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One crucial word (On the Greek "amathia", or willful ignorance)

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  1. Loire
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    I found something particularly compelling about this definition of willful ignorance and how it applies to our times. We often discuss, both here and in other progressive discussion centers, of...

    Amathia = ‘disknowledge’ instilled into the soul by bad upbringing and bad education, consisting in false values and notions and beliefs.

    The stupidity this addresses is no mental illness, yet it is most lethal; a dangerous disease of the mind that endangers life itself. … [S]ince the ‘higher stupidity’ consists not in an inability to understand but in a refusal to understand, any healing or reversal of it will not occur through rational argumentation, through a greater accumulation of data and knowledge, or through experiencing new and different feelings … We may say that the reversal of a spiritual sickness must entail a spiritual cure.”

    And he says to Jünger [German author/philosopher],
    ‘Well, they’re [Russian POW's] subhuman, just like cattle — look how they devour food like cattle.’
    Jünger comments on this story,
    'It’s sometimes as if the German people were being possessed by the Devil.’
    And he didn’t mean anything ‘demonic’ by that. You see, there’s something outrageously stupid about this story. I mean the story is stupid, so to speak. The man doesn’t see that this is just what starving people do, right? And anyone would behave like that. But there’s something really outrageous about this stupidity. … Eichmann was perfectly intelligent, but in this respect he had this sort of stupidity. It was this stupidity that was so outrageous. And that was what I actually meant by banality. There’s nothing deep about it [the ignorance] — nothing demonic! There’s simply the reluctance ever to imagine what the other person is experiencing, correct?”

    I found something particularly compelling about this definition of willful ignorance and how it applies to our times. We often discuss, both here and in other progressive discussion centers, of the "stupidity" of certain political groups and their supporters, and then express shock when otherwise seemingly intelligent individuals support those politics. This is a facet of the human condition as old as civilization and one that represents a sickness in our society and culture.

    I implore readers to not think of the term "spiritual sickness" in our modern definition of "spiritual" but instead as a sickness of the personality. Our modern amathia is not derived from a lack of education but from a choice. An unwillingness to learn, change, or improve.

    You are wedded to [amathia] my fine friend, of the vilest kind; you are impeached of this by your own words, out of your own mouth; and this, it seems, is why you dash into politics before you have been educated.

    4 votes