A lot of our mistakes in general, I believe, are based on greed. It is perhaps because of abuse of our freedom of choice that we are spoiled babies. We often choose to ignore problems for the sake of bliss even when we know something is important. I remember when my mother, strong in her faith, prayed that God would either take her difficult situations away or make her ignorant of them. I admit that most of the time I find it easier on my conscience and my comfort to not dwell on the problems that personally affect me—what more for problems that do not directly affect me?
I find that the difficulty with having to teach people about pressing social and moral issues is that people just don’t want to care. My speaking at a high school event reflected that. Last weekend, I spoke to a big audience of high schoolers and their families about modesty and sexual purity after having been invited for the second time. Although I expected that high schoolers just wouldn’t get what I was going to say, I decided to give it another chance. I dropped everything I was doing, preparing for finals and finishing work deadlines, just to pour my heart out once more.
It was a lovely event, with the majority of people commenting on my outfit and only about three older women thanking me for the topic I spoke about. Mind you, that gym was half filled. The statistic is sad but true, and it goes to show that most of us would rather hear about happy trivial things than important things that make us uncomfortable—e.g., we watch movies to be entertained and be removed from reality. Before becoming an adult, I had always been the type to avoid confrontation anyway, especially when I was younger. How could I expect the young to understand the need to be involved in moral issues when most adults don’t even give a lick about these things, and neither did I in high school? Heck, some people even think that modesty is a clothing style and not a philosophical lifestyle to abide by.
The other day I read about the ever-growing global population problem from ecologist Garret Hardin’s essay “Tragedy of the Commons.” According to him, the population problem has no technical solution, because people have the unalienable right to pursue a life of happiness by being the sole determiner of the number of children they wish to have. By having untapped freedom to reproduce abundantly, we will end up having to fight for our finite resources in the future. Because of this, to choose to enjoy our right could mean taking away someone else’s equal right to our common resources. Anyway in one point in his essay, he basically said that there was no point to stir people’s conscience to limit the number of children they have. He said it was better to just create a law to get people not to do something. This is because people who respond to the appeal to change will limit themselves as requested, but those who don’t give a hoot will continue to populate the world with children who will think the same way as they. I see some truth in that, but of course, I can give people the benefit of the doubt that they can change despite their history. Thinking that people can’t change because their family background has always been of a certain disposition is frankly, to a fault, Darwinian. I went from having the personality type of INFJ/INTJ to INFP in just a couple of years (UPDATE: as of 4/2011, I am back to INFJ/ INTJ combo), and as you know, I used to be a riot for not dressing modestly. I believe in the human spirit, that we can change if we will ourselves to.
To stop myself from encouraging people about modesty and some other things I strongly believe in is subscribing to the idea that people can’t change. They might never change, or it might be a long and difficult process to, but I’ll always have to continue trying. Plainly speaking, it truly sucks to be ignored. This sort of thing reminds me that I am not promoting my blog for my personal gain but instead for a purpose worth fighting for.
Ignorance may be bliss, but it is not a very noble goal.
- Margaret Edson, Wit