The Importance of Reducing Ignorance

Ignorance is a cause of much suffering in the world.  It is a form of misunderstanding.  When we misunderstand, we think and act incorrectly, which causes ourselves and others to suffer.

Everybody has some degree of ignorance because we were all raised by people who have some degree of ignorance. If we reduce our own ignorance, though, we find our understanding of ourselves, other people, and the world increasing.

As we reduce our ignorance, understanding and acceptance take its place. So does tolerance, to a degree. When you understand people, you are more tolerant of their differing perspectives because you know that your relationship with them is more important than any differences you have. You also understand why they hold on to their cherished opinions (the reason is always fear), and you accept this as the way things are—for now.

That doesn’t mean you tolerate everything they do, though. Face it—some people are just about intolerable! People with greater understanding normally and naturally limit their contact with negative-minded people (unless there is a greater purpose for the interaction, such as a lesson to learn or a goal to achieve). This can help these folks decide to examine themselves and reduce their own ignorance so that they become better, too. Nobody likes to be ignored.

One important thing—you can reduce your own ignorance, but not someone else’s. That’s their job! All you can do is help, when you (and they) reach a level of understanding that allows you to help.

When people reduce their ignorance, their children will grow up with less ignorance, too, and the world becomes a little better for the next generation.

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