Path To Ignorance Requires Certainty, Rigid Ideological Beliefs, And The Need To Be Right – Insights From The Wilderness (#276)

A while back I came across a humorous post on Facebook that said: “More and more I find myself completing my thoughts, statements, and sentences with “just saying”… because ending them with “ignorant dumbass” would be considered offensive.

So I guess I should call this article on ignorance a “just saying” article.

As the title of the article reminds us, ignorance requires certainty, rigid ideological beliefs, and the narcissistic need to be “right”. When I listen to most of our politicians in Washington these days I hear a lot of  “absolute certainty”, inflexible beliefs, and a never-ending narcissistic need to be “right”… ”just saying”.

Certainty And Ignorance Are Synonymous

Certainty and ignorance are closely related. So closely related you could safely call them synonymous or interchangeable. When our mind claims absolute certainty in its beliefs, we essentially close down our ability to think. We stop listening. We stop learning. And most importantly, we begin to relate with others primarily through our emotions. This is especially true when others have the audacity to disagree with us. When they do, we pour concrete over our certainty and quickly become aggressive and judgmental. Our ability to compromise, dialogue, search for wisdom, or manifest humility disappear beneath our arrogance.  Just saying.

We lose the ability to be flexible in our thinking, the ability to compromise, and the ability to embrace cooperation. We begin to emotionally label people who disagree with us as “other”. We emotionally experience them as the “enemy”. We become increasingly dogmatic. We quickly begin to present our beliefs in the imperative voice of “absolute truth”.  We not only do irreparable damage to our relationships with others, we unconsciously slide into inflexible intellectual darkness and ignorance. When we experience these characteristics in the politicians we elect to public office it’s no wonder our government is shut down by gridlock. Just saying.

The Power Of An Open Mind

Only an open mind can learn, mature, evolve, embrace compromise,  and grow. Wisdom requires the ability for self-awareness and deep listening. The ability to open ourselves and our beliefs to introspection, critical questioning, new learning, and change. Only the humility of an open mind has the ability open our beliefs and ideas to outside criticism, disagreement and debate. Only a person with an open mind has the ability to non-defensively question, explore and move deeper into an examination of their beliefs. An open mind reflects the wisdom to search for the truths found on both sides of every issue; it knows that no-one is smart enough to be wrong, or right, 100% of the time.

The wisdom of an open mind knows the narcissistic “need to be right” will tend to destroy the ability to offer compassion and empathy to anyone who disagrees with us. The wisdom of an open mind also knows the importance of fighting for your beliefs; rather than against those things you don’t believe. In other words, without the ability for introspection, and the wisdom that comes from the intentional self-awareness and the deep intuitive listening of an open mind; ignorant certainty is inevitable. Just saying.

Education Is The Dreaded Enemy Of A Closed Mind

Education is the enemy of a closed mind. Education is encouraged by a closed mind, but that encouragement comes to an end the moment education challenges or contradicts existing inflexible beliefs, certainties, opinions, and assumptions. When education challenges existing beliefs, it is experienced as the enemy. Something to be avoided. The greatest danger of a closed mind is its vulnerability to propaganda when it believes others think the same way it does; when it assumes that others agree with its beliefs. Without the critical analysis and self-reflection that comes through education, a closed mind has a very limited ability to embrace new ideas, explore counter evidence, or a willingness to reevaluate its beliefs when presented with new information.

Without an open mind, we have no way of knowing when we have unconsciously moved into the darkness of ignorance. We ignore facts. We reject logical argument. We reject scientific evidence. Those who agree with us are part of our “tribe”. Those who don’t agree with us are quickly judged and experienced as one of “them”, “other”, the “enemy”. Like sheep, a person with a closed mind is easily controlled and manipulated. A closed mind can be vulnerable to ideologies that subtly embrace the ignorance of racism and bigotry. Just saying.

The certainties embedded in a closed mind make us vulnerable to manipulation. For example, vulnerable to the belief that immigrants are taking our jobs, or immigrants are responsible for moving our jobs overseas. Closed minds believe “others” want to take our guns away from us. Closed minds are convinced that gay people are a threat to our way of life or threaten our religious beliefs. Closed minds believe that blacks, Mexican, immigrants, and poor people are lazy and unmotivated. That they are living off our hard earned tax dollars. Just saying.

A Closed Mind Has The Potential To Cause Great Harm

Closed minds fear change and “progress”. They prefer the comfort of status quo. Closed minds believe they are morally and intellectually superior to those who disagree with them. Closed minds are unable to recognize their own narcissism. They are convinced that life is all about them. The certainties embedded in those with closed minds make them susceptible to fear and the creation of judgmental beliefs and opinions about others. A judgmental fear that quickly turns into anger that makes it easier for a closed mind to shut down compassion, kill, demean, hate and cause harm to their neighbors… both locally and globally.

The deep fear of terrorists present in those with closed minds in our nation has them convinced that “terrorists” are coming to America in droves to kill them and destroy their way of life. As a result, a person with a closed mind will voluntarily give up their personal freedoms and rights because they have been convinced by politicians that doing so will keep them safer. Just saying.

The Natures Of Closed Minds In The World Of Politics

When others reject the “absolute truths” and certainties of a politician with a closed mind, the closed mind of the politician begins to experience a sense of powerlessness and frustration that quickly turns into narcissistic anger and arrogance. The politician clings to even more certainty in order to further close their minds and harden the certainty of their beliefs. Because they narcissistically believe that they alone possess “absolute truth”, they soon become aggressive in their attempt to force external reality (others) to conform to their rigid beliefs and certainties. This is called pushing the river… a tendency that is currently out of control and rampant in our nation’s political system. Just saying.

Our nation is suffering from closed mind thinking created by too many rigid political ideologies, and far too much political certainty. Certainty has polarized our nation and shut down our democratic form of government. Our nation is now trapped in a paralyzing political gridlock that is threatening our future. We’ve lost sight of the fact that certainty does not create comfort. It only creates more gridlock, more fear, and more anxiety.

Our politicians have not only created this unprecedented level of governmental gridlock; they are now encouraging us to voluntarily give up our rights and freedoms in order for them to protect our national security and personal safety. Just saying.


We know the future isn’t what it used to be. Our world is changing faster than our ability to cope with the change that’s happening. Instead of collectively embracing the inevitably of that change and working together to collectively find creative paths forward, our fear of change and uncertainty has forced us into a paralyzing gridlock of competing certainties. Our tribal certainties (politically, religiously, culturally, racially, environmentally) are creating increasing levels conflict and violence in our nation. We are moving into a national level ignorance that is truly frightening.

Our nation’s fear of change and its fear-driven need for certainty is closing down our ability to openly and creatively work together. The need for certainty has polarized the collective consciousness our nation into a state of conflict and gridlock not seen since the Civil War.

We are a nation pushing the river by resisting change. Change is a reality. Everything changes. Creation would not be possible without change. The future isn’t what it used to be! It’s time we started embracing change instead of fearing it… before it’s too late.  Just saying.


2 Responses to Path To Ignorance Requires Certainty, Rigid Ideological Beliefs, And The Need To Be Right – Insights From The Wilderness (#276)

  1. Karin April 12, 2017 at 3:53 am #

    Yes! Thank you! Once again, you have eloquently written what I’ve been thinking. Our paranoia is not making us safer; it’s making us weaker and lonelier and angrier. I look at the “safety” procedures at our public schools, for example, and I don’t see safer; I see the creation of an environment of fear which is infecting children by the thousands. I wish there were more people like you who could (and would) clearly evaluate and address these issues.

    • Dick Rauscher April 12, 2017 at 10:22 am #

      Hi Karin. I agree. Kind of ironic that the most powerful nation in the history of humanity is being consumed by fear of terrorists. Of course we ignore the number of growing number of deaths by gun violence. Doesn’t make sense. Thanks for the feedback on the article. It’s appreciated. Dick

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