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Taking a stand against ignorance means asking tough questions. Taking a stand against ignorance means asking tough questions.

Letters From Home

Life looks at infmom / infmom looks at life

The ultimate question, the ultimate answer

One of the best ways to take a stand against ignorance is at the same time the most difficult. We all believe what we believe, and know what we know. And yet, we become more and more ignorant the longer we stick with the status quo. To take a stand against ignorance, one has to be willing to ask one simple question:

But what if that’s not true?

Think of all the advances human knowledge has made because someone was willing to take what “everybody knows” or “everybody believes” and start asking questions. Where would we be, for example, if Copernicus and Galileo hadn’t considered the idea that the Earth is the center of the universe and hadn’t asked “But what if it that’s not true?” What if doctors had kept thinking that dirty hands were just fine? What if Martin Luther had never looked in the Bible and started thinking about Church doctrine in a whole new way?

Ask the question. Think about the answer. You might just learn something.

And we should likewise ask questions about our own talents and life paths. What may be “true” for us might not be so for our children. We should never force our children into our own mold. Our children have to know more than we know, or human progress stops. What if Bishop Milton Wright had insisted that his sons Wilbur and Orville follow in his footsteps? What if Abraham Lincoln’s parents had made sure their son was also an illiterate hick? What if Benazir Bhutto’s family had forced her into purdah? Think, again, about all the people in the world who achieved something their parents never dreamed of. It may be an apocryphal story, but Leonard Bernstein’s father is supposed to have groused, “How was I supposed to know he’d grow up to be Leonard Bernstein?”

The minute you find yourself thinking that you know all there is, or that what was good enough for your parents is good enough for your children–that’s where ignorance begins. Take a stand. Ask questions. Take a stand against ignorance.

(note: I have disabled comments on this post because for some unknown reason it’s drawn what my daughter would call a cubic ass-load of spam. If you’d like to send me a comment, please use the comment form. Thanks!)

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Author: infmom

Otherwise known as Infamous Mom.


  1. Hello again,

    You just made me look up “purdah” in Wikipedia… now I’m a little less ignorant. Thank you!

    It’s obvious (though irrelevant to your point) that you wrote your essay before Ms. Bhutto’s assasination. I’m sure you’re as shocked as I am over her magnicide.

    Warmest greetings from Peru,


    • Yes, I wrote most of those essays well before Ms. Bhutto was assassinated. I considered changing that reference afterwards, but decided to leave it as it was, because the thought was still the same.

      I hope someone just as worthy comes along to follow her.