Meaning of Ignorance

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One of the most significant uses of language is communicating to other people the very extent of their failings intellectually. This becomes more entertaining depending on the choice of the words used in the communication. This is because some words hold different meanings depending on the way we use them. Some words may have been used to mean what exactly they don’t mean. One of these words is ‘ignorance’ which has stirred a lot of discussion for a longer time.       

One of the enemies to life and acquiring knowledge and happiness includes reality denial. The truth is that reality exists and ignoring or declining any of its parts can end up resulting to problems in one's life (Edmond et al 396). A story about the guys who took drive across the desert brings out the futility of denial. The drive for long and eventually the vehicle runs out of the fuel. They become stranded in such an environment where they cannot get help easily. When the companion tries to investigate the fuel gauge to see what might be the problem, it still seems full. When he asks the driver “How has it happened we are out of fuel?” the driver responds “Myself I don’t understand it, I disconnected the wires from the gauge and it is still showing the tank is full. We ought to have a plenty of fuel”.

The word ignorance has a variety of meaning depending on the use of the term and which may appear contrasting to many people. As a result, it has emanated a nice and interesting word to research on and help give a better glimpse to understanding the term better. Ignorance shows that the group being referred needs to be educated on the subject in hand (Shonin 1487).

The word is not a synonym for to mean stupidity as it closely means uninformed than being unintelligent.

The word ignorance has derived its meaning from different languages around the globe. As derived from the old French term “ignorant” this term means being unaware of or lacking knowledge or wisdom. From Latin “ignorantem”, the term ignorance means not knowing or not acquainted, misunderstand, mistake, not paying attention to or taking no notice about a certain subject (Philip 322).

Ignorance, as derived from the Latin form, the present participle of the term, is” ignorare” which translates as “not to know” and it can be split into two parts. “In” means the opposite of or not. The other part is “gnarus” which translates to being aware of or getting acquainted with (Philip 592).

There is an idea that ignorance can be useful in testing fairness. This is seen in The Veil of Ignorance where no one has an understanding of who they are.  According to this idea, people lack clues of their disadvantages, privileges and also their personality. They live as a group without partiality with the role of making a society owning conception of justice (Edmond et al.392).

The idea derived from the Veil of Ignorance argues that the opinions pertaining the just and unjust are gotten via our own experiences. Generally, the society that is resulting is determined to be a fair one (Edmond et al.401).

There is another idea that ignorance is bliss (Edmond et al.409). This idea holds that a person who does not have knowledge of a certain problem does not get worried about it. He or she does not struggle with the news and does not care about the troubles in the world and hence stays happy (Edmond et al.391). For instance, small kids are never depressed as they are not yet exposed to the world of struggles and they don’t anything or don’t know anything to worry about. As a result, the kid by the virtue of not knowing anything is considered ‘ignorant’ and this is blissful to him or her.

Another idea on the term is that ‘ignorance’ is dangerous and risky. It can kill as self-deception through denial of reality and life-denying and can easily damage happiness and the meaning in one's life. Some identified dangerous impacts of ignorance are that one cannot see what is coming, limits your choices and power and consequently may result in more mistakes and greater costs (Diekmann et al.311).

The term stupidity and ignorance have remained been the test of time since there meaning and use are being confused too often. Ignorant as an adjective explains a person lacking knowledge or does not have an understanding of a certain subject. With ignorance, one has little, if any, knowledge about a particular subject (Shonin et al.1492). For example, one being ignorant of the law may end up being convicted. On the other hand, the term stupid as an adjective means exhibiting the lack of mental capacity. The term stupid is often used in referring to something that the person does not like too much. For example “These new phones fitted with internal batteries are so stupid” said Carlos.


Therefore, as the saying is, you can't fix stupid but an ignorant person can seek some knowledge and hence become somehow less ignorant. Though some words may seem to mean the same thing, there is a need to delve in knowing the exact meaning which can be gotten from the main origin of such a term. The term ‘ignorant’ may have been confused to express insult but that is not the case as already discussed.

Works Cited

Diekmann, Andreas, Wojtek Przepiorka, and Heiko Rauhut. "Lifting the veil of ignorance: An experiment on the contagiousness of norm violations." Rationality and Society27.3 (2015): 309-333.

Edmond, Gary, David Hamer, and Emma Cunliffe. "A little ignorance is a dangerous thing: engaging with exogenous knowledge not adduced by the parties." Griffith Law Review25.3 (2016): 383-413.

Philip Beaman, C. "A little more learning: A re-analysis of ignorance-driven inference in Frosch, Beaman, & McCloy (2007)." The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology70.3 (2017): 592-595.

Shonin, Edo, and William Van Gordon. "Mindfulness of ignorance." Mindfulness 6.6 (2015): 1487-1490.

August 21, 2023
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