Ours does, and not knowing about the law can result in a pretty heavy fine and points on your license. I shouldn't be ignorant of how my step-children are doing in school, I shouldn't be ignorant of the particular demands of my job, and I shouldn't be ignorant of what's going on in my town. If I don't pay some attention, who's to blame for my surprise when they start tearing down my neighborhood to build a new bypass or apartment complex?
Ignorance is the main force behind almost all prejudices and biases. Even the word "prejudice" implies "pre-judging," or judging beforehand, and we have to ask "before what?" The answer, of course, is before having all the knowledge necessary to judge accurately. And if you don't have that knowledge, you're ignorant, yet you're still judging. How can that ever be helpful or even honest?
Many people who face difficult financial situations do so because of ignorance -- ignorance of basic financial principles behind credit, ignorance of tax laws and procedures, and ignorance of concepts such as interest and investing. They find themselves struggling because they just didn't know that putting so much on credit would lead to such high monthly bills. They didn't realize that even paying the minimum monthly payment on credit doesn't lower the bill enough even to make a dent in the balance. They've believed the hype behind the "buy now" mentality, and they haven't made the effort to look behind that hype and find out the true story.
Many religions and cults and splinter groups from major religions like to encourage ignorance among their followers, for they fear that if their followers learn more about their tenets and beliefs, they'll not like what they see and back out. In this way, these groups build intolerance and prejudice among their followers, keeping these people trapped in a system of belief that's based upon not knowing any more than the leaders want them to know.
Many people like to use their ignorance as an excuse, and the words "I didn't know" are their favorite words of all. I had to work with someone like that once, and I found that I couldn't ever depend upon that person. No matter what she was told to do, she would claim "I didn't know you wanted me to do that" the next day when the job hadn't been done. It was one of the most frustrating professional experiences that I (and the other people involved) ever had. Teens like to use ignorance as an excuse for not doing their chores or certain tasks, and it's important that they learn quickly that ignorance is almost never a valid excuse in real life. In the work world, if you don't know something, you'd better find out -- that's what you're getting paid for.
How many stories have you read or movies have you seen in which the main character goes through the entire film not knowing something very important, and you watch as he or she comes closer and closer to breaking through his or her ignorance to find knowledge? Aren't you just waiting the entire time for that to happen, and don't you just know that things will be much better when the character learns? In The Lion King, for example, Simba almost throws away his life and his heritage based on ignorance -- he didn't know what truly happened to his father. Believing his uncle was easier than giving himself credit and finding out the truth of the situation.
How many times have you thought someone to be a jerk (or worse) because of the way that he or she talked to you or answered one of your questions, only to find out later that something bad had just happened to that person? Your ignorance caused you to judge harshly and sometimes to lose your own peace of mind, even though had you known the true situation, you probably would have reacted with compassion and caring. But getting upset is easier than thinking compassionately, until you get used to the latter.
Ignorance is the easy way out, and the easy way out is rarely the best. Fighting our own ignorance takes dedication, desire, and effort. We have to learn, we have to keep open minds, and we have to step back from pre-judging based on religion, race, nationality, skin piercings, tattoos, or any other physical characteristics that lead us to depend upon stereotypes to figure out what a person is like. Ignorance keeps us down, and it keeps us from getting ahead, and the only way to combat it is to search for the knowledge we need is any given situation. Sometimes, that's as easy to do as asking a few simple questions, but other times, it takes a great deal of effort. Either way, it's worth doing.
So don't always buy the first story or claim that you hear -- if you do, I can guarantee you that you're ignorant of an important side of the story that sounds much different than the one you've accepted. Don't accept first impressions, for they're based on ignorance of many other aspects of a person or place that you haven't yet seen. And please don't let prejudice ruin your life -- the more we learn in life, the more open our minds are, and the more compassionate we can be to our fellow human beings who, like us, are doing the best that they can with what they have.
Also, be wary of those people who offer information or opinions about which they know little or nothing. Almost everyone is willing to offer an opinion about major news stories or political policies, even if they know almost nothing about the topic. be quick to say "I don't know" if you know that you don't have the knowledge necessary to form a true opinion. Passing on gossip or hearsay is one of the most common -- and most highly visible -- forms of ignorance around.
Jack Cade fights with reinforcements from the Tower, killing the leaders. The Butcher and Weaver ask Cade to make new laws for England, though his laws will be simply oral, not printed. Cade declares all written records should be burned, and his words will constitute the new Parliament. A messenger announces Saye has been captured, and one of the Rebels brings him in. Cade makes a long speech to Saye, affecting courtly speech but speaking in prose. He accuses Saye of giving up Normandy to the French and says he must sweep the court clean of such filth. He charges Saye with corrupting the youth through grammar schools, causing the use of printing presses and a paper mill. Cade says Saye has people around him who talk so much about the usage of nouns and verbs that none can bear it. Finally, Cade accuses Saye of putting men who cannot read in prison.
Saye replies, speaking of the good traditions of people from Kent, the home of Cade's army. He says he had nothing to do with the loss of Normandy, and he has done nothing but try to maintain the king, the realm, and the people. And he defends knowledge, saying ignorance is the curse of God and knowledge the wing to heaven. Cade orders him beheaded. Saye insists he has done no wrong and begs to be allowed to live. Saye orders his death.
A sergeant enters and accuses the Butcher of having raped his wife. Cade declares that all women in his realm shall be available to all men, and he orders the Butcher to cut out the Sergeant's tongue and kill him. Some of Cade's men enter with the heads of Saye and his son-in-law on pikes, and Cade orders them to be paraded around all the street corners.
Buckingham and Clifford enter as ambassadors from the king, offering pardons to the common people who put down their weapons and go home. Clifford makes a speech in favor of the king, invoking King Henry V. The commoners all side with the king. Then, Cade makes a speech to the commoners, reminding them that he has won their freedom, but now they want to be slaves to the nobility again. They all change their mind and shout that they will follow Cade. Clifford speaks again, saying that this civil brawl will weaken the state, and soon the French will attack England--better Cade die than any Englishman stoop to a Frenchmen. Again the rabble turns back to the king.
Cade thinks to himself that the multitude is as easily led one way or the other as a feather in the wind. Evoking the name of Henry V changes their allegiance, and they easily abandon him. He curses his former army aloud and runs away. Buckingham sends soldiers after Cade.
Henry waits in a castle with Margaret and Somerset. Henry ponders his continual discontent, when Buckingham and Clifford enter. They announce that Cade has fled, and the multitude who were his army are below, wanting to be forgiven. Henry speaks to the masses, thanking them for returning to their king, and promises he will never be unkind. He dismisses them. Then, a messenger enters with the news that York is on his way from Ireland, marching toward them with a powerful army. York claims his only desire is to fight with Somerset, who he deems a traitor. Henry reels, noting that his kingdom is buffeted like a ship in a storm between assaults from Cade and then York. He sends Buckingham to talk to York and sends Somerset to the Tower until he can sort things out with York. Somerset willingly goes to prison in order to help out the king.