Agnotology – Study of Culturally Constructed Ignorance
In the February issue of Wired magazine, I came across Clive Thompson’s article – Manufacturing Confusion.
The last sentence in the article is a doozy:
Because the most important thing these days might just be knowing what we know.
What is cultural ignorance and how is it constructed. Cuturally constructed ignorance is achieved when information is taken to be knowledge with no investment in critical thinking, questioning or or risking the sacred cows of one’s conditioning. Information overload and organized disinformation campaigns contribute to culturally constructed ignorance.
Robert Proctor, a historian of science, at Stanford coined the term agnotology.
When society doesn’t know something, it’s often because special interests work hard to create confusion.
As Thompson points out – people, via the Internet, graze on information all day tailored to their worldview.
Mystics have been teaching and studying agnotology throughout the ages – mankind is asleep to reality, we live in a world conditioned by collective thought and mental processes. The ignorance mystics address is perhaps deeper than that addressed by Proctor since one’s very sense of self and being a separate entity are included in the mix of conditioned ignorance.
I do appreciate the insight agnotology brings to the effects of too much easy information. When we combine that access with laziness, we see a dramatic rise in “Cliff Notes Minds.” Subscribing to 25 RSS feeds in one’s field of interests is fine, but when we rely on others to do our thinking fof us, we may wind up as mindless clones with nothing more to offer in a conversation than latest quote from People magazine, Entertainment Tonight, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Maher, or some other “valued” source that supports our acceptable worldview.
Perhaps I missed the latest jump in sales figures for Dostoevsky, Somerset Maugham, Herman Hesse, Camus and the like.
Let’s morph Capital One’s koan to assist us in our efforts to break free from culturally constructed ignorance –
What’s in Your Mind?
Links of Interest
Items of Interest