When your ego stops you from learning ……

In our pursuit of happiness, success and peace, we often deviate from the most vital aspect of the process of constantly attaining knowledge, wisdom and progressive thinking. A fair majority of us either come to a grinding stop or reluctantly nudge ourselves towards learning , gaining fact based knowledge or developing ourselves intellectually towards the very goals we set to attain to live happier, peaceful and successful lives. Yet we are more than ready to cover our blatant ignorance by having the audacity to blame others, live in denials and deflect facts and realities which eventually costs our ambitions and goals in our lives.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

If we truly seek to develop ourselves and become better individuals in our lives, we need to honestly ask ourselves how intelligent we truly are and what is our knowledge based upon.  In an effort to understand the importance of constantly developing our knowledge on sound wisdom, we need to first truly understand and accept our current level of knowledge and the need to develop it further in order to help us attain our life goals.

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. ~Bertrand Russell

There are four basic groups of people when we speak about knowledge:

1)      The blissfully ignorant – These are either innocent people or those who are absolutely unaware of the realities, facts or common knowledge. The reasons for people to be in this state can be many, but they display common traits. They avoid certain conversations because they cannot speak intelligently about them, they do not take the time, initiative or put in the effort to learn, and do not take offense or feel the urge to educate themselves when they are expected to posses certain basic knowledge. These are some of the basic common traits and behavioural patterns of this group of individuals. Needless to say, they often seem to have low self esteem or confidence levels and are least egoistic in nature.

2)      The semi-knowledgeable – This group is perhaps the largest of the four and most commonly found.  Individuals in this group are educated and schooled enough to form general intelligent opinions, have a good understanding of several subjects, they have good cognitive, analytical and survival skills, and generally do well in several situations. They can have a biased or unbiased outlook towards certain matters of interest, thrive on their personal experiences and are generally influenced by their learning, social and cultural backgrounds, borrowed or others peoples wisdom, and socio=economic circumstances. They are egoistic, and confident about matters they are comfortable with and can be stubbornly opinionated at times about issues with very little facts, or full knowledge almost to the extent of being overly sensitive about some subjects.

3)      The well experienced and educated – These individuals have substantial experience or exposure to various cultures, are well educated, generally posses a logical approach and posses above average intellectual smarts and education. They are and can be thinkers, influencers, leaders, and successful people in their professional, social and cultural groups.  They are well informed and many of them are well read as well. Individuals in these groups also tend to be highly opinionated, stubborn, arrogant, egoistic and at times abrasive in nature.

4)      The Intelligent and Wise – These are the movers and shakers of their world. They excel in their subjects of interest, are intelligent, often are very inspirational, and are often well rounded in character, balanced in opinions, always open to learning and they thrive on becoming and seen as the experts amongst their peers. They measure their success by the knowledge they posses and are able to disperse in their community. They are willing to educate others, share their wisdom and are happy to explore other subjects of their interests in the aim to be well informed.

Light travels faster than sound. That’s why most people seem bright until you hear them speak. ~Author Unknown

The amusing fact about these four groups of people is that every individual in any of these groups can upgrade themselves to any of the higher levels or downgrade to perhaps a level below. The downward regression is hardly possible because it is rather very difficult of people to “unknowledge” themselves once they have possessed the wisdom and intellect. But progress on the other hand is totally unrestricted if an individual is interested. Several events in life often forces people to upgrade and attain the knowledge they need to survive and eventually pushes them to higher levels of knowledge and/or success.

Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance, is the death of knowledge. ~Alfred North Whitehead

Amongst the four groups described above, the most troubled and challenged of them are the individuals who are caught in the second level: The semi-knowledgeable.  The most apparent reason why this group of individuals seem to be caught in a perpetual state of dilemma battling one experience after another and constantly in a state of survival rather than success or peace is that they are not open to learning and expanding their understanding of matters. Their stubborn egos, pride, ultra sensitiveness, arrogant opinions and unwillingness to concede to the fact their acquired knowledge could be flawed doesn’t allow them to look beyond their preconceived notions and beliefs. They bask on the comfort of their immediate social surroundings and acceptance and find very little need to progress further or work towards attaining more knowledge, wisdom or monetary success if possible. The confine themselves to their limited opinions and often baseless knowledge, they deliberately avoid applying logic or intellectual thinking to their stubborn beliefs, or even accept a balance or unbiased view points on several issues.  Sadly trapped in their high strung egoistic personalities, culturally conceived authoritative positions and blatant refusal to change they are often found wallowing in their world of thoughtless egoistic statements, cynicism, highly critical and judgemental behaviour, blatant denials, holding prejudices, hate, bitterness, socializing only with like minded people, conforming to borrowed and fact less wisdom from others and monotonous lifestyle. If you look around you will find several of them who fit this category. It is worthwhile to examine the individual in the mirror as well.

The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about. ~ Wayne Dyer

The pursuit to happiness consists of a constant process of self evaluation and progressive evolution of self in many levels. Attaining knowledge, growing intellectually, gaining wisdom, and learning from life experiences are essential components of our developments and success.  And in order for us to attain happiness in life, rid ourselves of our negativity, become successful and progress in our lives, we need to be open to learning all through our lives. A goal to becoming rich, finding love or graduating with a University Degree is merely a temporary and short lived rock ledge in our accent to the peak of our life. Because what we do once we reach this goal in life is what matter most in reality.  If we choose to  squander our wealth, remain and conduct ourselves as an ignorant individual even after attaining a University Degree or disrespect and hurt the love we struggled to win over we only defy and show total disregard the very purpose of attaining these goals and the effort and time spend attaining them.  In fact, we degrade ourselves to one step below the level of knowledge we have struggled to attain.

My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors. ~ Maya Angelou

If we truly seek happiness and success in life, we need to understand and adapt ourselves in an endless pursuit of knowledge in a sincere effort to becoming better individuals. And once we attain the knowledge we always need to check ourselves against our own intellect in order to benefit from the knowledge we have attained. A truly happy, peaceful and successful individual rids themselves of petty thinking, biased opinions, prejudice, baseless knowledge, rumours, arrogance, and  embrace knowledge by taking the trouble to learn, educate themselves of the facts, openness to other point of views, acceptances of difference of opinions, and use their intellect to form sound positive attitude towards change and balance in all aspects in life.

The most violent element in society is ignorance. ~Emma Goldman