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The one simple and universal way to take a stand against ignorance. The one simple and universal way to take a stand against ignorance.

Letters From Home

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The ultimate stand against ignorance


You may have noticed a common thread running through this series of messages.  That’s not accidental.  Because I firmly believe that the best way to take a stand against ignorance is very simple.


Read as though your life depended on it, because in a very real sense, it does.  Read the news in depth.  Find a good history book and read that, because if you know your history you’re immunized against claptrap from all sides of the political spectrum.  Nobody can tell you that this, or that, present-day politician is “the best” or “the worst” in history, if you already know what those 19th-century guys were up to.  Nobody can say, as Pat Buchanan did not so long ago, that 1968 was “the most divisive year in United States history,” and get away with it if his audience knows what happened in 1861.

If you have a library card, use it.  If you don’t have a library card, get one.  Make a resolution to visit the library often, and to ask the librarians what’s good to read.  And once you bring your reading material home, of course, read it.

More than 30 years ago, Isaac Asimov wrote an essay called “The Ancient and the Ultimate.”  In it, he presents a carefully-thought-out case for the ultimate multimedia device, which even in the wilds of 1973 was not some exotic electronc gizmo or a product of way-out science-fictional thinking.  It was a safe, familiar object, easily obtainable.

A book.

I can’t possibly summarize Asimov’s reasoning on this, but I think he was right.  And I think anyone who reads that essay will understand why he was right.   The essay was collected in a book called The Tragedy of the Moon, which is a collection of essays on various subjects.  You can find it at any public library.  Or, if you really want to be daring, you can order your own copy from Amazon for as little as 89¢ plus shipping.

The great thing about a book of short essays is that if one doesn’t interest you, you can skip to the next one.  And within that same book are two other essays of an eye-opening nature, having to do with social conventions rather than scientific method.  Once you’ve read “The Ancient and the Ultimate,” then read “By the Numbers” to see what Asimov thought about computers and how he predicted they’d affect our world.  And then “Lost in Non Translation” to get a clearer viewpoint about the biases we all share.

Tomorrow starts a new year.  Resolve to take a stand against ignorance.  Individually and collectively, the future we shape will be better if we do.

Hope you'll recommend my posts via your favorite social media. Just don't copy the material as your own.

Author: infmom

Otherwise known as Infamous Mom.

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