Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Incognizance and the Fool

By Hervey Angelo F. Avenido | Cartoonist

Vol. XCI No. 7

Sept. 13, 2019

For years, people have been recording experiences and knowledge on tomes and memoirs that have served as guideposts for the future generation. Information that can lead to breakthroughs in science, or maybe even help change history was a valuable commodity especially during the ancient times when knowledge could only be accessed by the scholars and the rich, making the lower classes ignorant and easy to manipulate. Today, with easy access to information and stories, people are now granted limitless power over what they can do with these stories.

With limitless access to information comes limitless potential for better growth of every community. The only question is: do we really use this information and stories for the betterment of every community and even nature itself?

Even with the privilege to access limitless information, people still abuse this privilege to undermine the freedom of expression of others by misappropriation of information: using Bible verses from stories to satisfy their own beliefs, refusing to believe scientific studies because of a conspiracy theorist’s wilder opinions, etc., a practice known as “proof-texting.” Even with the presence of evidence and articles that prove the validity of opposing arguments, people still choose to remain ignorant.

In the recent events concerning the country, one popular example, a political agenda heavily scrutinized by most Filipinos, is the legislation and the passing of the SOGIE bill, which enacts anti-discriminatory measures for all people regardless of gender and sexuality.

Gretchen Diez’s usage of LGTBQ rights to further her political career instead of the betterment of the community shifted the bill’s essence from an anti-discriminatory act to becoming a self-serving platform to gain political power. Together with misinformation and the quick judgmental personality of most Filipinos, the SOGIE bill has taken a step back from becoming a realized anti-discrimination law to an act that has been branded by most religious zealots as a bill promoting disrespect to the teachings of the Bible.

Despite the full details of the SOGIE bill being circulated online, parties from opposing political views have manipulated certain information found inside the bill for their self-serving ideologies and needs, an act epitomized when Gretchen Diez tried to use the bill in order to further her own political ambitions, and when radical right-wing members of religious groups used the bill—combined with out-of-context bible verses—to symbolize the “evil attempt” of the LGBTQ community to slowly remove the rights of heterosexuals. This kind of malpractice is not exclusive to the SOGIE bill; there is also the existence of science-deniers, believing in the misinterpreted “woke” culture when what they believe in are just sketchy conspiracy theories

This proves that despite the limitless access to information, people still proof-text and disregard the truth behind greater agendas that were created for the betterment of the communities regardless of sexuality, age, and social standing.

It is best to keep by heart what Uncle Ben of Spiderman taught everyone, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Each of us is obliged to be responsible enough with the limitless power of information available within reach. It is either we advance to the limitless undiscovered potential of humankind or take a step back with a fool’s mindset that will hinder human development.

Being fully and properly informed, after all, is better than being an incognizant fool.


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