Human Ignorance and the WAG

Posted on September 12, 2018. Filed under: Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Humans are enamored of themselves, what with being the Crowns of Creation and the Smartest Things since the invention of Time.  If you are doubtful of that, just ask one of those supreme Smart Dudes wearing a name tag certifying that he* is EXPERT in something or other. He will tut-tut the pathetic displays of ignorance uttered by the Great Unwashed** all around him and, authoritatively, lift himself above such banality. He will haughtily wave it all off and deny that ignorance…

  • is humanity’s (and his own) birthright,
  • is humanity’s life force,
  • is the glue in humanity’s interactive socio-economic existence,
  • is irrevocably humanity’s destiny, and, that
  • the basis of humanity’s proclaimed preeminence is rooted in ignorance.

At birth, our bodies know more than our minds about what is going on; stimulate the lips with a warm, spongy thing and our lips reach out and clamp down on the offering. Vigorous sucking action is rewarded by introduction of food or a satisfying placebo effect. Our minds, playing catch-up, finally connect the sequence into a cause-effect routine.  Thusly, iota upon iota, ignorance is replaced with knowledge that Mind can build on.

As we play the Game of Life, it seems that, at every crossroad, ignorance greets us with a sardonic smile. Previous experience with similar problems allows us to continue our journey with little or no interruption.  Culturally instilled guides — like traffic controls in our communities — keep us moving along. At other times, situations produce more questions than solutions…  an unmarked intersection with fast-moving traffic as it were. Our stumped Minds, trying to make sense of these intellectual potholes, ask, “W… T… F...?”  This conundrum may be voiced aloud with much gusto or quietly entertained mentally.

For instance, that mandate to all life, “Go forth and multiply.” As every adolescent newbie can attest, it’s a major WTF? moment, what with new body developments and very distracting new urges. Unfortunately, adolescent information sources are most often other newbies who have discovered that, if you just sound like you know about stuff, your just-as-ignorant contemporaries will look to you as a knowing mentor. Instant social status can be attained by dispensing a plausible-sounding wild ass guess (WAG)…

…a lesson not lost on any of us. (That appraisal applies to every college-degreed Smart Dude looking to expand on his career or increase his celebrity status.)

“What the f…?” is the banner under which each of us struggles through Time. If we do not know (i.e., are ignorant of…) something, and need to clarify it, we often just make up a wild ass guess to please our egos and/or hide our resident ignorance. Or we just accept someone else’s WAG on the subject and parrot the words so we sound as knowing as the original parrot. Depending on the degree of your audience’s gullibility, a plausible WAG can save face, and, embellish your personal social standing.

A well-crafted WAG reduces the chances of being caught in gross ignorance. Spicing it up with technical or other complicated facts from other areas of accepted knowledge can give your WAG a very long life before it gets deep-sixed as total baloney (think flat Earth WAG, Earth as center of  solar system WAG, 6,000 year old Earth WAG, rotting meat creates flies WAG, blah-blah-blah ad infinitum). The WAG pedigree is as old as humanity.

Not to be forgotten is that bane of adolescent promiscuitychildren get born only to married couples. “SURPRISE, unmarried teenaged parents.  Playtime is over; life just became a very serious business.”

Being first-time parents, you realize you don’t know a lot of things. Your ignorance will stimulate the economy by your purchase of How To Books on childbirth and child care, the right bottles, formula preparation, the correct training toys, and seemingly endless expenditures for diapers and such. And, lots of pediatric visits until the kid learns it can’t put everything into its mouth. As a group, ignorant parents provide an income for a lot of providers.

High school graduates want to get a good-paying job, but, know nothing about the jobs they want. College tuition is paid to replace ignorance with (presumed) knowledge, and, those payments pay the teachers and administrators, thereby economically stimulating the educational sector.

You have irritable bowel syndrome and dandruff flakes; you are overweight and dateless. Cheer up. Just binge-watch your television for 24 hours, and, solutions to all of Life’s ills are laid out before you, and, they are only a single telephone call away from fulfillment. Or, only an office visit to your doctor. Again, your state of abject ignorance will rain money upon your chosen WAG providers.

Whatever your age when you exit Life, you will have acquired a huge store of WAGs that formed the backdrop for your perception of Reality. WAGs thrust upon you by your tenth birthday have faded in the glare of more plausible WAGs dispensed by acclaimed Smart Dudes and your own life experiences. The fact is, we were born into, and live in, a universe of infinite ignorance. Consequently, each of us dies holding the very same amount of ignorance with which we were born.

Making sense of Life’s journey seems like a worthwhile pursuit, but, mostly…

ALL WE CAN DO IS STRAP OURSELVES IN AND ENJOY THE RIDE.

____________________________________

*An 18th century appraisal by Elite Society about the character of the non-elite.

**I am not being sexist. It seems to me that males seem to posture and boast far more than females.

 

 

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