It’s been a while since I’ve written here. I’ve spent too many weeks entrenched in day-to-day life lately, just trying to get by. Too many things to do, too many western holidays to contend with, usually with disgust. But thanks to one of the few Facebook friends I have who doesn’t post superficial dribble I’ve become drawn to put down a few words tonight. To set some context for this quote I should tell you that this friend of mine hosts a website based on spiritual non-dual teachings. The quote is focused toward truth and truth realization.
His post was just three words, “Ignorance is Arrogance”. This was a few days ago now and I’ve been pondering it since. Is ignorance arrogance? It’s an interesting question. The basic definition of ignorance is “the lack of knowledge or education”. The basic definition of arrogance is “overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner toward inferiors”. I’ll agree that arrogance can be a side effect of ignorance, thus making the statement true. Within truth, there is no arrogance, so if you are ignorant to the truth there may be arrogance present. It takes an ego to be arrogant in the first place. Truth realization includes the destruction of the ego. No ego, no arrogance. Realize truth, break out of ignorance, dismantle the ego, arrogance goes with it. Interesting.
Another angle may be that it is arrogant to remain ignorant, but that would imply that there is a choice in the matter. Human beings are wonderful at turning their backs on the truth. Truth is always right there for everyone to see, but most choose not to see it. Or is it not a choice at all, but just a side effect of the human condition? We are so good at seeing what is not and not seeing the only thing that is. That is more amazing than enlightenment itself. It’s hard for me to understand sometimes why so many remain ignorant, whether it’s a choice or not. I can’t imagine. From the time I entered Jr. High School I knew there was something behind the acts everyone was putting on, something underneath the parts they were playing. I knew the play was just a play and not reality. I wouldn’t find out until 25 years later what it was exactly that I knew back then but at least I understood that there was ignorance present. I don’t know that I can justify it being arrogant to remain ignorant in the realm of spirituality and truth. Perhaps there are some out there that get a glimpse of truth and willfully turn their backs on it, but this I cannot imagine either. Truth has a way of showing up right in front of your face over and over again, especially after you get your first glimpse of it. What seems more common is just the ignorance. Most people don’t even know their eyes are closed. It never occurs to them that there is something more to this life. Something more to existence. They keep on their merry way, posting superficial babble on Facebook, shopping for Christmas presents, going to work, cooking dinner, on and on, never taking a moment to stop and think about what this life really is. So, I suppose in this case if there was a conscious choice to remain ignorant then I could see arrogance playing it’s part. Interesting.
Spiritual awakening is what initially brought me here to write but recently there has been a cultural awakening as well. I myself letting go of ignorance in this arena as well. This civilization is killing the planet and everything that is living on it. I’m finding it interesting to apply the statement “Ignorance is Arrogance” to this as well. When it comes to the environment I would have to agree that ignorance is arrogance. Truth, as I spoke of above can be elusive. What we as human beings are doing to the planet is obvious by just looking around with our own eyes. Melting polar ice caps, air pollution, toxic dumping in our oceans, lakes, and rivers, 200 species going extinct every single day, cancer rates skyrocketing, abnormal weather patterns, it’s all there, right before our eyes. Is it arrogant to remain ignorant in this case? I’d have to say yes. The future of this planet depends on us to stop being ignorant and arrogant. As one of my favorite spiritual teachers said in one of his talks, “Time is running out. In the scope of Truth, is everything okay? Yes. Will Life continue without Earth? Yes. But do we appreciate this life? Yes. Would we prefer for it to continue here? Yes, of course.” Spiritual enlightenment brings with it a knowing that everything is always okay. But to realize this and still do nothing to help the planet would be nothing more than a spiritual cop-out. We were given this wonderful opportunity to experience life on this planet. It is arrogant of us to think that we can do whatever we like and remain ignorant of the consequences.
Thank you, my friend, for these three thought-provoking words.