These proven six steps told by Socrates will help you fight ignorance.
Ignorance is defined as a lack of knowledge about a particular subject or field. Oftentimes, unawareness is associated with low intelligence. However, ignorance is not always a choice, nor should it be a trait we automatically chastise.
Plato’s, The Apology is a written account of Socrates’ speech, moments before he is executed for denying the Gods recognized by the state. Even in the face of death, Socrates boldly points out the jury’s refusal to accept differing opinions. He firmly believed that everyone should have a right to their own practices.
If Socrates pretended to accept the state’s religious views, he would have been permitted to live. However, he refused to cower in the face of ignorance, and give up on his unique beliefs. Socrates demonstrates that fighting ignorance requires dedication, patience, and a willingness to accept occasional defeat.
- Ignorance is inevitable. There are thousands of cultures, religions, lifestyles, and opinions in this world. No matter how many places we travel, or levels of education we receive, there will always be something we do not understand. Just because a person is unfamiliar with a particular concept, does not mean they are unintelligent.
- Continuous learning is key. Although you cannot possibly absorb every piece of information, you should always try to expand your mind. Walk into new situations with enthusiasm and a willingness to learn as much as possible.
- Educate rather than criticize. If someone is uninformed about a particular topic, respectfully listen to their opinions and respond with a counter-argument. If your immediate reaction to ignorance is to criticize, yell, or interrupt, the person will not listen to what you have to say.
- Respect the humble underdog, instead of the conceited winner. Seek out the individuals that have successfully overcome previous hardships. You learn far more from the person that accepts occasional defeat, compared to the person convinced they can never lose.
- You don’t always know what is best for others. When a person is struggling with a problem, hearing the phrase “I know exactly how you feel” is occasionally comforting. However, if we insist that we always know what is best for others, we will be met with defiance and resentment. We can help guide others to the correct solution, but we will never have a full understanding of their inner thoughts.
- Identify where your knowledge is lacking. Continue to gain expertise in the areas that interest you, but continue to recognize the topics you know little about. People will respect you far more if you admit you don’t understand something, compared to displaying false confidence about a particular subject.