Collective Ignorance

A world wide movement has developed out of the watershed of collapsing economies, austerity and the increasing awareness that something terrible is going on and that this has to be dealt with. They grope by trial and error in ignorance and learn.,
A world wide movement has developed out of the watershed of collapsing economies, austerity and the increasing awareness that something terrible is going on and that this has to be dealt with. They grope by trial and error in ignorance and learn.,
This is an unsung young hero of Occupy Vancouver who has weathered brutal weather, some assaults on the camp and new harsh conditions imposed in an election competition. He is young enough to be ignorant of many of the past struggles and politics.
This is an unsung young hero of Occupy Vancouver who has weathered brutal weather, some assaults on the camp and new harsh conditions imposed in an election competition. He is young enough to be ignorant of many of the past struggles and politics.
Mike is a 15 year old homeless man who found his way to the occupation and has been there since at least the 17th of Oct. He has been living there ever since, has improved in many ways and is one of the heroes.
Mike is a 15 year old homeless man who found his way to the occupation and has been there since at least the 17th of Oct. He has been living there ever since, has improved in many ways and is one of the heroes.
Though some say Occupy Vancouver is being run by communists and socialists, this is not the case. There are about five such groups and they have only been present one or two times in each case.New evidence suggests that black bloc is now controlling.
Though some say Occupy Vancouver is being run by communists and socialists, this is not the case. There are about five such groups and they have only been present one or two times in each case.New evidence suggests that black bloc is now controlling.
On the heady first day of the occupation there were some 7,000 people in attendance. Since then numbers have fallen off dramatically, but the few who are still there, especially overnight, are the true heroes.
On the heady first day of the occupation there were some 7,000 people in attendance. Since then numbers have fallen off dramatically, but the few who are still there, especially overnight, are the true heroes.
In the chill air of the morning of Oct. 16th, this man was doing yoga at Occupy Vancouver. He was seen for a few days and then no more.
In the chill air of the morning of Oct. 16th, this man was doing yoga at Occupy Vancouver. He was seen for a few days and then no more.
One of the reasons why Occupy Vancouver is present because of a lack of action on homelessness and broken promises going back 30 years, This man was photographed on a street intersection far from the occupation.
One of the reasons why Occupy Vancouver is present because of a lack of action on homelessness and broken promises going back 30 years, This man was photographed on a street intersection far from the occupation.

Ignorance is not bliss! An Analysis

In the light of recent world wide events and the confusion arising therefrom, we have to look into the details of history and recent events that got us to modern world wide protest movement. Every last one of us is born ignorant. We have to learn everything from those we depend upon without exception. About the only thing we have a grasp of when born, is breath. We have to learn just about everything else. This ignorance is not only the problem of the individual, but also of the whole of society and across generations. Each successive wave of population has to be raised and trained by the one just before. This occurs in a combined and unequal fashion as no two people are the same, nor are two cultures the same. We are also disjointed in time. Everyone also goes through different experiences of learning and this guarantees that some will be aware of things that others are not within the same community and generation. Knowledge also changes through time, resulting in alienation between generations. The problem of ignorance is a big one with no easy solution. Indeed, when we learn to do something in one way, we often forget how we did the same task originally. This has been stated another way by saying when one veil lifts, another drops. Going forward often means that we cannot go back if the way forward fails.

Of the five conditions that hinder humanity, the yogi Pantanjali lists ignorance as being one of them. But in learning, we are not guaranteed liberty from ignorance as people can be taught anything as “truth” and much of what people learn is empty of anything substantial. A single object lesson of history demonstrates how much this is so. That lesson is the one of the destruction of a culture by stealing away the children and re-edcuating them. This was the fate of many First Nations who had their children taken away en-masse to be re-educated in residential schools while the adults were forced into reservations. The children who would have been taught by First Nations adults on the arts and skills of living off the land and the rudiments of agriculture are instead given a European education totally unrelated to the needs of a First Nations youth. The re-educated youth does not know the old ways and is as helpless as many European settler was when they first landed on the shores of the new found region of the First Nations. In that earlier instance, they received help from the First Nations. They could not have survived without them, especially in the winter months with inadequate shelter and food. Indeed, almost all of the earliest settlers died anyway. Some tried to lord it over their kind hosts and met with a cruel response.

In our current culture, most people lack essential skills for independent life, where there is no supermarket, no electricity, no transport beyond one's own legs, no modern conveniences or anything else we take for granted. There are only a few places where a person can receive such learning, but given the allure of making money, people turn their attention to that quest instead. Thus, though lettered in areas of economy and finance, they are stone ignorant in basic survival skills if that civilization should suddenly come to a halt for one reason or another.

Ignorance carries a hidden and high price that can be usually disadvantageous but in a few instance can actually prove to be an asset. We have already seen the disadvantages. We have been told that the failure to learn history dooms us to repeating history. History also has cycles and those who know can use this to their advantage. Those that do not know this, repeat the errors. Those who do know, manipulate the ignorant to repeat the cycles while they themselves advance. In addition, in the current economy, many cycles are in themselves manipulated. This is how a few people are able to profit from the ignorance that passes from generation to generation.

That which was common knowledge of the previous generation is virtually unknown by the latest generation due in large part of manipulating ignorance in centers of learning. The formula used for advancing in economics can also be used in other areas of life. In the area of politics the knowledge of older people is unknown by the younger generation due to dumbing down. The dumbing down has been general and what some people consider to be failures and huge problems, are unknown by the youth. General dumbing down has overlooked important lessons that can be learned from history by even the younger to the advantage of those who normally control this kind of thing. One of these lessons of history is the tragedy of Stalin in Russia. There are many young people who are not even aware of Stalin let alone what he did. What they do hear is that communism is an abomination and they except that carte blanche without question for the most part. This is usually due to the fact that questioning is discouraged over faith. Obedience to authority and memorizing is preferred over open questioning and seeking of the truth. The latter is often penalized.

Lacking the knowledge of this seminal event in the 20th century makes them a clean slate and willing to try things as if they are new. In the 21st century, a new movement is afoot in the world and that is what is referred to as the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and supporting movements. What they do know is that they do not like the way the world is going by way of collective austerity. Both movements can trace their beginnings in the political – economic developments over the last several years and to the trigger event in Tunisia where a poor person set himself on fire when the state refused to allow him to run a meagre street business in order to survive. From Tunisia, it spread to Egypt and then to other countries. The movement grew first in the Middle East and then to the Christian world. The way it has developed in its groping way has been toward a coordinated assembly of many people doing many integrated tasks such as providing food, clothes, dealing with the media, arranging speakers, dealing with infiltrators and above all doing everything possible to be peaceful. They seek justice, democracy and economic solutions. Perhaps there is some collective memory at work from the unconscious. Perhaps it is something else.

But there are those who do know of history and the great advances and tragedies that unfolded. They both attempt to steer the younger and more ignorant by telling them their sides of the history. Two version of history emerge and though there is truth in both, there is also a lot of untruth and this get embellished to the point of total confusion. Most people will not challenge what seemingly knowledgeable peers have to say. The critical minded will question and seek out references that will usually render an embellished argument into non effect. Truth has to be a rigorous business not tied to subjective rationalizations but to the objective evidence inasmuch as possible.

The youth for the most part respond to what they see as wrong and behave in an anarchistic fashion for the idea of total freedom, especially if they have experienced tyranny and bullying throughout their lives. In their groping way they will try one thing and another. There are those surrounding them that will attempt to steer this force to a certain direction one way or another. For the OWS movement, there are now a host of supporters and erstwhile leaders of virtually every conceivable stripe. What results is a bewildering array of points of view and considerations of history and possible directions to go in. Others read a threat into it seeing a malleable mass being shaped for sinister and conspiratorial ends. What we have is a labyrinth that will take an aware and knowledgeable genius to sort it out to a coherent picture. Getting the people in mass movement to follow is quite another trick and to their credit, the youth are not quick to jump on various bandwagons of opportunism. They are groping their largely ignorant way to an uncertain future as the rest of us do in our day to day lives. But contrary to what we are told where ignorance is bliss and what we don't know won't hurt us, ignorance can only be bliss to those who attempt to exploit that of others for personal gain and what we don't know can be definitely harmful to us. Ignorance is a mixed thing, a blessing for some and a curse for most.

The very first day of the Occupy Vancouver protest

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Comments 6 comments

f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Where are the lasting forces for positive social change?

Where are the dynamic resources of a progressive society so people of all ages can draw on them and learn how to become an active part of an on going movement for fairness, justice and a better future for life on earth?

Is it the co-op movement and alternate media we have to expand and build on since the political parties are not doing much on their own.

We have to unlearn just being consumers and cut through the constant manipulation and brainwashing by the stagnant, bureaucratic establishment.

The internet is a good place to start - using hub pages better may help us get the word out that change is on its way.

Let's learn how to sharpen our spirit while unlearning our mind debilitating consumer ideology.

Change is already here, my friend!


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Interesting, and well written article. Thank you.

But what did you mean by "the tragedy of Stalin"?


syzygyastro profile image

syzygyastro 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada Author

Change is indeed on the way, but we must recognize a very simple and real truth. The ones who have gained all the wealth and power over the last few decades of unregulated economy are not willing to give it up without a struggle. This has been and is demonstrated recently and now in just about any hot spot you care to name.

In the case of the tragedy of Stalin, we are looking at a demagogue who by his actions succeeded in poisoning an entire global generation against any positive benefits that can come from a communist society. He took singular power in the USSR and turned it into a cult of personality with huge costs in life against his own people. Under him, the USSR became a deformed workers state with him at the head. He succeeded in only alienating an entire generation by all of his betrayals. I would say he was one of the greatest criminals in the 20th century.

In the current dumbing down, I have met people who don't even know who Stalin was and what he did. This is shocking when one considers the impact he had on the 20th century.


f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Stalin didn't exist in a vacuum. The USSR hat Hitler in NAZI Germany and the rest of the global fascist axis, with Franco in Spain, Mussolini in Italy and Hirohito in Japan to contend with.

That was then! How about a new Socialist International like Willy Brandt and Bruno Kreisky had in mind?

The capitalist system is going down the tubes real fast so it's high time for people to start looking for a much better way to take part in a new socio-economic system than just being mindless consumers of what the mass media is dishing out every day!

What kind of change do you want to see and how will it come about?


SanXuary 5 years ago

A true Democracy is the answer get rid of the Republic. Remove the conflict of interest by removing Politicians from money. Pay for a defined election system and pay them well. Close down K street and the lobbyist and make it easier for voters to create and pass petitions that force our representatives to represent the people. Make a fair corporate system and allow the workers to be the share holders and not wall street. If the company profits so should the workers. I can keep going all day long.


syzygyastro profile image

syzygyastro 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada Author

It is certainly true that Stalin did not operate in a vacuum and cut a lot of deals for "socialism in one country" in contradistinction to the earlier concept of spreading the revolution under Lenin, Trotsky and the Commenturn. In the beginning Stalin opposed Trotsky but in the end implemented every suggestion Trotsky made.

But the argument of this thesis is not about the history, but the fact that people have not been taught anything of the history of the developments under Stalin or even who he was. This is why it is now possible to start off with a clean slate uncontaminated by Stalin's influence and even that of his followers found mainly in the traditional communist movements around the world. People are now looking at socialist ideas again unfettered by the heinous deeds of the past. This is why new advocates of the idea are gaining popularity in this decay stage of the corruption of capitalism managed by casino economists.

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