I’m talking about the willful kind.
I’m fascinated by this behavior because we all so often exhibit it. Every one of us.
Human beings are ridiculously stubborn. Why do we ignore the obvious not only in order to support what we want to believe because it suits our agenda, but also to ultimately prevent having to change? We try to ignore the things that don’t scaffold our plans, and seek out only the information that does, creating a continuous confirmation bias that allows us to go forward with what we think we want. It’s an evolutionary tendency that is necessary, I suppose, we have to keep the species going, but the idea still leaves me astounded when I think of the lengths to which we’ll go to look past something that’s right under our noses.
I think of it first in terms of new love, because it’s easy to comprehend that. We’ve all been there. We meet someone who we really like and see them through a soft pink lens, ignoring the little habits that will make us crazy a year down the road or even something like the fact that they always turn their phone face down when we’re present or worse, that they hide it away in their pocket, not allowing us to see it at all. “He’s just trying to let me know he’s focusing on me.” Nope. Actually, he’s probably hiding something from you. We seek out the good feelings of security and confidence, when we should actually be looking at the evidence square on.
We also do it with politicians, friends, family members, even things like restaurants we think we’re supposed to like and rave about. It’s some sort of internal personal hype man situation. “Look at how great this is! SEE! You’re right — it’s awesome. Don’t look over there at that man behind the curtain! Nothing to see there.”
We don’t like knowing what we don’t want to know. If we know it, and we admit it to ourselves, aren’t we then required to change? And God, we hate changing. We’d rather keep things the same, comfortable and familiar and even sometimes wrong as long as its something we know. So of course we ignore what we don’t want to see.
As it applies in the law, it means keeping oneself purposefully ignorant in order to try to use, ‘I didn’t know,” as a defense. Aren’t we, and shouldn’t we be, required to know, to not turn away in an attempt to overlook the truth?
We shut down our intuition. We tune out those little voices, those little taps on our shoulders or sometimes even downright ignore the slap in the face of what’s in front of us. It’s amazing.
Then, if and when we finally wake up we always ask, “How could I have been so blind?”
That’s just been on my mind lately. I don’t think I want to choose to not know.
Happy Monday, Y’all.
PS – What is that quote about a relationship being as successful as the people in it are willing to stay in the role assigned to them by the other person?