I have noticed a pattern in my life: ignorance. Being raised in a culturally encapsulated environment (translation - homogenous group; pretty much white and LDS for starters), in an uneducated, unexposed family environment, I developed the ability (or limitation, rather), to make assumptions and form opinions based on my imaginative perceptions rather than on information or truth. Over the years, through travel, mission, college, work, and living with people from many parts of the world, I have been gratefully blessed with having this ignorance challenged. Over time, I grew to not fear the word "ignorance," nor to be ashamed to admit that, "I am ignorant," because it is not tied to my worth, it's merely a state of having knowledge or a lack of it.
Just the other day, I realized I have had yet another revelation of my former ignorance. The pattern I'm seeing is this: When a subject arises, of which I am ignorant yet have strong assumptions regarding it, I now seek more information from several valid and reliable sources in order to validate, or adapt if necessary, my position. The result has been that as I gain more credible information, I have the tendency to adopt a position on that subject that is outside of the mainstream's value base, or a more "radical" stance than the bulk of society. Not ever being one to feel insecure with peer pressure, this "outsider" position hasn't tortured me, nor tempted me to resist my movement towards a less popular alliance, when my move is based on my values and beliefs. Simply - I am okay with letting others have their beliefs even when mine are different and still being great friends.
What I have noticed is that perhaps this ignorance is a greater part of society at large than simply a reflection of a small town, LDS community and individual family.
There seems to be a tradition of ignorance in our modern American history. There's a broad difference in the education and thoughts of our founding fathers and mothers and the average level of education of an American today.
What has brought me to reconsider that perhaps I am not the only ignorant person is being confronted by the uneducated, uninformed oppositions toward some of the choices I am making in my life: homeschooling my children and homebirth. (Just to pick 2).
I do not mean this in a condeming way. The oppositions simply remind ME of the uninformed beliefs I ONCE HELD on the same topics and the persecutions (whether they were verbal or kept to myself) I heaped upon others who have made the choices that I am now making.
I reflect in horror at how determined I WAS that somehow I knew, or knew better, than someone else who was in fact making an educated choice where I was not exercising ANY choice, simply following the popular crowd.
As I thought about these experiences recently, the phrase, "Ignorance is bliss" came to mind and I have challenged it for myself that if it is bliss, than "Knowledge is Joy," because pulling away from the mainstream and living my life in an assertive, empowering, personalized way has been liberating.
I'll get more specific next time.
P.S. Don't be offended - this is my blog - my thoughts - my opinions - it's NOT a reflection of anyone else's worth.