Conscious Ignorance

At first, it sounds like an oxymoron.  Choosing to be ignorant is not something we normally consider ourselves as doing.  Knowledge is prized by our society and to intentionally turn it away is unnatural.  On the surface, that is.  OK, we've all made choices that there is something we have no desire to learn.  Personally, I have no desire to learn archeology.  I have explored it somewhat and have determined that simply is not for me.  In this, I have chosen to remain ignorant.  But this is not what I mean by "conscious ignorance".  The form of conscious ignorance I'm talking about here is much more prevalent and insidious; much more dangerous, for it creeps unseen and blinds us to the truth all around us.  We are aware of things, yet we choose to ignore them, even to our own detriment.  We've all read the ingredient list on the food packages that contain words we can't even pronounce.  Yet we simply shrugged our shoulders, tossed the box into the shopping cart, and later ate the contents without a clue of what we were actually putting into our bodies or their effects on us.  We didn't die from that serving, so it must be ok and we continue to eat.  Yet those preservatives, artificial flavorings and colorings, sugars (including high fructose corn syrup), carbonations, and other chemicals are taking their toll on us with every bite.  Little by little we are whittling away on our health and our environment, slowly poisoning ourselves and the earth in the name of better living through chemistry.  How about unethical companies?  The one(s) in China that introduced melamine into the food chains for us and our pets, as well as their own babies, are an extreme example of corporate evil, placing profit ahead of people's health.  What about the less obvious ones, though?   Mentioned before, high fructose corn syrup is a classic example.  Most sugars are first metabolized to run the body.  Those left over portions that are not needed are stored as fat.  However, the human body cannot burn HFCS directly.  It must first store it to fat, then burn the fat.  Another issue on this topic is the satiety response.  When the blood sugar level reaches a certain point, the brain turns off the desire for food.  HFCS does not trigger that response so we continue to eat, sometimes to the point where we stop because our stomach won't hold anymore.  All that HFCS goes straight to fat and we wonder why American is becoming so overweight.  Why do companies use HFCS?  Because ounce for ounce it is much sweeter than sugar, so less is required.  And, ounce for ounce, it is cheaper than sugar, too.  This is a win-win for the food manufacturers, but it is lose-lose for us.  Yet we continue to consume products containing this substance every day, fully aware that it is only good for the corporations' bottom lines, and very bad for our bottom ends (and hearts).  On the topic of bad companies, how many of us shop at Wal-Mart?  They treat their employees like crap, run local businesses into the ground, and screw their vendors royally.  We know this.  There is documentation of their transgressions all over the Internet.  But we continue to fund their business at the expense of other, more ethical companies; even our neighbors' livelihoods.  We have named our price and sold ourselves for it.  Factory farms for meat, dairy, and eggs mistreating the animals that make them money and polluting the environment with the concentrated wastes of these creatures.  Pharmaceutical companies charging far beyond what is required to recoup expenses to develop, produce, and distribute drugs to the point that many must suffer and die because they cannot afford what could cure them.  Transportation and industries that dirty our air and water, and ultimately ourselves.  Why do we choose to remain ignorant of what we are doing?  Convenience.  Taste.  Money. Sometimes addiction.  But mostly, I believe, it is apathy.  Hoyt Axton summed it up in "The Ostrich", a song made popular in the '60s by Steppenwolf: there's nothing you and I can doYou and I are only twoWhat's right and wrong is hard to sayForget about it for todayWe'll stick our heads into the sandJust pretend that all is grandThen hope that everything turns out ok  But everything is not turning out OK.  Our environment is being polluted and we are taking that pollution into ourselves.  Animals are being abused, even tortured, in the name of feeding the masses.  People are barely surviving while working themselves sick, then they cannot afford the doctors or medicines they need to get well.  All the while, corporations are raking in profits and rewarding the top echelon with more money in a year than most of us will make in a lifetime.  And we continue to fund them because it is easy for us.  We don't want to give up our sugar-coated, chemically colored, genetically modified grain flakes because we will survive the next bowl and the alternative costs twice as much.  We drive our car a mile instead of walking because we really don't have the time or energy to take the walk.  We sit on our butts nibbling away at chemically enhanced snacks while we watch TV instead of reading or talking because it is easier and more entertaining.  And finally, we accept our early deaths from cancer or any other of a host of diseases resulting from a lifetime of poisoning ourselves because ...  Hmmm, why do we do that?  I've only lightly scratched the surface of this topic.  If I were to open it fully, DS would have to upgrade their servers just to hold it all.  Has reading any of this bothered you?  Have you felt a tad guilty?  I hope so.  I hope you will pull your head out of the sand and realize that all is not grand.  If our world continues this course, everything won't turn out OK.  Blessings to all.