Reasonable Ignorance (United We Stand)

  • Foreword: I get much liberty by using this particular title. I do try though to embellish those I fault. The very concept of reasonable ignorance depends on factors which go against the grain. Recently, in a book  I am almost finished reading – (Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond) – I was a bit shaken with one of those against the grain moments.
  • Today the bumper stickers with the “United We Stand” message are common and I would find it rare for any of us to disagree with it.
  • Even on my own Jeep I carry the label which has a message about “Coexist” written in various religious and cultural symbols.
  • Mr. Diamond’s book is a work of historical science. He guides us through movements of human cultures with tools of study such as archeology, plant domestication, animal domestication, linguistics, geography, ecology, tools, weapons and the written recorded word.
  • My shocking moment came when I turned a particular page and followed his reasoning that based to a large degree simple enough geography formed boundaries of separation on some continents and very little separation on others. This, of course, was not the source of the shock for his maps clearly show what we all have known since middle school. The area of the Eurasian Continent on the European side is certainly more irregular shaped with its many protrusions and irregular shore lines than area occupied by China.
  • These Florida like peninsulas forced human settlements to be occupied with groups of people of certain mindsets. Now the dominant mindset may have been one of force but it still was dominant. The area of China though is vast but whole and here the mindset was common even though the geographical territory was huge. So we have two massive areas developing and expanding but only one area in our world history to date expanded throughout the world unchained and it was not China.
  • The dominant cultural expansion and world growth came from the area of the most diversity. That is  right, the area which was composed of more individual attitudes and which did not “Stand United” eventually gained power from its own diversity and out grew an area which was the “Poster Child” of “United We Stand” – China.
  • Now if you cannot join me by looking back on all this as justification to identify some of our thinking and beliefs as humans  to be reasonable ignorance then it baffles me.
  • It is totally reasonable for geographical areas which bound small groups of people together to develop with a common small-scale “United We Stand” philosophy. It is totally reasonable for a large geographic area which allowed huge populations to also result in a massive group of “United We Stand” Peoples.
  • The ignorant factor begins to bleed in when we have to look back and accept that the success in world expansion came from the disunited small factions. If we could have been an observer of our world from afar during the earlier centuries and used our concept of “United We Stand” we might  have ignorantly selected China to have been the world advancing force and not the multitude or warring dissimilar societies which actually did.
  • So even though it may sound ignorant, successful human developement has to first go through all the hardships of being disunited before the concept of “United We Stand” can succeed. More ignorance then at the magnitude of a world forming level is “Divided We Fall” for the divided ones prevailed.
  • Now please accept that “We Ain’t Done Yet”. China in 2011 looms large.
  • Please consider these questions. As the world’s remaining disunited groups continue to advance toward a final consolidation will we do it reasonably or will we do it ignorantly? Will “United We Stand” have meaning when our world is united?  I ask this last one for “To Stand” implies to be against someone. Is that all we are good for?

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