Well then, this is the second day of my writing challenge. I wasn’t sure what to write about today but I think I’ve settled on self-awareness and ignorance. I saw a video the other day from an Indian guru, he was talking about the ‘human predicament’, as he termed it. He began by pointing out the location of the human nose and mouth and noting how close they are together. He continued, “Despite how close the two are, somebody could not brush their teeth for three days and not smell their own breath. Even though everybody else in the room can smell it and it is obvious to them. To him it isn’t obvious.” The connection between the human anatomy and the human ability to be self-aware can be drawn here.
Now, this is a disclaimer, there is a whole big massive academic debate about the term ‘self-awareness’, what it means, how it’s achieved and if it’s good or bad. However, screw academic debate in this case for two reasons. Firstly, I kind of detest the overcomplication and exclusivisation of academic dialogue. Secondly, I’m not an academic and let’s be honest, I don’t really know anything about the argument other than that there is one…and it’s boring. Also, by just removing all illusions that I’m in any way qualified to talk about this, I feel grants me a certain amount of leeway when giving a rubbish opinion which I’ve quickly concocted in my little 20 year-old head.
See, my whole point of view was relatively straightforward until I began to think about it. I had previously believed that it’s a good thing to be self-aware and whilst this is still kind of my view I certainly don’t see self-awareness as the world’s miracle drug for societal change. It’s easy to take a totally linear view of this and think that, simply put, if more people were more self-aware then more arseholes would be aware that they’re arseholes and then surely those arseholes would stop being arseholes and then eventually there’d be less arseholes. But that’s pretty wrong in my humble opinion. It’s not entirely wrong because self-awareness does tend to promote better behaviour in people but I definitely don’t believe that self-awareness equals happiness which is what many argue. That the more self-aware you are, the more you can alter your bad behaviours and accept your shortcomings leading to contentment. That cannot be true, think about the happiest people you have ever met throughout life, now who comes to mind? All the airheads and space cadets from school right? Here’s what I’m trying to say, ignorance really is bliss and you might be wondering what kind of an ignoramus lifts moods? It’s the best type of ignoramus because this type of ignoramus doesn’t care, they aren’t concerned with world hunger, child soldiers and drought. And it isn’t that they don’t care about anything, no they can be the most passionate people in the world but the difference comes in what it is that they’re passionate about. See this particular type of person that I’m talking about only cares about what’s important to them and whilst if everybody was like that the world would, in all eventualities, burn. It is still important to have them. (the world will, in all eventualities, burn)
Sorry if you’re sitting now wondering what the hell I’m even going on about at this stage but bear with me. The reason I don’t believe in self-awareness as the answer to the world’s problems is because it doesn’t work for everybody and thus there is no answer to the world’s problems and if there is then I don’t think it lies in trusting humans to change their own natural behaviours. I came to this conclusion when I developed the thought further in my head and wondered what a world with only self-aware people would look like. I imagine walking into work and being greeted by people who are entirely self-aware and expert in critiquing themselves. I don’t know about you but that world sounds rubbish to me. I do not want a world where everybody is reasonable, polished and altered. I like friction, I actually would go one further and say I crave friction on a certain level. Honestly, if I haven’t had an argument with somebody for a few days I sometimes find myself subconsciously floating controversial statements in the hope that somebody bites. I think that this naturally occurring grit that has fuelled friction between humans for our entire existence is dying out as people begin to conform and fall into line with modern societal standards. Conversation is so restrictive now for fear of offending somebody because, truth be told, if you offend somebody so long as what you said wasn’t a loving compliment then you’re in trouble. See, activists and annoying people in general nowadays have worked out that whoever shouts the loudest tends to get their way. This is because reasonable people who have lives generally can’t be arsed listening and so just comply. It’s sad but true, we’re all guilty or at least I am.
All in all, yes self-awareness is good and an amazing tool that people can use to refine their personalities and behaviours to make themselves more pleasant so long as the self-awareness doesn’t develop into self-criticism, that’s dangerous territory. That said, I personally value a larger mix of refined and rash views and behaviours. The self-aware human may be a model one but they are far from a perfect one, they don’t tend to be successful financially and self-awareness isn’t a very popular trait to have, in other words, it seems to either make people boring or possibly the type of person who is able to critique and alter their behaviour just tends to be boring anyway. So maybe for the rest of this year we could all try and be slightly more ignorant. Ignorant to the bad news, ignorant to problems outside of our control. For example, do you know how many people in the UK would cry if Trump gets re-elected? Loads, there are loads of people that feel that passionately about the US Presidential Election. I mean how could you be bothered? Why would anybody devote that much time to a Presidential election in a completely foreign country which they cannot vote in and then get so emotionally invested that on election night they shed actual tears. I’m ignorant to the US, I’m interested in it, I find both Biden and Trump interesting but regardless of the result I will sleep easy knowing that I actually don’t give a f*ck.