A quote attributed to Einstein “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. And I am not sure about the universe”

Nietzsche has said rather sarcastically, “It is not enough that you understand in what ignorance man and beast live; you must also have and acquire the will to ignorance. You need to grasp that without this kind of ignorance, life itself would be impossible, that it is a condition under which alone the living thing can preserve itself and prosper: a great, firm dome of ignorance must encompass you.”

In these context, one most view human and societal ignorance. For one, it means ignorance and stupidity is part and parcel of human nature and evolution. It will always be there. Secondly, according to Nietzsche, it is a protective cocoon which helps humans to navigate the complexities in their life. Without that, humans will be too sensitive and too vulnerable to what is happening around them. Leaving them mentally and emotionally wrecked.

That’s exactly the reason why, when one tries to bluntly point out the fallacies in people’s belief system (ideology and/or faith), these people balk and withdraw into a shell or react emotionally. They might even go on a rant, devoid of any logic. It’s here that most of the so called enlightened, rational and liberal people especially on social media go wrong. Instead of putting some sense in ignorant minds, they invite hostility and even further reinforcement of illogical and irrational beliefs.

Also, claiming of “high ground” by the rationalist and intellectuals, cuts them off from the common people making them look haughty and arrogant and sometimes even narcissistic.

If rational thought has to be inculcated, it has to be done with compassion and with an understanding. Understanding deeply that the beliefs system which most of the people follow, are their efforts towards finding some solace in their extremely troubled life. A life which is torn apart by random events which don’t make any sense. Those traumatic random events, might even be perceptions rather than any real problems. Yet torture they do inflict. And not knowing any other way to help themselves, they fall prey to spiritualism and religiosity. For its major part, history of humankind has been all about the stranglehold of religion, religious bigotry and crimes in the name of religions. Even recent history is replete with so many Godmen who have thrived and made enormous fortunes by milking these gullible souls.

Only way out of this morass is to help people by not talking down to them and not making fun of them. People need to be dealt compassionately. Their compulsions and their muddled thought processes need to be understood and only then can rational thoughts be introduced. And once people are in a receptive mode, they can be shown that life has many other meanings and purposes, than what they are fixated upon. And open their eyes to many options of meaningful activities that one can do which will add value to their life and enrich it. Borrowing on Robin Williams monologue from “The Dead Poets Society” “And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

Life is complex but in those complexities lie so many bits and pieces of simplicities. Simplicities of beauty, innocence, nurturing, serving, laughter and liveliness . Let’s talk about that.