“Prejudice is the child of ignorance.”
Most people find prejudice and ignorance to be undesirable traits. And they are. Yet there’s an interconnectedness between the two that can be used to help remove them from our world and reclaim balance. Walk with me . . .
At it’s most basic, ignorance is a lack of understanding or knowledge. And prejudice is a pre-determined stance, usually negative, regarding someone or something. If, as Mr. Hazlitt suggests, ignorance begets prejudice, that means ignorance must occur first. So to be prejudiced against someone or something, first you must be ignorant about them. Odd, right? How can you have an opinion regarding something you don’t understand?
It’s actually easy if you live in a patriarchal culture ruled by fear. There’s almost always some form of “us” against some kind of “them.” That’s because the masculine principle, which likes to separate and individuate, is dominant in a patriarchy. We all have the masculine principle in us and that allows us to take personal responsibility for ourselves. But taken to extremes, too much masculine principle leads to fear of the other.
For the feminine principle, which we also all have, everything is believed to be part of a greater whole, so an “other” doesn’t really exist. Everything and everyone contributes to the whole and is understood at the level of our common denominators. We are all humans. We all live on Earth. This makes a basic ignorance regarding others much more difficult to achieve. And according to Mr. Hazlitt, if ignorance doesn’t exist, prejudice won’t exist either.
I think it’s really cool that hidden in what is a seemingly simple statement is the hint that the reason prejudice occurs at all is the fact that we are living in out of balance patriarchies. If we embraced more of the feminine principle, if we welcomed everyone and made the greater good more of a priority, not only would we reclaim balance, we would probably completely end prejudice in our world. I’m in!
Seek Balance: Is there someone who you feel threatens you? How do you respond to them? Can you change that?
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