Image borrowed from Zappa.com
Image borrowed from Zappa.com

“The more you can escape from how horrible things really are, the less it’s going to bother you…and then, the worse things get.”
Frank Zappa

Rational Wiki defines “Willful Ignorance” (bolding is mine) as: “…the state and practice of ignoring any sensory input that appears to contradict one’s inner model of reality. At heart, it is almost certainly driven by confirmation bias….Readers should be aware that willful ignorance is a mechanism that actually protects the brain from becoming unable to function in situations that it just can’t handle. An individual can never accept its whole own reality being meaningless or making no sense, as that would make it impossible to act towards any goal. Forcing an individual into such a state has psychologically been found to be comparable to the death of the higher developed parts of the brain from an outside perspective.”

Image borrowed from thedailysheeple.com
Image borrowed from thedailysheeple.com

I admit it. Life is a lot easier when I choose to ignore the things which make me unhappy or uncomfortable. I’m not particularly proud of it, but I admit that I do it. I think we all tend to do this to some extent. It’s a self defense mechanism which allows us to feel better about ourselves, our behavior, our actions (or in-actions). The problem is when we spend so much time in willful ignorance that others suffer, whether they’re other people, animals or plants.

Reality can be a cold bitch. Humans can be unimaginably cruel and so many times, we’re willing to look the other way. Why? Perhaps we feel helpless to do anything about the situation. Maybe we’re afraid of being ridiculed, ostracized for doing something differently. It takes tremendous courage to be the only one to stand up and say, “No. I will not do this because it is wrong.” It takes conviction and strength of heart. And sometimes, it takes a willingness to suffer, yourself, in order to make a point.

Image borrowed from quoteswave.com
Image borrowed from quoteswave.com

The compassionate soul cannot abide injustice and suffering in the world – it wants to help – in any way it can. As a compassionate soul, I have to consider certain things about my lifestyle and how it affects others. In recent years, my diet has come under my personal scrutiny because of revelations about where some of my food comes from; specifically, factory farming. It finally penetrated the veil of willful ignorance I had built so that I could continue to eat what I wanted when I wanted and not have to feel bad about it.

Am I a Vegan? No, but I’m trying to be a more compassionate consumer. I used to have bacon every week. Now it’s once a month or less. I used to eat eggs and chicken several times a week. Now I eat eggs maybe once a month and chicken once a week. I’ve almost completely stopped eating red meat. I’m also in the process of working on dairy. The thing is, you have to be able to live with your conscience and find what works for you. At the same time, I understand that not everyone shares my view. I’m not out to convert or guilt trip anyone. But I do wish that more people would take a long, hard look at how their actions possibly contribute to unnecessary suffering.

Image borrowed from Pinterest.com
Image borrowed from Pinterest.com

The video below IS safe for work. It doesn’t show the blood, or violence, in factory farming, but it does show us how we, as consumers, are manipulated into embracing willful ignorance. It’s a very thought-provoking 7 minutes. I hope you’ll watch it and let me know what you think. It’s okay to be upset or disturbed by what the presenter says. Believe me when I tell you that there are many, many other videos with far more upsetting and disturbing visuals/themes regarding factory farming. You can Google the phrase and see for yourself. Or not. Be warned: once you see it, you can’t “un-see” it. That’s how it works. It’s definitely “Food for thought”.

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fdragonkatet (Dragon’s Dreams) ~  Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

15 thoughts on “Willful Ignorance and some Food For Thought…

  1. Thanks, scilla. I have great admiration and respect for Ms. Goodall, so I bet it’s a fascinating book. You are so right about America’s “relationship” with food and how it’s been hijacked by corporate consumerism. As someone who is very anti-GMO and anti Big-Ag (like Dow, Sygenta and Monsanto), I think the ‘technological intelligence’ these companies bring to the food industry are not only not ignorant, but purposely evil, all in the name of making a profit. They KNOW the GMOs and artificial sweeteners, etc. have horrible side-effects and ruin peoples’ health, but they just don’t care. That being said, not enough people care enough to do the research to admit or see the truth, which is willful ignorance in the extreme. God forbid that anyone be inconvenienced or have to change their spoiled lifestyle(s).

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    1. Wow, thanks, booguloo. I’m happy if anything I post has a real impact on someone. This is an important issue (to me) and trying to spread awareness of it is key. Thank you for reading and commenting. It means a lot. 🙂

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  2. I’m reading “Harvest for Hope” by Jane Goodall and opening my eyes to so much ignorance in our relationship with food in this country. Eating is such a basic part of being alive, for every creature, but we’ve been led into such convoluted tunnels of capitalism and consumer systems that what we do scarcely resembles ‘eating’. We poison our water and food with chemicals and modify it severely before ingesting it. That kind of “technological intelligence” is probably willful ignorance as well.

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  3. Thanks, Gayle. I agree that it’s easy to get down and depressed with the harsh realities of how the world works these days – you are so right that balance is crucial. I respect and admire your commitment to being Vegan. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

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  4. Thanks, John. Like you, I often find it hard not to be full of despair when I see so much hate and just a simple lack of compassion, or apathy in so many. I have to remind myself time and again, the only person I can control is me and my actions, and try to lead by example. I can attempt to show others and make people more aware, but ultimately, it’s up to each individual and community to make their own choices. I respect those who commit to being 100% vegetarian. It may come to pass for me at some point, too. But at least we can all be compassionate…and aware/mindful of when we practice willful ignorance. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

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  5. Suchled, she did make a pretty good argument, didn’t she? I can understand and imagine that as a farmer’s son, you have probably seen all aspects of it and may be more desensitized to the process. I had grand and great-grandparents who were farmers and they were some of the most practical people I ever met. It didn’t mean they were “hardened” or without compassion, but practical to the point that people had to eat and be fed. It made me smile to read that you let your chickens run around freely and don’t eat them. 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  6. Thanks for re-blogging, Jamie, and for your thoughts. I agree that it does seem unfair that we treat some animals as pets and others as just food. It makes me think about how in other parts of the world, they will eat cats and dogs – something that would horrify us here, yet it’s the same attitude of treating certain animals as just a food source. I’m not perfect and haven’t been able to completely give up meat yet, but I have done well in my conscious choice to cut way down on it. As long as I can keep trying, I’ll consider it progress. And if this post can make even one person think about the issue, then I will consider it successful. As I said to someone earlier about it, awareness is key.

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  7. Thanks for your thoughts here. I have seen that video before, Corina…very interesting isn’t it. Perhaps I’m playing a bit of that game when I’ve chosen not to watch the daily news…if only there was at least a balance of some good with the bad. And too, we can’t bring ourselves down to a feeling of depression while immersing ourselves in the woes of the world day after day…it simply doesn’t serve anyone to do that. There is a balance to be had and I guess I’m pretty much ok with the way I’m managing…without eating the precious animals that I share the planet with.

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  8. Corina, I am so pleased that you wrote this and shared it with us. One of the things that always boggles my mind is the way people we take up the cause of a specific animal or species and also treat their furry and feathered companions like family and then sit down to eat a piglet or a lamb. Doesn’t make sense.

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  9. Excellent post, Corina. Right up the streets of my thoughts. Whilst I am not a 100% vegetarian, I am 95% one; my wife blazed the trail toward this many years ago (in fact I shall send her the link to this) and I respect the fact this is a 100% vegetarian household. As for mindful ignorance, well, I sometimes feel full of despair at some, who don’t seem capable of compassion, of opening their eyes and minds to other possibilities … I look at the seemingly intractable situation that exists between Israel and Palestine and wonder, from the words and violent conflict that continue to be exchanged between the two of them, whether it is ever possible that they will be reconciled to each other’s human rights.

    Great post. Thank you, Corina.

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  10. Well, she was very compelling. I know I am guilty of willfully ignoring what I know. I am a farmers son. I have been in it all. But now I let my chickens run around the garden and eat the eggs but don’t eat them.

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