Ignorance worth bragging about
Why do I hide from information?
Yo peeps, and welcome to another issue of the ProtoNewsletter, where I share not only ideas, ravings, insights, and tips of dubious usefulness but also grammatical mistakes and odd phrasing.
Today we talk about healthy ignorance, the one it makes sense to brag about.
I’m not interested in (almost) anything. And not only am I not interested, but I also try intentionally to be disinterested. It means that I avoid looking for information but also try to hide from it.
For example, I’m not interested in crime news, so neither do I look for it nor hang out where it’s served, such as news sites and newscasts. I still don’t understand what this type of news is for, other than to exploit people’s morbid curiosity to sell more newspapers and get more clicks.
As for another example, I’m not interested in the ignorant opinions of intellectually dishonest people. If you think you can pontificate about everything without knowing anything, I have no will to listen to what you have to say. Therefore, I won’t start a conversation with one of these people, nor go wandering on social media, the megaphone of ignorant opinions.
But my disinterest doesn’t stop at purely negative things. It’s actually hyper-extended. You won’t find me subscribed to an agronomy newsletter, leafing through a catalog of fashionable clothes, or reading a Roman law textbook.
This approach, which someone called selective ignorance, it’s nothing more than the tendency to consciously choose which information is worth absorbing. All the rest is kept far away.
But… why? What’s the benefit of hiding from information?
I’m not sure if you noticed, but the time at our disposal on this plane called existence is limited. Even if you wanted, there’d be no time to learn everything. But I’ll go further: nobody could acquire all that there is to know, not even if they were immortal. The past — and the potential knowledge with it — expands monstrously faster than the maximum possible learning speed.
Inevitably, I will always be ignorant about almost everything. Why would I waste time absorbing random information when I can devote it to what intrigues me?
It’s worth trying to dodge the useless.
And it’s not only a matter of pure uselessness and wasted time. Information overload is stressful in itself and, when the information is harmful, can deteriorate the quality of life.
The endless stream of content is full of pieces that attract our attention by stimulating negative feelings, voluntarily or involuntarily. This applies to newspaper articles, news reports, social media posts, TV shows, YouTube videos. It applies to any form of communication.
By being actively disinterested, I minimize the impact of the useless on my life. I don’t get angry because someone posted illogical or unscientific bullshit. I don’t get caught in drama stories that have no relevance to my life. I don’t get sad or upset because of the latest tragic episode that happened to people I will never know.
Life’s better this way.
Some days ago, because of a mention in a podcast, I found myself stuck producing paper clips. Universal Paperclips top game of the year. It’s better not to start if you don’t want to get sucked in. Luckily I completed it in half a day. It reminded me of Candy Box, with whom I had a similar story.
On the reading side, I finished The Bed of Procrustes by Taleb, and I confirm my initial prejudice: aphorisms collections are not for me. I also started The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell, and I’m surprised by the amount of highlighting I’m doing.
The latest from yours truly
I published the translation of an old newsletter that I wanted to share here too. I was talking of when I first decided to quit social media:
I also published my notes from Lying, a book by Sam Harris that I consider an intelligent discussion about lies.