Let's face it: there are a lot of unintelligent people in this world. Being ignorant - that is to say, uninformed or lacking knowledge - may have some genetic basis for certain people. Or perhaps they have some mental condition that inhibits learning. They may have a low IQ. In those situations, ignorance can be excused as a preexisting condition not entirely within the control of the ignorant person, who may or may not aspire to improve their situation. But there's an epidemic sweeping this country right now of what I like to call willful ignorance. Normal people of average or above-average intelligence actually willfully accepting misinformation and displaying an almost allergic reaction to the notion of using their brain to reason and rationalize. Example: the other morning I was out to breakfast with my lovely wife. The waitress was down the way talking to other customers about President Obama. The slant of their conversation was decidedly anti-Obama, but the rationale behind it bordered on absurd. The waitress mentioned that the Obamas hadn't been invited to the Royal wedding and she found it amusing that the British monarchy obviously had such a dim view of the President. Now, rather than actually take five minutes and figure out that the Obamas were not the only heads-of-state that hadn't been invited, or consider the notion that by attending the wedding they would only be increasing the pressure on an already over-taxed security service, this waitress simply accepted the the first notion that entered her head and used that to buttress her own negative feelings about Obama. In other words, instead of acquiring the correct information, she simply assumed (falsely) a number of things that made her own kneejerk stupidity sound plausible. Example 2: let's talk about Obama's birth certificate. The rallying cry of these same willfully ignorant people has been that Obama wasn't born in the US. This is so utterly ridiculous on so many levels, it's fairly comical how stupid this theory is. I mean, really. The President of the United States undergoes a security background check that would leave most people quivering in their boots. Given the unprecedented access the President has to our nation's most trusted secrets, is it even remotely intelligent to suggest that this guy hasn't been so thoroughly scrutinized that the birth certificate issue wouldn't have been addressed years ago? No, and it's frankly pretty damned stupid to suggest there's a conspiracy afoot to bend the rules for one guy to gain access to the highest office in the land. Come on, already. Do any of these birther conspiracy nuts even have one iota of knowledge about what happens during a background investigation? Or how many people are involved in carrying it out? Too many to keep quiet, that's for damned sure. But again, rather than use their brain to reason this out, the willfully ignorant choose to ignore common sense and knowledge because doing so would refute their kneejerk subjective opinions about a topic that they feel strongly about. In Ninjutsu - and likewise in many modern intelligence operations - operatives were taught to be able to objectively report on situations and circumstances. The frontline agents were not expected to form opinions about what they were assigned to uncover. They were simply supposed to report back what they saw. It was then up to the wiser higher-ups to determine what those frontline reports meant and how they might be construed. A lack of objectivity in reporting intelligence leads to faulty assumptions, inaccurate data, and catastrophic repercussions. As a modern-day student of Ninjutsu, I try to always view things objectively - I gather facts and data and then make up my mind independently about what these things mean to me. Basing a belief system on kneejerk reactionary thought isn't wise. Nor is it revolutionary. It is simplemindedness masquerading as zealotry, pseudo-patriotism, and idiocy. More people than ever before seem willing to put their brain on screensaver mode because it's too hard to think, or it takes too much time to engage the gray matter. They want their world condensed into tidy sound bites that echo their primal, childlike fears. This makes them feel secure in their beliefs and they'd rather be willfully ignorant than risk being challenged and forced to use the ol' noggin. We've seen the results of such a mindset. More nutjobs are entering politics than ever before. And they're winning seats in power because they know that most people simply will not take the time to research them or find out the disturbing truth about them. The willfully ignorant allow themselves to be controlled via their primal reactionary subjectivity. This mindset of willful ignorance is dangerous and more than anything else we're facing right now, this alone can reduce our great nation to the laughing stock of the global community. Objective, rational thought is what is desperately needed in the United States of America. Don't be willfully ignorant. Don't be swayed by fear and conspiracy theory and all those other little things that tug at you like the strings on a marionette. Remember: if you really believe you're intelligent, then you are required to use your brain in an objective manner to fully discover facts and truth before deciding on a conclusion. If all you're doing is listening to talking heads and regurgitating mindless fear-speak, then you're not using your brain... ...you're being controlled. How does such a thing relate to self-protection? Very easily. If I know, for example, that you're a rabid anti-Obama Tea Partier, and I have to take you out, I might be inclined to use that to my advantage. If I want you to make the first move, I might suggest that Obama is the greatest thing since sliced bread and infuriate you with my glowing praise of our President. I know that with enough talk, I can get you to flip out and commit to making an attack. Or maybe, I want to get closer to you. So I take the opposite approach. I rave about what a crook Obama is and how he's ruining the country. All the while, I subtly draw the distance down between us until I'm in your kill zone. But you don't see me as a threat because, after all, I'm appealing to your subjective mindset. And before you realize the danger, it's too late. And really, it's just that easy. Those are only two examples of methods I could use on a one-on-one situation to take you out. Can you imagine how many more methods there are for controlling the masses based on appealing to a subjective mindset such as what willful ignorance encourages? Objective, rational thought is the enemy of mass mind control. If you're truly interested in self-protection, you owe it to yourself to see that ALL of your tools are fully developed - not just the punches, kicks, joint locks, and throws. Real self-protection begins with your mind. Keep it girded in the armor of objective, rational thought that allows truth to shine through. Willful ignorance is like a rust that undermines the integrity of everything you rely upon for protection. Don't compromise your safety.