As a kid, I was ostracized for wanting to know more about the world. At least, this was the case when I lived in the province for most of my childhood. I was discouraged from reading books throughout the day for wild explanations that include that I might go crazy from all the information that I’m learning.
Such anti-intellectualism isn’t restricted in provinces; even metro cities across the country are affected by it. There are plenty of blogs out there to point this out, such as GetReal Philippines, Filipino Freethinkers, (another blog), etc. This means that people all over the country, at this point in time with the advent of technology and information in their hands by the way, choose to remain ignorant. And of course, it is not restricted in our country, but is a phenomenon that occurs everywhere. So, why do people choose to encourage anti-intellectualism?
- Ordinary ignorance – basically, the absence of knowledge which can be fixed by education. (ex. Learning history, science, trivia and facts.)
- Willful ignorance – knowing something but choosing to pretend you do not.
- Higher ignorance – hard to achieve but it’s the kind of ignorance that allows us to be open and curious in the face of knowing that we do not know.
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.– Socrates
“When Kahan surveyed uninformed respondents, their opinions were all over the map. But when he gave another group of respondents a very brief, meticulously balanced description of the promises and perils of nanotech, the remarkable gravitational pull of deeply held sacrosanct beliefs became apparent. With just two paragraphs of scant (though accurate) information to go on, people’s views of nanotechnology split markedly—and aligned with their overall worldviews. Hierarchics/individualists found themselves viewing nanotechnology more favorably. Egalitarians/collectivists took the opposite stance, insisting that nanotechnology has more potential for harm than good.
Why would this be so? Because of underlying beliefs. Hierarchists, who are favorably disposed to people in authority, may respect industry and scientific leaders who trumpet the unproven promise of nanotechnology. Egalitarians, on the other hand, may fear that the new technology could present an advantage that conveys to only a few people. And collectivists might worry that nanotechnology firms will pay insufficient heed to their industry’s effects on the environment and public health. Kahan’s conclusion: If two paragraphs of text are enough to send people on a glide path to polarization, simply giving members of the public more information probably won’t help them arrive at a shared, neutral understanding of the facts; it will just reinforce their biased views.”
Anti-intellectualism seems to persist in the country because of the belief that people who are intelligent are elitists. But by assuming ignorance is restricted by class issue, the opposite of it would be describing that people who are ignorant are poor.
“However, this does not imply that the poor are incapable of reasoned decision, it simply means that they are forced to unfairly work harder than richer people (as in all other things). Access to information is a class issue; ignorance is not. It is often the case that people who have the privilege of access to limitless information simply reject it on principle, because of dogma, superstition, and blind allegiance to authority.”
If anything, this anti-intellectualism stance has kept the country from progressing, as it discourages critical thinking. This scenario is evident during elections, with millions of Filipinos voting for politicians that campaign their personality rather than their platform. Perhaps religious fanaticism is a factor for the disregard of critical thinking, with our country being rooted to following faith blindly rather than making an analysis of faith. Our society is becoming more and more emotional and vindictive, with no more space for critical thinking.
As long as the country patronizes ignorance and puts the value of intelligence aside, it will take us longer than we want to in reaching a First World Status. With the rampant information provided to us by the internet, if anything, the people are growing more biased and subjective with their views, which leads us to question the value of critical thinking in our country—or rather, the saddening lack of it. It’s a new year once again and the world is advancing, but are we up for this change? We will have to see for ourselves.
Photo Credit: https://www.icr.org/article/2477/