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Every day a new story
01 October 2020

Knowledge will save us

Raffaello, The School of Athens

Ignorance is everywhere and, as Plato said, of all the wild animals, ignorance is the most difficult to tame. Jealous people are ignorant because they feel superior to the rest of the world: by not fulfilling their tasks, they smear their limited knowledge by purposefully twisting it, spreading lies upon which to build their power. Nothing is worse than wilful ignorance. There is no personal growth, no acceptance of change: ignorant people are creatures of habit with fossilised thoughts who do not delve deeper, do not listen to wiser people, and do not give answers. They believe in a ‘doxa’, they do not listen to themselves or do so superficially.

Knowing oneself is the most important science – it creates suffering. Suffering is the result of ignorance, but ignorant people ignore it and never feel responsible for their own actions.

Now more than ever, we need a ruling class who knows how to listen and give answers. Far too often we are guided by widespread illiteracy and live in a sick, global economy – visionary people, who could save a teetering world on the precipice of collapse, seem to be few and far between.

For too many years, we have unflinchingly denied the problem posed by climate change and an ever more precarious biodiversity. Saying it is too difficult or costly to resolve now is the easy way out, by leveraging on the ‘threat’ to our freedom to consume, disfigure, burn, and destroy the home in which we live: Mother Earth. Cue the infinite trafficking of ignorance.

Words sold by sovereignists all over the world, take the Chinese regime for example, only mobilise the masses, they command the people to channel their energies to a widespread idiocy. Ignorance means not knowing and equals to not seeing what happens before our eyes. We do not see that the sovereign guiding us is pointing the finger to the threats of a linked world, and therefore controls digital and physical borders, denying or hiding the virus, rejecting international cooperation which could have contained the problem more swiftly.

Ignorance is a power system based on the limitations of cultural mechanisms, reducing our ability to learn and creating mass standardisation.

Sovereignists feed off their self-referentiality, they bask in their self-fulfilment, they love to be loved and know how to be loved, creating a short-sighted, vulgar, warmongering, arrogant, petty replica of existence, destined to send our world into ruin.

Let us do our bit: our company policy is to give answers on a daily basis. Never forget our values. Only knowledge allows me to listen to an employee and give them an answer, or having people on our team who can find solutions to life’s everyday problems. This is not an opinion, it is science. The former boosts ignorance, while the latter creates knowledge. Being ‘good’, kind, available people is not good enough: if you have power, you cannot let the virus of ignorance in.

An ignorance trafficker will feel stronger and more legitimised and reinforces his irresponsibility by exploiting the ignorance of people who, when faced with a question they cannot answer, raise their hands, become brutish, and have the audacity to direct their bitterness against everything and everyone.

Willy’s murders. Pisticci’s young rapists. The fire-starting mafiosi in Sicily. Have you ever noticed? When we deal with ‘complicated’ people, the answer is always, ‘oh, but they are stupid’. We are always convinced we can do no wrong and that everyone else is to blame. That is the easy way out. Ignorant people are dangerous because they feel they can do what they want, and therefore have to be cured. Being one among many and then becoming a figurehead of ignorant people is relatively easy.

It is difficult to cure ignorance, which is de facto infinite, with a finite conscience.

Dialogue and a lot of patience are needed, and we need to give space and attention to people with good ideas. What puzzles me is that certain people are proud of their ignorance; even I belonged to their ranks when I was younger. At least now I am aware of how little I know, but I also know that the more I know, the better I am. And I know we cannot spot ignorant people by what they do but by how they do it.

People working in hospitality cannot be slaves to the whims of guests and change role, becoming a know-it-all when speaking with their team. Ignorant people are those with bad manners, who have roles where ignorance is not allowed.

What do we do? Employ a recovery strategy: warn these people and do not showcase their sins publicly. If they do not listen, do not give up: do not judge them, but help them, as Pope Francis says.

To conclude the end of this sermon against ignorance, let us listen to a Clash album, who were often labelled as ignorant and anarchic punks. Nothing could be further from the truth: the four rebel rakes were against violence and were the epitome of antiracism. They felt disenfranchised with life and lived it with irony and creativity.

Disenfranchisement and knowledge create freedom, a lightness which peaks in joie de vivre which cannot be achieved if you live in ignorance.

Is this not wisdom, after all? Land ahoy.

Michil Costa