The greatest ignorance is to criticize something you know nothing about. The world is full of ignorant people disguised as wise. Conceited critics on duty, they stand on their ignorance podiums, ready to point fingers and argue their point of view. They forget that a point of view is just that.
I only mention two examples here, with which I have direct experience:
“All that this Bulletproof Marriage couple wants is to make money by selling books. I doubt they really live what they talk about on the TV.” – says a troll on our Facebook page. She does not know us, has never met us, and yet claims to be an expert on what happens at my home.
“This Temple of Solomon is an abomination. The anti-Christ will live there. God does not dwell in temples made by the hands of men.” – say the know-it-alls about the matter. By their logic, we should then demolish every temple and church building in the world (since God does not dwell in any of them) and tell all who believe in God to hold their meetings under the nearest tree. By their wisdom, the anti-Christ already has an address in São Paulo, Brazil (will someone please let the prophet Daniel and the Lord Jesus Christ know that they were both wrong. It will not be in Jerusalem, after all).
But this post is not about defending the authors of Bulletproof Marriage nor the Temple of Solomon. It is about you, me and all of us. It is about helping us understand the human being a little better.
Unfortunately, it seems that homo sapiens is not so sapiens. He suffers from a disease whose main symptom is free criticism of things he’s ignorant about. Here are some causes of this disease:
- Suspiciousness: if it is too good to be true, then it is probably a lie. Go ahead and call it false.
- Envy: if I can’t have what you have, at least I can criticize you for having it.
- Fear: your success scares me and threatens my survival; I need to demonize your success in order to protect mine.
- Attention-seeking: I know I’m talking nonsense, but what matters is that I will be famous for 15 minutes.
- Ignorance: A mixture of stupidity and being too lazy to investigate and find out the truth.
- Not thinking for yourself: going by the heads of other people. After all, if “so-and-so” said it is true, it probably is.
Suspiciousness, envy, fear, attention-seeking, ignorance and not thinking for yourself. Human traits that we all have. That is why all of us are guilty of one day having talked about something we did not know.
However, now that we know about it, we have no excuses. We can be better talkers and especially better listeners. We can decide never again to assume that to talk about something is the same as knowing about it.
Socrates put it like this, 2,400 years ago:
The only true wisdom is to know that you know nothing. And to know you know nothing makes you the wisest among all.
Certainly, someone who knew what he was talking about.