Whether it’s children allergic to school, or adults too self-absorbed to improve our minds with varied non-fiction, just about all of humanity takes an expensive shortcut to understanding the world. We learn from and coalesce with other ill-informed persons, then proudly proclaim this popularity reason. When much of it is merely recycled ignorance.
Economic, social, and political leaders must, knowingly or unknowingly, appeal to this low common understanding: herd mentality superstitions. Lest the crowd launch innumerable allegations to ignore – or even ignite against – them.
The result: in order for leaders to maintain employment and power, they must appease people of average and below average understanding. This greatly slows the progress informed leaders are able to enact. And often it’s not even a question of progress being slowed, but of immense destruction to ourselves, many others, and our environment.
Humanity prefers a quick junkie fix – to feel – far and away more than take the time to be well-informed rationalists. We want to be amused, entertained, materially enriched, praised, sexually aroused-and-mislabel-it-love, lazy, shot up with a rush of cheap self-righteousness, angry, or part of a large, emotional, jeering-or-cheering crowd.
The most personally successful democratic leaders appeal to instinct, emotions, egotism, and confirmation bias: demagoguery. So ignorance doesn’t engage in two of its favorite activities: ignore you, or get mad. The best-informed and best-intentioned utilize these tools to surreptitiously enlighten and enhance the human condition.
If you want to improve humanity, first you have to care, be benevolent, rational, experienced, and informed. And then it helps a lot if you can attain a position of unusual influence. And then you need to be clever about implementing improvements for a species that commonly exhibits superstitions, unanimous willful ignorance, low active compassion, disinterest in ideas, and also fears change.
Best wishes jumping through all those hoops. Few even try. It’s like trying to herd a destruction** of large cats on Animal Kingdom. You had better have some food they like. Or you may be their next meal.
If you do not continually feed your intellect from the most compassionate, scientific, rational, innovative, informed, and curious minds of humanity, the alternative is to lease your cranial cavity to herd mentality, as most of humanity does. Fail.
Erudition empowers. Whether malevolent dictator, or Dalai Lama. Whether cruel, or compassionate. Being poorly-informed empowers both the intentionally malicious minority, and malevolent-from-ignorance-and-apathy majority – to overpower reason, you, and the world.
* Erudite: well-read or well-informed.
** A group of wild cats is called a dowt, or a destruction.