Ignorance is not an excuse

Now that many politicians and the public are taking a more objective look at marijuana, many are asking about the legal history of marijuana and how it ended up in the category of drugs deemed most dangerous by the federal government Schedule I. At this time we saw an influx of immigration from Mexico into states like Texas and Louisiana. Not surprising, these new Americans brought with them their native language, culture and customs.

Ignorance is not an excuse

While we've all heard the saying that "ignorance is bliss," we all know that that particular saying is about as true as "the customer is always right" -- they're just words that we hear a lot. The truth is that ignorance is a very damaging aspect of many of our lives, and I know that in my life, it's caused me a lot of pain, frustration, confusion, and aggravation.

And I know that the worst times are when I act out of ignorance rather than taking the time to find out more information about a situation, and this has happened much more than I'd like to admit.

First off, it seems important to define this term. Ignorance is simply a lack of knowledge, not a form of stupidity, as some people like to use the term when Ignorance is not an excuse trying to insult someone else. For example, I'm completely ignorant of most aspects of quantum physics.

I know almost nothing about the topic, and I'm the first to admit that I'm almost completely ignorant about the field. The same goes for chemistry, veterinary medicine, current politics in New Zealand, and many, many other topics.

But there are some things about which I shouldn't be ignorant. Another saying that we often hear is that "ignorance of the law is no excuse," and for the most part, that's true.

Copyright 1998 by Ronald B. Standler

Most judges and police officers will be pretty forgiving if we're talking about little-known laws that are almost never enforced, but does your state have a law concerning the use of cell phones while driving?

Ours does, and not knowing about the law can result in a pretty heavy fine and points on your license. I shouldn't be ignorant of how my step-children are doing in school, I shouldn't be ignorant of the particular demands of my job, and I shouldn't be ignorant of what's going on in my town.

If I don't pay some attention, who's to blame for my surprise when they start tearing down my neighborhood to build a new bypass or apartment complex? Ignorance is the main force behind almost all prejudices and biases. Even the word "prejudice" implies "pre-judging," or judging beforehand, and we have to ask "before what?

And if you don't have that knowledge, you're ignorant, yet you're still judging. How can that ever be helpful or even honest? Many people who face difficult financial situations do so because of ignorance -- ignorance of basic financial principles behind credit, ignorance of tax laws and procedures, and ignorance of concepts such as interest and investing.

They find themselves struggling because they just didn't know that putting so much on credit would lead to such high monthly bills. They didn't realize that even paying the minimum monthly payment on credit doesn't lower the bill enough even to make a dent in the balance.

They've believed the hype behind the "buy now" mentality, and they haven't made the effort to look behind that hype and find out the true story. Many religions and cults and splinter groups from major religions like to encourage ignorance among their followers, for they fear that if their followers learn more about their tenets and beliefs, they'll not like what they see and back out.

In this way, these groups build intolerance and prejudice among their followers, keeping these people trapped in a system of belief that's based upon not knowing any more than the leaders want them to know. Many people like to use their ignorance as an excuse, and the words "I didn't know" are their favorite words of all.

I had to work with someone like that once, and I found that I couldn't ever depend upon that person. No matter what she was told to do, she would claim "I didn't know you wanted me to do that" the next day when the job hadn't been done.

It was one of the most frustrating professional experiences that I and the other people involved ever had. Teens like to use ignorance as an excuse for not doing their chores or certain tasks, and it's important that they learn quickly that ignorance is almost never a valid excuse in real life.

In the work world, if you don't know something, you'd better find out -- that's what you're getting paid for.

Seen and Heard

How many stories have you read or movies have you seen in which the main character goes through the entire film not knowing something very important, and you watch as he or she comes closer and closer to breaking through his or her ignorance to find knowledge?

Aren't you just waiting the entire time for that to happen, and don't you just know that things will be much better when the character learns? In The Lion King, for example, Simba almost throws away his life and his heritage based on ignorance -- he didn't know what truly happened to his father.

Believing his uncle was easier than giving himself credit and finding out the truth of the situation. How many times have you thought someone to be a jerk or worse because of the way that he or she talked to you or answered one of your questions, only to find out later that something bad had just happened to that person?

Your ignorance caused you to judge harshly and sometimes to lose your own peace of mind, even though had you known the true situation, you probably would have reacted with compassion and caring. But getting upset is easier than thinking compassionately, until you get used to the latter.

Ignorance is the easy way out, and the easy way out is rarely the best. Fighting our own ignorance takes dedication, desire, and effort. We have to learn, we have to keep open minds, and we have to step back from pre-judging based on religion, race, nationality, skin piercings, tattoos, or any other physical characteristics that lead us to depend upon stereotypes to figure out what a person is like.

Ignorance keeps us down, and it keeps us from getting ahead, and the only way to combat it is to search for the knowledge we need is any given situation. Sometimes, that's as easy to do as asking a few simple questions, but other times, it takes a great deal of effort.

Either way, it's worth doing.General Disclaimer: Site Provides No Medical Advice.

Ignorance is not an excuse

This site is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Whiteness studies is an interdisciplinary arena of inquiry that has developed beginning in the United States, particularly since the late 20th century, and is focused on what proponents describe as the cultural, historical and sociological aspects of people identified as white, and the social construction of "whiteness" as an ideology tied to social status.

2 the state of being unlearned. with such vast sums spent on education, the level of ignorance among graduating seniors is a national disgrace. There aren't too many things in life as damaging as ignorance.

While we've all heard the saying that "ignorance is bliss," we all know that that particular saying is about as true as "the customer is always right" -- they're just words that we hear a lot.

With vast wealth and vast immaturity comes vast shallowness. The liege lords of Silicon Valley share two properties: greed and ignorance.

When you read that someone not that long out of short. Ignorance of the Law May Be an Excuse By Thomas Seigel, Attorney and Former Federal Prosecutor Ignorance of the law can be an excuse in two very narrow situations.

quotes and an essay on ignorance--an obstacle to a full life