What is the meaning of ignorance?

what is the meaning of ignorance

There probably isn’t a whole lot to be said about ignorance. It’s just ignorant, right? It doesn’t know anything. Well, I am a little interested in the etymology of this word. Hopefully, we can figure out together if it’s worth our time to know what is the meaning of ignorance. Defining it may help us understand meaning and free us from ignorance.

If we are going to take a close look at what is the meaning of ignorance, we can start with probably the most well-known saying about ignorance:

Ignorance is bliss!

People say or think this at different times to express various feelings about other people in various situations.

For instance, you’re sitting there and you just heard the worst news. It’s your responsibility to break this news to everyone else. You look around at the other people in the room who don’t know what you are about to tell them. In that moment, their ignorance is bliss to them. And you are about to shatter it.

Parents say this about their children’s lack of awareness to life’s difficulties. You want to shelter them from stuff at times to spare them or give them a chance to be children for a little while longer.

What is the meaning of ignorance?

The Definition


A noun, Ignorance means a lack of knowledge, information, or education; the state of being ignorant.

Here they go again using a word to define itself. Didn’t they listen to Mrs. Richardson in the third grade? They obviously weren’t paying attention.

I don’t have a personal definition for ignorance, but I have to question what is the meaning of ignorance in other ways to, amateurishly I may add, delve into the consequences of the word itself.

Asking the right question about ignorance:

You have to agree with me on some level that the level of ignorance in America is ridiculously scary. So, for me the right question to ask is: What are the consequences for our ignorance?

Sticking closer to the realm of meaning, I ask: With such widespread ignorance, what does our own ignorance “mean” for the future of society?


At this point in the discussion, you need to understand that people can do bad things in the name of ignorance. And sometimes that “ignorance” is a cover for the darkness.

In addition, a lot of wrong can be done with assumed knowledge when that “knowledge” is completely devoid of true understanding. Assumed knowledge can lead to fear. Fear can lead to a need to protect yourself, even if that fear is unfounded.

In a world where we understand meaning, black and white, gay and straight, rich and poor, male and female, etc., etc., all give each other the opportunity to define who we are to each other based on the fact that we have let go of our assumptions. I can let you show me who you are instead of assuming something based on my fears that come from my ignorance of who you are.

George Bernard Shaw said, “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.

Another voice of reason even though an anarchist, Emma Goldman said, “The most violent element in society is ignorance.”

“Assuming knowledge” or being ignorant builds a foundation for division and even violence, the finger can be pointed back and forth across the aisle, and on either side, no one will even know the depth of their own ignorance.

Transition to Example – American Politics

I don’t mean to dig too deeply into American politics, but let’s look at democracy as an example. H. L. Mencken said, “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.”

“Elite power people” know the truth about power structure and distribution in the world, but that truth, unbeknownst to the masses, would certainly bring the average United States citizen to despair. Maybe ignorance trumps truth in this sense. Maybe we are happier being ignorant of this issue.

Transition – Making it personal!

Instead of thinking we know something, maybe we should agree with Thomas Sowell who said, “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.”

What is the meaning of ignorance? The meaning or truth of my own ignorance puts me in a category where I just don’t know. And what I don’t know, I tend to fear. Then what I fear, I tend to rail upon.

I would love for the world to agree with Sowell, and, realizing our own ignorance, seek the knowledge necessary to change our world. We don’t have to succumb to our own ignorance, defeated. We have a choice, and that choice should be seen as an empowerment and not a burden.

Dare to be free!

meaning frees us from ignorance

Meaning frees us from ignorance! Well, like I say, “Understanding meaning frees us from ignorance.” Freedom from ignorance would make us look a lot less ridiculous on the world stage as well. I can’t even talk about this intelligently because all I see is our own media. I wonder if Americans look dumb and naive to the rest of the world. Do we seem entitled or spoiled? Do we appear to be sheep being kept by a wolf pack? I would love some comments on this topic.

As individual citizens and communities of Americans, can we continue to blame our ignorance of our government’s dealings? For the most part, our awareness of how the US government deals abroad has spread over the years. They take great pains to discredit sources of information and feed us a line expecting us to swallow it.

Maybe we swallow it because we don’t want to know the truth or because we are inundated with unimportant and ridiculously distracting media trivialities surrounding this debate across an aisle that has both sides defining ignorance. Okay, I’ve gone too far afield.

So let me come back. I will leave you with one or two more quotes, all from Brainy Quote, I must add.

Closing Commentary

Wayne Dyer, a very wise man that I respect greatly says this of ignorance, “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.”

If we combine Dyer’s quote with Kennedy’s, “The greater our knowledge increases, the more our ignorance unfolds,” we could take the challenge to increase our knowledge and steadily move away from rejecting each other. I am sure that we have more in common than what would divide us. We could move toward understanding each other’s meaning as well.

Benjamin Franklin once said:

“The doorway to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of our own ignorance.”

My hope rests in the rare chance that people would want to pursue wisdom. The other option proves more dark.

Henry Rollins summed it up when he said:

“Weakness is what brings ignorance, cheapness, racism, homophobia, desperation, cruelty, brutality, all these things that will keep a society chained to the ground, one foot nailed to the floor.”

It’s up to us whether we want to move forward or stay stuck. The summary of all these ideas suggests that we have to acknowledge our own ignorance and seek to understand meaning. Because remember, understanding meaning frees us from ignorance. And what is the meaning of ignorance? It’s not really bliss. That may be a question you try to answer for yourself.

That’s it!

Hey, that’s enough out of me!

I’m glad you stopped by.

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