Ignorance Is Bliss When It Comes to Challenging Social Issues

I have for several years now, as an awakened individual, been both dumb-founded and frustrated to see how people seem to relish their ignorance about the key issues in their lives that keep them economically and politically chained.  Members of my own family, who are otherwise intelligent and productive people simply “don’t want to hear it” when it comes to what is going on in the world and they will readily regurgitate the garbage they are being fed in MSM as justification for their current ignorant status.  I reacted to this, at first, with anger and frustration, then sadness, and finally with acceptance of their desires to remain ignorant.

This current round of so-called US presidential candidates are as absurd and cartoonish as we have every seen in our political process.   Europe has its cast of characters, such as Silvio Berlusconi, who mimic the gross incompetence, lack of character, and gross ignorance of the current global situation.

The US and Europe is descending into third world status and STILL most of the population is ignorant of the issues and passively accept the status quo.  I have long suspected this to be an issue of several centuries of “programming” by the power elite, but until now I could not articulate just how that process worked or if in fact such the assumption had any validity.  How could anyone be ignorant and proud of it, even when they are sacked from their jobs for no other reason than the greed of the corporate elite, or when they are being evicted from their homes and thrown into the streets.

People like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, for examples, have made untold millions from stroking and perpetuating this ignorance and apparently their audiences pay to be kept ignorant and completely out of touch with the reality around them.  Now it seems there is scientific evidence that suggests we like ignorance, because we feel better when we are oblivious to reality and facts.

ScienceDaily (Nov. 21, 2011) — The less people know about important complex issues such as the economy, energy consumption and the environment, the more they want to avoid becoming well-informed, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

And the more urgent the issue, the more people want to remain unaware, according to a paper published online in APA’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

“These studies were designed to help understand the so-called ‘ignorance is bliss’ approach to social issues,” said author Steven Shepherd, a graduate student with the University of Waterloo in Ontario. “The findings can assist educators in addressing significant barriers to getting people involved and engaged in social issues.”

Through a series of five studies conducted in 2010 and 2011 with 511 adults in the United States and Canada, the researchers described “a chain reaction from ignorance about a subject to dependence on and trust in the government to deal with the issue.”

In one study, participants who felt most affected by the economic recession avoided information challenging the government’s ability to manage the economy. However, they did not avoid positive information, the study said. This study comprised 197 Americans with a mean age of 35 (111 women and 89 men), who had received complex information about the economy and had answered a question about how the economy is affecting them directly.

To test the links among dependence, trust and avoidance, researchers provided either a complex or simple description of the economy to a group of 58 Canadians, mean age 42, composed of 20 men and 38 women. The participants who received the complex description indicated higher levels of perceived helplessness in getting through the economic downturn, more dependence on and trust in the government to manage the economy, and less desire to learn more about the issue.

“This is despite the fact that, all else equal, one should have less trust in someone to effectively manage something that is more complex,” said co-author Aaron C. Kay, PhD, of Duke University. “Instead, people tend to respond by psychologically ‘outsourcing’ the issue to the government, which in turn causes them to trust and feel more dependent on the government. Ultimately, they avoid learning about the issue because that could shatter their faith in the government.”

Participants who felt unknowledgeable about oil supplies not only avoided negative information about the issue, they became even more reluctant to know more when the issue was urgent, as in an imminent oil shortage in the United States, according the authors. For this study, 163 Americans, with a mean age of 32 (70 men and 93 women), provided their opinion about the complexity of natural resource management and then read a statement declaring the United States has less than 40 years’ worth of oil supplies. Afterward, they answered questions to assess their reluctance to learn more.

“Beyond just downplaying the catastrophic, doomsday aspects to their messages, educators may want to consider explaining issues in ways that make them easily digestible and understandable, with a clear emphasis on local, individual-level causes,” the authors said.

Another two studies found that participants who received complex information about energy sources trusted the government more than those who received simple information. For these studies, researchers questioned 93 (49 men and 44 women) Canadian undergraduate students in two separate groups.

On the perpetuation of ignorance: System dependence, system justification, and the motivated avoidance of sociopolitical information, a study completed by Steven Shepherd and Aaron C. Kay in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Nov 7, 2011 looked at how do people cope when they feel uniformed or unable to understand important social issues, such as the environment, energy concerns, or the economy? Do they seek out information, or do they simply ignore the threatening issue at hand? One would intuitively expect that a lack of knowledge would motivate an increased, unbiased search for information, thereby facilitating participation and engagement in these issues—especially when they are consequential, pressing, and self-relevant. However, there appears to be a discrepancy between the importance/self-relevance of social issues and people’s willingness to engage with and learn about them.  Leveraging the literature on system justification theory (Jost & Banaji, 1994), the authors hypothesized that, rather than motivating an increased search for information, a lack of knowledge about a specific sociopolitical issue will (a) foster feelings of dependence on the government, which will (b) increase system justification and government trust, which will (c) increase desires to avoid learning about the relevant issue when information is negative or when information valence is unknown. In other words, the authors suggest that ignorance—as a function of the system justifying tendencies it may activate—may, ironically, breed more ignorance. In the contexts of energy, environmental, and economic issues, the authors present 5 studies that (a) provide evidence for this specific psychological chain (i.e., ignorance about an issue → dependence → government trust → avoidance of information about that issue); (b) shed light on the role of threat and motivation in driving the second and third links in this chain; and (c) illustrate the unfortunate consequences of this process for individual action in those contexts that may need it most.

No wonder the banksters, gangsters, and politicians are cashing in.  So let me put this in the simplest terms.  If you don’t wake up and get what is going on, you are screwed.  This is not complex and the issues aren’t either.  The PTB or more important, the powers that were are so confident in your slumber and denial they are boldly putting their final pieces on the board.  If you think pepper spraying 80 year old women is maybe OK, then you will really love what is going on in CONgress while you sleep and deny.

The Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.

The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during the last Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.

The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday. The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.

WTFU people.