7 December 2021 – 12 February 2022
JENNIFER LYN MORONE
CHRISTOPH WACHTER & MATHIAS JUD
ANIL K. JAIN
Curator EKMEL ERTAN
In all cultures knowledge is valuable; so are research and learning. Although the search for knowledge has been an irresistible effort for human beings from the beginning, the enlightenment that started with the renaissance showed us the value of knowledge. Ignorance – not knowing, not learning – was then clearly positioned as the opposite of knowledge and seen as inferior.
Knowledge also has limits. We do not know everything, we cannot reach the knowledge of everything. On the one hand, our cognitive capacity is limited, on the other hand, it is a process that is built by superimposing information. While it seems easy to jump back, leaping forward is often not possible; It is necessary to climb the steps of knowledge one by one.
We can talk about the knowledge of humanity. But not all societies build their lives with the same knowledge. Societies organize their lives with different sets of information just like individuals. Each set consists of what they don’t know as much as they know. What we do not know is as important as what we know.
Knowing and not knowing are not the opposite of each other; The sum of what we know and what we do not know does not constitute our entire information universe. Ann Kerwin divides knowledge into four categories: 1) What we know we know, 2) What we know we don’t know, 3) What we don’t know we don’t know, 4) What we don’t know we know. (DeNicola p.40) In this classification, it is possible to diversify each category within itself.
We know that we cannot know everything. We inevitably learn some of what we know without realizing it. We prefer not to know some of what we don’t know. In this case, what we do not know as well as what we know is made up of our choices. Our universe of knowledge consists of those we choose not to know as well as those we know. We create our ignorance with our own choices. What do we not want to know, what do we choose not to know?
DeNicola puts chosen ignorance in the category of “what we know we don’t know.” Like other categories, this category is broken down into sub-categories within itself. DeNicola categorizes what we know we don’t know as what we don’t know by rational choices (knowing a is more important than knowing B), strategic choices (such as blindness of the judiciary), privacy or confidentiality reasons, prohibited (taboos, censored information) or not knowing willingly. Selected Ignorance is precisely this section of what we do not know willingly; the range that we explain, or fail to attempt to explain, by “not wanting” rather than framing it with a justification (which we can do in the other four).
I think we can speak of two forms of Chosen Ignorance. First, you prefer not to know (learn) certain things. This is a personal preference. I prefer not to know because not knowing gives me an advantage. The second situation is to delegate the choice not to know to a group that one belongs to – from a friend group to a political party, to a professional or belief group, etc. In this case, things are determined within the framework of belonging, so you don’t know.
In fact, isn’t that exactly what happens in today’s socialization? We are limited to the information world that I create with our friends on social media.
In today’s digital world, there is so much that we ‘have’ to know! We have to know because we either meet in the great flow of information or it is already within our immediate reach. Just as our responsibility to know increases, so does our responsibility to not know.
So, is it possible to talk about ignorance as a stance, a choice? If we do not consider ignorance as a universal and uniform situation-concept-, we have to consider selected ignorance as limited to the fields of knowledge-interest. So how do we choose our ignorance?
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