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The Forum > General Discussion > Does Ignorance Shape our World?

Does Ignorance Shape our World?

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I read a post yesterday that I haven't been able to get out of my mind. I even dreamed about it last night.

The poster in discussing something else said that they had never realised, until viewing "Born on the 4th of July", how horrific war was.

I read that post over and over again, and I still find it incomprehensible. I had always thought that this person was elderly. Surely, however, they can't be? But they must, at least, be adult.

HOW could any adult person, living in 2008CE possibly not know what is surely one of the most basic facts of life: war is nasty. It involves murder and slaughter. People die screaming in agony. Human dignity is lost. It hurts.

Admittedly this prolific poster is not well educated. But even if one hadn't read any of the countless poems, books, memoirs, articles, reports, pamphlets and plays written over the centuries one would have at least a glimmering? One must have talked to other people (the poster admits he has now talked to someone who has given him a secondary factual source), seen amputees, watched parades, seen war memorials?

Even without all of the above, there's that undisputed educator of the masses - television. Do such people think that footage of children screaming in indescribable pain, mangled bodies, pools of blood and the whole gamut of human suffering paraded before one as an entree to our evening meal is done with smoke, mirrors and Special FX?

Is this the reason hoary old parties consistently advise that troubled youth should be sent to the Army to "straighten them out"? That sleek men in boardrooms send thousands of human beings to their deaths over a cup of coffee? That testosterone-laced young men smuggle killing machines across borders?

They just don't know that war is not nice?
Posted by Romany, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 1:15:33 PM
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I agree with you however I don't think you realise how our government has controls to censor the media. Graphic war images for example, are classed as obscenity and news organisations can't publish them, which ironically provides an excellent means of censorship for the government. There are numerous images that would educate people available on the internet.

And even now Rudd's government is doing it's to increase the level of censorship to embrace potentially the most educating media platform in the world: the internet. The plans seem inspired by and are reminiscent of the Chinese Communist Party's control of internet provision and censorship in China. Rudd's connections to the Chinese apparently extend to the government with it's tight control and less so to actual commerce and trade.
Posted by Steel, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 6:48:08 PM
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Dear Romany,

It depends on the type of upbringing the poster had that you're referring to. What kind of education and influences they were exposed to.

Sure they might have missed all those great episodes of the TV series, "M.A.S.H." or not had any exposure to think about relevant issues of the day. They may not be aware of the existence of things like racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, violence, and murder. Their education may be lacking in all of these intellectual pursuits, including that "War is not healthy for children and other living things."

They may have grown up in an extremely conservative,
sheltered environment, where choices were limited as to what was
acceptable to be viewed, read, or thought. Perhaps censorship applied to everything that was judged "inappropriate material." (Like Tom Cruise does with his family). Things deemed "offensive" were not allowed.

Personally, I'm for educating people. Teaching them to think for themselves. I'm not for denying, but adding, enriching, stimulating, and amplifying their education.

I hope that ignorance does not shape our world. I hope that the poster you're referring to is an exception. And I feel sorry for them.
I want to leave you with this thought:

Somebody in France wanted to put Voltaire in jail. Somebody in Franco's Spain sent Lorca, their greatest poet, to death before a firing squad. Somebody in Germany under Hitler burned the books, drove Thomas Mann into exile, and led their Jewish scholars to the gas chamber. Somebody in Greece long ago gave Socrates the hemlock to drink. Somebody in the USSR banned Solzhenitsyn and Pasternak...
No one remembers their names!
Posted by Foxy, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 7:45:56 PM
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Any conflict is a result of disagreement/retaliation. First we must accept what causes such disagreement. If one individual or one group forces it's view onto another individual or group then, as everyone would accept, you have conflict. If this involves taking property or life you have a recipe war before you can blink. So why are wars ? Because people can't leave people live their lives without interfering.
Just look at today's situation. TV rams so much crap down our throats that it makes us miserable from the breakfast shows onwards right throughout the day. Well, don't watch Tv I hear many saying. Well, say I what gives you the right to to deny me good, sensible entertainment ?
See, just a simple, however petty conflict already. Now place yourself into a situation where your livelyhood is threatened, or your family
or whatever is important to you. At the same time you must curb selfishness because it, after all, is the #1 cause of conflict. Petty disagreement or massive conflict all stem from someone's selfishness.
That's why guidelines are so important & should never have become a playground for lawyers who hardly have any understanding of fair justice.
Posted by individual, Wednesday, 16 January 2008 6:47:46 AM
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Of course ignorance shapes our world ... decisions are made with limited knowledge. Look at the decision for Iraq - weapons of mass destruction ... the result still in Iraq, execution of Saddam Hussein, 1000's of dead in "collateral damage", increasing terrorism.

As for ignorance around war, so much of our entertainment and games industry glorifies the acts of war. It's nothing to play a consol game where you can use any number of weapons to "defeat" your foes - oh, and if you get hit - just restart.

IMO we are being desensitised towards violence. It's nothing to turn on the TV and see all manner of acts of violence, but god forbid we show male frontal nudity or couples having sex, no that's taboo. But a serial rapist chopping victims to bits and then going on trial ... well that's just another epidode of Law and Order, or any other number of similar shows.

Should we be surprised when people don't appreciate the acts of war ... speak to a veteran, few want to discuss it. Even fewer wish to go into gory details ... so we end up with a few medals, big turnouts to Remembrance Day, an increasing interest in Tobruk, the Kokoda Trail, Gallipoli ... but continue to send our young off to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Posted by Corri, Wednesday, 16 January 2008 8:08:27 AM
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My father was a post-WW2 European refugee and I recall one occasion many years ago where they were advertising one of those “sexed-up/collect-them-all” monthly magazines about that war on TV and he got up and left the room in disgust.

He never spoke much about his experiences in a POW labour camp until then but it soon became apparent that his memories were not of “glorious victories”, “adventures” and “valiant struggles between good and evil”.

His opinion was that it was a shameful, horrific and obscene chapter in human history and that it should only be promoted in that way – not as some sort of Hollywood style propaganda to sell some tawdry publications for personal entertainment.

I don’t think we’ve become desensitised as much as convinced it’s just a bloodless game where anonymous bad guys just fall down at the feet of righteous avenging warriors.

The Iraq shock-and awe campaign was just victimless fireworks and flashing lights with not an innocent broken body in sight. It’s part of the same illusion that results in the USA not allowed to see the coffins of killed returning soldiers or count the number of civilian deaths.

Images of the Holocaust didn't stop the Kosovo or Rwanda slaughters but they may have helped stop Vietnam politically.

Perhaps the difference is that it's OK for us to make these judgements while we are so far away from the real action but we still continue to mindlessly crank the appropriate meat grinder as long as our masters decide it's necessary.
Posted by wobbles, Wednesday, 16 January 2008 10:16:11 AM
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