegitimate. It can only exist as it is through torture, mass murder, and destroying the planet. If enough peo can come to understand this - and I'm talking in this country about at this point thousands - enough that they will willingly take up revolutionary work, then those thousands can influence millions and in times of crises when those millions are in the mood that they are unwilling to live another day under a system that produces and can only produce massive disasters for the people and planet, then a rev becomes possible. We're trying to save the earth from destruction against a system hellbent and unable to stop from destruction. Not everyone realizes this yet, but many peo do and are potential recruits.
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0 # Sinnerman 2014-06-07 23:38
The real question is whether or not revolution will happen before it is too late and too much damage has been done to the planet. I have no doubt that eventually change will come its just a matter of time.
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0 # Karla Garcia 2014-06-08 11:58
i don't think people are ignorant on purpose i think that they really don't know what's going on and that's why they don't really know what to do about it. some people unfortunately don't have a good education so they don't know how to pick up the signals that something is wrong. also some people who know what is going on just believe that no matter what they do nothing is going to change because its only one person who is trying to make a difference.
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0 # Luvlife1 2014-06-09 02:30
I think many people really just don't know and If you try and explain they don't believe or they feel powerless and feel like they are just one person who cant make a difference. I have tried telling some of my people not to shop at Wal-Mart and have explained why but they cant really afford to shop anywhere else so they rather "save" money than to try and change the fact that corporations are all about exploitation. Therefore to a certain point some people choose not to make the right decision..
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0 # deltoro 2014-06-11 04:31
I agree with you, people are not ignorant. The people who are well educate do not want people from the lower class to have an education in order for them to keep them under control. Because the people with education or higher opportunities control the system. But it takes one person to start making a different in society.
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0 # mdAngel 2014-06-08 20:05
We have too many followers. Too many people who won't make the first move and wait for that one strong person to speak up before trending and following in their footsteps. There is leadership in all of us. Some natural born, some learn to be. People don't do anything because they are afraid of change. They fear change is bad, which it is always not.
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0 # Heng Chang 2014-06-09 05:32
I agree. However some people are born leaders, but not all leaders have the right intentions or want to do the right things. There are leaders like Hitler who do things for the wrong reasons, and there are leaders like Martin Luther King who want to make good changes.
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0 # Luvlife1 2014-06-09 00:58
The truth exists whether we want to see it or not. As I was growing up I always heard people talk about how the system is corrupt, I now know what they are talking about and can understand it although it has taken time for me to really believe that the truth is the truth and will not change unless we the people that now know about it take that step to make a change. Granting people want to make a change, there is great relief knowing we don't necessarily have to make that first step and that there are groups out there that we can join and together make a much bigger difference.
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0 # Christine Lopez 2014-06-09 02:23
Quoting from the last paragraph "This system is unable to avoid crises and catastrophes". After reading this paragraph the first idea that comes to mind is global warming. Global warming does exist and it is not a myth but many individuals and countries are not doing much to inform there citizens how to delay the effect. it just takes a group of people to help make the planet a better place. a lot of people are busy and don't know how to contribute to make a difference.
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0 # jessica Rodriguez 2014-06-09 05:14
i don't believe that people choose to be ignorant about social problems. they say ignorance is a bliss and for some people its something that i think they prefer. some people want change and other i think are too afraid of change. yet if they truly find out about how out system really is i think that there could be a change. that's why our government doesn't want the people to know the truth because with the truth our government will fall down.
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0 # Heng Chang 2014-06-09 05:29
People often complain about things but just sit there and wait for something to happen instead of making it happen. If you want to see change happen, you need to make the change. Again, people don't want to start making the change because they wait around thinking that other people will have the right answer. Therefore, even if we don't agree with a leader's action, we feel obliged to do what he or she says because we are until pressure and in a certain norm and we are afraid to break the rules. We don't take time to understand what is going on in our society because we just go along with what happens and that we think we can't make a change or do anything about it when reality, we can.
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0 # karen cornejo 2014-06-09 06:27
The sooner we realize that even high officials like the president will lie to so many people, the sooner we can start to actually listen and find answers for ourselves. If we start to build our own knowledge this revolution to stand up may actually have hope one day.
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0 # bobbybmartinez 2014-06-10 19:52
After reading this article and reading several of the comments that people are posting here, I have found that the majority state that "many people don't know the truth, well that can be inferred by simply reading the title of the article. In my opinion that is a problem, but to follow blindly and not ask question is definitely what our government and people in power rely on. Our government relies on a sleepy and ignorant public, who does not ask questions nor demand answers.

There are many revolutionary leaders that try to help people who are not informed and do not understand the underlying message that we are being fed.
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0 # bobbybmartinez 2014-06-10 19:56
Simply stated, we live in a fucked up world, and many people see this, feel this, are part of this, and others turn their back blindly to this and pretend that the world in perfect, but we are all of aware that this is not the case.
The only way to get rid of the brutality and destruction that our structure places on us, it to rise up and form a group of people that are willing to fight back, educate themselves and others, to revolutionize and not let state terror overwhelmingly take control.
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0 # Manuel Arias 2014-06-11 22:47
i too believe that when people find what really is going on, they rather turn their backs and look the other way than fight the cause. is it because we are scare of the government? or because we like to think our country is the best in the world?.. i also think that something can be done by educating people about the problem and the solution (such as the revolution is doing), hopefully they can see that is not right and they too can help make a change for the better of the citizens.
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0 # deltoro 2014-06-11 04:56
The key to know the true is education. The more education a person can have the better understand about our society. Great knowledge comes with great responsibility. In others words, the more education you have the more you can do for others. Education can helps to understand the system and how the system affect people. Education provide power.
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0 # James Dewey 2014-06-11 20:31
Part 1

I completely agree with you on the fact that will full ignorance is the reason why society maintains its course.
However i would like to respectfully disagree with one of your statements. "Wouldn't it be incumbent upon the 10% who do see the dire necessity here to act and radically change what is?"

In the begging of the article a student mentions that they would rather eat hot-dogs than be concerned with the current situation. What would behoove this person to put down the hot dog and take up in arms against the corporate class and join the revolution? A point was made in the article about requiring training in order to understand the truth, and the training in-turn lets you see the truth of the current situation. But in order to receive this training one must attain a higher (by american standards) education , which involves critical thinking. In order to attain this education, one must pay tuition to a university or other area of higher learning.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-06-11 21:28
Quoting James Dewey:
I completely agree with you on the fact that will full ignorance is the reason why society maintains its course.
Actually, my point isn't that the main problem is willful ignorance. There are the ones who ARE willfully ignorant, but what I was primarily aiming the argument against is those who are more aware but who refuse to act on what they know because they find it easier to blame those unaware for their unawareness as an excuse. This doesn't not describe the majority of people because the majority aren't aware of what is really going on.

My point about the hypothetical 10% is a rhetorical point that how many peo see what needs to be done isn't germane if what needs to be done is drastic. It's a retort to those who claim to be stymied by the lack of action from more people. Your discussion about those who have a higher education is not really what I was talking about even tho what you raise is touching on some important issues. Cont.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-06-11 21:32
Quoting Dennis Loo:
[Actually, my point isn't that the main problem is willful ignorance.


The problem has different dimensions to it and the main dimension to it is that the public is being lied to. Then there's those who could be doing more about what's going on because they do know more than the average person but among this group are those who are making excuses and blaming others. Critical thinking skills are something that one might learn in college but it's not the only place you can learn it. Revolutionaries can take it out to the proletariat.
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0 # James Dewey 2014-06-11 20:32
Part 2
Sociology teaches us that the privilege of a higher education is not equally accessible for all people, which can be reflected in the figure used in the quote "the 10% who do see the dire necessity"
Yet along with educational attainment, comes a higher standard of living, and greater social mobility. So not only are the trained people living more comfortably than the 90% but they have the ability to move up to a place of influence in the social world. My question is what would behoove the trained person to use their influence against the system that begat them their comfy lifestyle.
A critique i have about Marx, and i can see it in this argument, is that Marx believed that people where inherently concerned with the current social situation. As if the responsibility of change is pushed upon the trained people's shoulders.
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0 # James Dewey 2014-06-11 20:33
Part 3
But if a person's family is fed and taken care of, they make a comfortable wage, they have their religion, and their weekend leisure activity, why would someone put effort into something that could potentially unearth the comfortable foundation that the system has given you.

So yes, i agree in the fact that willful ignorance is the reason why nothing is getting done. In order to get social change started, the willfully ignorant would need to stop being ignorant, because they are the trained. in order to get the willfully ignorant to care, something would need to threaten/ or be presented as a threat to the everyday lifestyle of those who are willfully ignorant. An example of such a threat could be seen as a there being no more hot-dogs in the world :lol: :lol: :lol:
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0 # James Dewey 2014-06-11 21:57
Quoting Dennis Loo:
[quote name="James Dewey"]I was primarily aiming the argument against is those who are more aware but who refuse to act on what they know because they find it easier to blame those unaware for their unawareness as an excuse.


I can see how these willfully ignorant individuals blame the unaware for the continuation of the system without doing anything to change it themselves, sounds like a lazy person's excuse for anything. I guess the trick to promote social change would be to motivate the certain people who do know, into informing those who don't know. But then the question of motivation still arises, i see it as a very daunting task to motivate those who do know, to get those who don't know the information. I feel a form of effective motivation for getting people to care about a social movement is people's lives being directly affected by the system, rather than a problem one discovers after educational training.
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0 # Manuel Arias 2014-06-11 22:39
we live in a country were we think (at least the ignorant people) that everything is perfect. the government is doing things to better our country and the citizens well being. most of those people are not educated, they believe everything they see or hear on the news or media. and if they find the truth they choose not to see it, because how can their country do that to them, they rather turn the other way and keep pretending this country is the best in the world. we go to school and that's all we hear, how wonderful our country and the government is, if one stops going into higher education then one will never understand what really is going on. we need more professors who will speak their mind about what is really going on and not be afraid, such as yourself Dr. Loo. you have open my eyes and made a big impact of how i see things now.
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0 # Belinda 2014-06-11 23:44
I completely agree with your idea of ignorance. One of my biggest pet peeves are those that agree with everything you say or not voice their opinion when it matters. Speak the truth even if your voice shakes. You may not convince today but at least you opened their mind to the idea. By not informing others and labeling them as ignorant, we are being nothing more than judgmental beings. People may not agree with you, but if you believe in yourself and the right to your own opinion, they will respect you.
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Elaine Brower 2

Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12