Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Way of Ignorance

Society's knowledge of the world and universe continues to advance exponentially. Nevertheless, we the people are at greater risk today than perhaps at any other time in our existence. The reason that society is at such risk is our inability, or perhaps our unwillingness, to harness new knowledge exclusively for the betterment of humanity. The following quote by Wendell Berry sums up society's knowledge problems perfectly:
Ignorance, arrogance, narrowness of mind, incomplete konwledge, and counterfeit knowledge are of concern to us because they are dangerous, they cause destruction. When united with great power, they cause great destruction. They have caused far too much destruction already, too often of irreplaceable things. Now, reasonably enough, we are asking if it is possible, if it is even thinkable, that the destruction can be stopped. To some people's surprise, we are again backed up against the fact that knowledge is not in any simple way good. We have often been a destructive species, we are more destructive now than we have ever been, and this, in perfect accordance with ancient warnings, is because of our ignorant and arrogant use of knowledge. (Berry, 2005, p. 59)
I sometimes wonder about just how far astray our society's ignorant ways might lead us...

Source: Berry, W (2005), The Way of Ignorance and Other Essays, Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint.

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