Will Rogers is noted as saying, “All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that’s an alibi for my ignorance.” It would seem that in the century from when he first spoke those words, with the proliferation of more newspapers and the development of the Internet, if there’s nothing else we’ve developed, we’ve established plenty more alibis for ignorance. Yet, at the same time, we’ve also removed a lot of those alibis.
I’m not really sure if ignorance has truly become more prevalent in the last hundred years, but it certainly seems to be more celebrated. What we have to realize as we make our way through this revolution of information is that a good amount of it is complete bunk. If ignorance means anything it means ignoring the fact that the entirety of this life we’ve been given is a gift, and should probably not be squandered by wasting time on trivialities.
Scrolling for things to get upset about seems to be a peculiarity of this generation. While other generations had bad news delivered to them on occasions or at specific times, this one can seek it out any time it pleases.
Facebook, in particular, should be considered a viable culprit in making all of these distractions possible, but it also challenges us to rise above the nonsense that’s perpetuated through likes and shares in order to communicate effectively on the things that matter. Not everybody is great at that yet, but at least the opportunity is there.
However, to truly embrace life, we’re going to have to realize that it won’t happen within our gadgets. Each of them, our computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, are simply tools. Much like the tool of money, they can be used to orchestrate certain things, but the true enjoyment of life is what happens when those things are orchestrated. Although we may be tempted to get caught up in the headlines of newspapers, updates, memes, and blogs, our lives are what happens when we’re not even looking at them.
Will also said, “I hope we never live to see the day when a thing is as bad as some of our newspapers (and I would add, either in print or Interweb) make it out to be.” Life is changing and progressing. That’s what it does. May we fully appreciate and enjoy our role as it unfurls.
We need not be as ignorant as we make ourselves out to be.