“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.”
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.
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 they 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.
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”.