Why some people seem to be proud of their ignorance?

by uzalud 1 min read31st Dec 201134 comments


Sometimes I run into people that have rather strong opinions on some topic, and it turns out that they are basing them on quite shallow and biased information. They are aware that their knowledge is quite limited compared to mine, and they admit that they don't want to put in the effort needed to learn enough to level the field.

But that's not really a problem. What is bothering me is that, sometimes, that declaration of ignorance is expressed with some kind of pride

This behaviour is noticeable on other levels too, in politics or in the sciences-humanities culture clash.

I came up with several hypotheses which might account for this:

  1. Being opinionated on a topic you know little about is a sign of confidence and bravery. Any fool can play it safe and carefully form opinions based on solid knowledge, but it takes a real man to do it quickly and decidedly, with only partial information.
  2. Knowing something is an identity badge. In-depth knowledge of science, or computers, or any number of other fields is a sign that you are a geek. People are proud of not being geeks, or are a proud member of some other group that does not care for that particular knowledge.
  3. Knowledge is relative and/or unimportant. Not caring about concrete knowledge is a sign of post-modernist sophistication, or an avant-garde, non-mainstream thinking, which is something to be proud of.
  4. Displaying pride overcompensates for shame one normally feels when forced to acknowledge one's ignorance.

Do you notice this behaviour too? What do you think causes it?

EDIT: formatting, style, grammar