Ignorance and beyond

I typed this entry on board a flight from Delhi to Coimbatore. I spent the first two hours of the flight fiddling with ns-3, and I’m slowly getting a feel of it’s code. Anyway, it’s a beautiful view from aboard the plane, with a stripe of orange lissing the dark horizon of the clouds and blending into the darkness of the night. But that’s not going to stop me from ranting away, so here goes. 😛

I happened to watch ‘The Zeitgeist‘ a few days ago and that prompted me to write this by the way. Yes, I am quite late to join the Zeitgeist bandwagon; I usually miss good releases by an entire era. Quite amazing I’d say. With the kind of interest I have in religion (in spite of being an atheist), I was already familiar with most of Part I which was all centered around religion. Religion is by far the most successful hoax ever and I wonder how it can ever solve the world’s problems. Oh wait, it’s _creating_ problems. I pity the stereotype that Muslims of today have to put up with. While on the bus I’d taken from Jaipur to Delhi yesterday, I happened to sit next to a middle aged man. I opened a conversation with him and we talked for a while. When I asked him his name, he replied, “Ahmed”, paused for a few seconds and then said, “I’m Muslim.” I couldn’t figure out how that piece of information was going to help me judge him in anyway, so I asked him if there was any specific reason why he was telling me that. To that, he replied, “Because that’s the way it is these days.” Our conversation ended there.

Ignorance kills, and it makes one vulnerable to deception. It fools people into buying products that’ll never help them, into accepting beliefs that are baseless and into letting corrupt people govern them. If everyday Joe asked me to fix a problem on his computer, I could easily setup a Trojan in front of him and give him a stupid explanation to convince him that it’s there for a good reason. Heck, ignorance helps the quacks and charlatans of all areas on a daily basis. Look at Ankit Fadia for instance. Anyone who’s got as much as a grain’s worth of knowledge about security knows better than to believe that Fadia has the skills required to be a ‘security consultant’. Yet, he rode the media all the way to popularity and fame, because, to your everyday noob, he’s a prodigy and an ‘ethical hacker’. And regardless of whether or not you know what being a hacker is all about, please read this article by Eric S Raymond. I’m pointing even those who ‘know’ to that link because there are a lot of people I’ve met who think they know what it means to be a hacker but are just as misinformed as the others.

Need I even get started about religious rituals which are supposed to cure diseases and other problems? How about an AIDS vaccine people? Or how about you all get together and cast “Heal the World Level 3”? While you’re at it, you could possibly follow it up with “Fulfill all UN Millenium Objectives Level 100” as well. If you can’t it’s ok, you can still help by trying out those really cool mass suicides. At least we’ll end up with a better planet that way.

Will the educational system ever evolve enough to overcome these brick walls? Maybe yes. Maybe not. Bah!

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