Thursday, 19 July 2012

If You're Ready to Learn...

Hello Friends.

Did you ever get into an argument with someone who's unwavering belief in their own opinion is their only defence, even when faced with facts and figures that prove the contrary? Like if someone were to say to you, "They stopped making any good music after 1994", you might call that person's opinion highly subjective, then run through a list of records or musicians that you think are great, and the first person says, "Nope." And when faced with more evidence, a louder and more definitive, "NOPE!", maybe with a head shake?

That method of reasoning is extremely frustrating, but seems to dominate discourse on any topic these days, subjective or not. Someone like Bill O'Reilly might challenge a guest on his program, "Give me one reason why the passing of this law makes any sense to you." And the guest will say, "Well, Bill, if you look at the case of X v. Y in 1996, several wrongfully accused men would have been exonerated because..." and Bill will go, "Nope" and then "NOPE!" It's wilful ignorance. It's saying, "I would rather accept my version of events versus what is actually true." This is a trait I loathe in other people, and so it is rather hypocritical of me to ignore this trait in myself.


Goal: Achievable, I hope. I don't know when it was that I became hardwired to resist learning new information. When I finish school I suppose I thought, "Well I've got a degree now. Fuck you, knowledge! DONE!" and clapped my hands smugly. But even in school there were teachers I resisted, information I wouldn't retain, brain parts I couldn't activate. I took Computer Science 100 as my required Science class, for example (it was a lax degree) and could not absorb a single fact. Nothing was less relevant to my interest, I figured, so why bother thinking about any of it and risk wrinkling my smooth, be-pimpled forehead? But now I face overwhelming examples of topics and fields of study I know nothing about and I truly believe I'm ignoring them at my peril. I've gotta give a pep talk to my brain here, lest I atrophy into a mindless mush waiting for the new Racing Car Robot Tits Beer Gun movie to come out.

Plan: Identify and discern those topics which I could stand to research a little further, like:

Canada. What's your deal, home country? How come so much of you is one way, but then the rest of you is another? Why does it cost so much money to buy groceries in Nunavut, for example? If it's an issue of transportation costs, why is there no subsidy to cover them? Also, Canada, why do you make it so expensive to travel through you? How come I can fly to Cancun for less money than I can to fly to Regina?

Violence. How come it's so easy for me to ignore violent crime as long as it's over twenty minutes away by car? Why do we continue to glorify gang culture when it is so clearly a destructive path for everyone involved? How many people have to shoot each other dead in the street before we give a shit?

Aioli. What are you? Why are you on every food I order in a restaurant? Can I buy you in a store? Are you fattening? Can I get a different kind of aioli? Is it organic? Is organic still a thing?

The guy from Avatar. Who/where is that guy? You know what's cool? I can't help but think the lead guy from Avatar's relative obscurity is somehow his own making. Gonna Google him, brb... Okay, the guy's name is Sam Worthington. I feel like Sam Worthington was an actor making the rounds, ended up in a room auditioning for James Cameron, got the part in Avatar and then was like, "This is all too much. I need to sit down." And then he did! Hey celebrities complaining about the perils of fame, take a lesson from Sam Worthington. That guy was the lead in one of the biggest movies in the world, at least from the past few years. I don't know anyone who didn't see that movie, and he was in nearly every scene. But I don't know if he has a girlfriend or a boyfriend or what his next movie is or where he had dinner last night. He probably did the requisite amount of press appearances for his movie, then found a home in some non-Hollywood place and was like, "See you in a bit if they make Avatar 2, gonna just sit here and make waffles on Sundays." Good for you, Sam Worthington. Out of respect, I'm not going to learn anything about you.

While we're at it, I'd like to remain wilfully ignorant of YOLO, Pinterest, Dance Moms, bath salts. Can't be bothered.

I would like to know more about political prisoners, guerrilla film-making, Shawn Atleo and his ties (or not) with Harper, reunited twins who have led eerily parallel lives, and The Green Party. I don't know why learning is something that becomes more challenging the more you do it. It's kind of the opposite of any other pursuit. It's trite, perhaps, but true that the more I learn, the less I know. But that shouldn't stop me, or any of us, from reading a newspaper, attending a lecture, and uncovering our ears during an argument, daring ourselves to be wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment