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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Areas of Ignorance

Time for an Upgrade

It's a fact—everyone is ignorant in some way or another. And it's one of the scariest things out there, because those of us who are most ignorant are also the ones who often don't know it or don't want to to admit it. Here's a quick test: If you have never changed your mind about some tenet of your belief, if you have never questioned the basics, and if you have no wish to do so, then you are likely ignorant.”
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)

I am confronted by my ignorance every day. I rode with my son, Ian, to Ft. Payne, Alabama yesterday to deliver some things to an auction house. As we rode there and back, his iPod played music in the car. Often he would say, “Oh, remember this! This was THE grunge band of the nineties!” No, sorry. I was around in the 90's (I think!), but I have no clue what makes a band “grunge” and I don't remember the song. Sometimes both sons engage deeply in conversations about technology and, to my ears, they may as well be speaking Martian. I honestly cannot do math beyond long division, and anything that has an algorithm or a formula—well, forget it. I speak only English—some would say, not even that very well. In short, there are huge, vast expanses of ignorance within this one human being. I dare say, all of us have them.

The danger lies in not realizing that you have areas of ignorance. Or, in realizing that you do, but acting as if you don't. For some of us, saying the words, “I don't know.” is anathema. Either we are simply incapable of uttering that short sentence, or we refuse to. The other possibility is that our ego is so huge and bloated, that we honestly believe we know everything there is to know, and therefore, never bother to check out the facts.

I remember an incident when I was a very young woman. One hot summer day, a group of us went to one of the many white-water rivers in the mountains of North Carolina to swim and ride the currents. One of the men with us was a third-year medical student from South Africa, who was doing his Psychiatry rotation at the local State Institution. We got into the water and began swimming and body surfing, and at the point where the water deepened and the current became swift, this young man, who was much bigger than I, grabbed hold of me and pulled me under. I tried to free myself, and we struggled for a while, with both of us gasping and sputtering when our heads got above the water. With the help of others, I was able to get him to a rock ledge and to pull myself, bruised, battered and shaken, out of the river. There, he finally admitted that he could not swim. My life might have ended that day at the tender age of twenty-three, because someone else couldn't admit that there was something he did not know.

It is extremely helpful to have a curious mind. If you hold a set of ideas, no matter how mainstream they may be, and you have never questioned the validity of them, it may be wise to do so. The same is true with regard to your spiritual beliefs. Southern people are fond of saying, “that's how I was raised,” but if you've had the same belief system since childhood, with every detail being exactly as your parents handed it down to you, it may be time to dust it off and consider the possibility of an upgrade. We human beings are constantly adding new information to the vast collection of what is known and understood. We don't have to stick with a 2000 year old text, or even a two hundred year old one. There is nothing sacred about ignorance. We don't need to enshrine it. God didn't stop communicating with humanity in 100 CE. Spirit is alive and well, expanding and evolving, and each of us can be part of that growth if we choose.

                                                               In the Spirit,

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