Conscious Ignorance Can Be Bliss
I watched a little CNN online this morning and immediately felt angry, anxious, afraid and sad. 500 women raped in Congo, idiots at a church in Florida burning the Koran, BP blames Halliburton, forest fires in Colorado… As if I needed a reminder: THIS is why we don’t have television. Are we selfish for wanting to live in our own little world? Maybe, but I don’t care. All I know is that we don’t need to be constantly reminded that not all human beings are good people. Some are simply ignorant or selfish, and some are pure evil. But around here people are mostly good. CNN didn’t report on the neighbor who dropped off his truck here when mine was in the shop, or the one who brought us a box of peaches yesterday, or the family a few roads over who delivers our milk (on their way from picking up theirs) every Saturday.
While I don’t think “ignorance” is necessarily a good trait to seek, “conscious ignorance” when it comes to the constant barrage of negative “information” (i.e. negative infotainment) is something we practice these days. I guess it all depends on your personality, as to whether this type of news overload bothers you or not. I tend to get overly “worked up” about things like politics, religion, social issues, economics, environmental issues… and am finding more and more these days that my opinions, informed or otherwise, are just that – MY opinions. People don’t have to share them, and I don’t have to share theirs. It matters less to me these days whether my neighbors are Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian or indifferent, as long as they keep their livestock out of our pasture, their dogs out of our chicken coop and their greywater out of the creek. And, in fact, all of the people we’ve met in this valley seem to be exceptionally good neighbors, although few agree with us politically or socially on “most” of the major, divisive issues.
In short, I am largely trading global issues for local issues. I still care about global issues, but I’m pretty sure I’ve spent my life giving each of those the proportionally opposite attention they deserve. I am trying, with limited success so far, to turn the 80/20 rule into the 20/80 rule. The biggest help in this struggle is the absence of television – especially that drug we call Cable “News”.