July: Ignorance + Arrogance = ‘Stupravity’

Although ignorance is described as “lack of knowledge or information” typified by such phrases like “lack of education, unenlightened, illiteracy; lack of intelligence, stupidity, foolishness, [and] idiocy”, it could also be a direct lack of wanting to know.

This is common among those who live in self delusion of believing that they know everything already, and they do not know that one needs to know more, and they are clueless about the importance to keep searching or knowing. Anyone who is not interested in becoming a life-long learner is a student in the school of ignorance. Arrogance, on the other hand, is defined as “offensive display of superiority or self-importance; [and or] overbearing pride.”

The combination of ignorance and arrogance could be deadly! It could be a kiss of death, a devolution into oblivion, and a journey of no return into alarming calamity!! An action driven by ignorance and arrogance will give birth to a response of deep repugnance.

Information technology and the ability to access information could help eradicate ignorance, but could also promote arrogance, albeit, inadvertently. As more people are able to search and find hitherto hidden information via the World Wide Web, millions of those in darkness can now see the light.

Even some people kept in the dark deliberately in some parts of the world are beginning to access information assets today, and in the process, freeing themselves from traditional and cultural subjugation. However, the flip side of this is that many are becoming too over-confident, and in some cases, arrogant because of their new-found knowledge.

True, knowledge is power, but how do we deploy knowledge in a way that benefits all?

This brings up a very important issue – the need to be concerned about the growing number of those who live in ignorance despite the false sense of exposure. How does one explain the growing call for unreasonable nationalism when the world is fast shrinking?

How can one defend the clamor for trade war as a tool of bargaining? When did chaos become the father of collaboration and progress? How long should people who do not know continue to pretend as if they know?

While ignorance is not a bad thing in itself, concealing it or pretending that it never existed or never really mattered could be a dive into the deep blue sea full of hungry sharks.

True, those who think education is expensive should try ignorance, according to the popular saying.

But those who try to cheapen education are finding out that ignorance may just be the very products they are hawking. The question then is: Who buys the products, and how deadly could the poison be? Ignorance could aid recalcitrance. Ignorance could lead to severance from a life line. Ignorance can ride on the wings of intolerance.

Ignorance could instigate divisive utterance. Ignorance can cruise on childish exuberance to impose hindrance and encumbrance.

Arrogance is usually the companion of ignorance – because a man who does not know, and who does not know that he doesn’t know, and who is never interested in knowing anything about the situation, will always walk with a swollen head filled with poisoned air. Arrogance will not allow the one who missed his way to ask for direction.

Arrogance will not permit the one who is wrong to acknowledge his mistake. Arrogance will not release its prisoner from the cell of self-righteousness. Arrogance disgraces and dismisses elegance through outlandish extravagance. It produces nonsense and nuisance. It builds up walls of defiance. Arrogance promotes dissonance. It creates unfriendly distance. It produces unnecessary disturbance. Arrogance projects undue dominance. It trades in discordance that results in grievance.

The combination of ignorance and arrogance will forever produce disasters – in the way issues are viewed and handled. It will always result in both stupidity and depravity, the former defined as “behavior that shows a lack of good sense or judgment”; and the latter as acts of “moral corruption; [and] wickedness”, synonymous with “vice, perversion, deviance, degeneracy, immorality, debauchery, dissipation, profligacy, licentiousness, lechery, prurience, obscenity, indecency”. Putting the two words of “stupidity” and “depravity” together, “stupravity” therefore will mean any act that “shows a lack of good sense or judgment”; manifesting in “moral corruption; [and] wickedness”, as well as “perversion, deviance, degeneracy, [and] profligacy”.

“Stupravity” occurs whenever we see acts of wickedness that cannot be justified, and yet look away. “Stupravity” shows its ugly face whenever we see leaders lower the bar of human interaction to the level of pigs in the gutter. “Stupravity” reveals its ugly face whenever we see dastard acts promoted and celebrated on our television screens. “Stupravity” displays its victory celebration each time our psyche is deadened to what would have made us cry.

“Stupravity” comes to town each time we celebrate another complete departure from the norm that makes no sense whatsoever. “Stupravity” jumps for joy each time we change the goal post in the middle of a game without blinking but joyfully celebrating.

“Stupravity” is when we defend the indefensible under different guises. “Stupravity” is when we don’t know, and we refuse to acknowledge that we are clueless! “Stupravity” is the very act of going on a journey we’ve never taken before without a road map.

So what should we do? We must acknowledge our limitedness and ignorance, and be fired up to learn good things and unlearn the bad stuff. We must come down from our high horse where we look down on all others.

We must walk smart by living to learn rather than learning to live and survive!

(❚ Dr. Sunday Akin Olukoju is a university tutor, a college advisor, a community newspaper correspondent, and the president of a community organization)

June: Grace is the Ace for the Race