A Brief Reflection On Ingnorance.
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|Ignorance is far more destructive than evilness and ignorants can be manipulated by evil people; ignorants can be evil as well, thus, ignorance is evil.
Never underestimate the power of ignorance; it can lead to lack of progress, intolerance, violence and even the destruction of nations. People have been massacred by histeric mobs mobilized by ignorance (see The Easter Massacre) and families, books, schools, religious temples and palaces have been destroyed. Violence is often the reaction proper of ignorants who feel fear of something unknown. One problem with ignorance is that it can be manipulated by smart people; masses behave as their leaders want them to, regardles of morals.
But yet a more prevalent problem with ignorance is that those who sufffer it, ignore the fact that they are ignorant, are unwilling to do something about it or are even proud of their condition.
The cure for ignorance is education, but how do you educate those incapable or unwilling to receive it? The Inquisition was created to deal with heretics during the middle ages, but after it gained a foothold in Spain at the end of the XV century and in Portugal in the XVI century, it became a controlling force for the lives of many people. Both Spain and Portugal eventually lost their empires but in the process, they degraded themselves from being superpower-grade nations into backwater kingdoms three centuries later, and the effects are somewhat still being noticeable.
For example, in the Portuguese town of Belmonte, only in the last decades its Jewish inhabitants revealed their true religion to the open public after being Jews in secret since the XVI century under fear and threat of death. These and other cryptojews are a miracle of cultural and religious survival, and there might still be other communities holding such secrets in those lands, but they also show the kind of intolerance that pervaded the Iberian peninsula for about five hundred years. And it was all based on fear and ignorance.
The Inquisition was gone from Portugal by the second decade of the XIX century, yet the Jews of Belmonte did not felt like telling anyone about their secret religion for more than a century and a half since the revolution that ended with the repressive system. They were fearful that zealotry might resurface at any moment because Portuguese society continued being a primitive one.
But it wasn't so before Portugal admitted the first members of the Inquisition as a result of pressure from the Spanish rulers as condition for a royal marriage. Portugal is the nation that began the expansion of Western culture beyond the boundaries of Europe, and they managed to do that by the sheer knowledge and culture of its monarchs, the rulers of the House of Avis (see The Skowronek Bankers in the XIV Century .)
So if nations that possessed the best naval technology of the time, the best artillery, the best armies and the keenest merchants and explorers who were visionary enough to think more about the world than it being a flat thing on top of a turtle were reduced to underdeveloped states in XX century Europe before they entered the EU, you can bet that any country and any person can suffer the same fate if ignorance is left unattended.
Jews at the time prior to the arrival of the Inquisition both in Spain and Portugal enjoyed a privileged position: They were the élite, financiers, intellectuals, philosophers, nobles and even members of royalty.
After their expulsion, they were replaced by zealots, and not by equally-capable people. Those Jews migrated to various countries, but especially to the Netherlands, and is no miracle that after the struggle for independence, the Netherlands also became a world power, fueled by the ability and knowledge of those that were rejected and persecuted by the Inquisition.
Facts speak volumes. Ignorance is the worst evil of humanity.
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