The Perils of Deafness and Blindness

February 11, 2013
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“The hardest thing about the truth is that sometimes you find it,” a wise person, known only as “HJ” once stated. In today’s society, it appears that many Americans share this view- or rather- fear. Many find that the truth is too difficult, or painful to accept, and so, become afraid of it. It is out of this fear that resistance arises- unwillingness to acknowledge reality and denial of actuality. In this sense, metaphorical blindness to the truth and deafness to its sounds are conditions that currently inflict millions of modern Americans. Today, many citizens of America are turning a blind eye to scientific evidence supporting the theory of evolution in favor of religion and blocking out the noises of America’s persistent poverty epidemic.

For many years, the battle between truth and fiction and the struggles of many to accept the former have raged on, most notably in the war between religion and science. The topics of evolution (and Charles Darwin) in particular have drawn spirited arguments from both sides. Did a great spiritual divinity create this Earth and everything that’s in it, or was it the product of black matter collapsing, an array of chemical substances coalescing, and microscopic organisms progressing into sentient, multi-cellular beings? For many Americans, such as those devoted to one of the numerous different branches of religions practiced in the country, it is easier to believe the first notion. The Bible tells the tale of Special Creation- how God created the Earth in which we live- while countless scientific studies and immeasurable amounts of research tell the story of the evolution of life. Nevertheless, a large number of modern Americans make the decision to believe that the valid explanation for the existence of Earth and human beings is scrawled in an ancient text, and close their eyes to the truths revealed by comprehensive, extensive, and conclusive evidence carefully amassed over many years by authoritative scientists. These Americans obviate coming to terms with what is real and true, and they do so by intentionally blinding themselves from it- perhaps because they find it too difficult or distressing to develop a different perspective. The truths science has procured about human life aren't the only things that members of our society eschew. Americans today are increasingly and deliberately deafening themselves to the cries of the country’s poverty-stricken as well.

A man clad in dirt-smudged, murky brown clothing and sporting a scraggly gray beard and his wife, who harbors similar features in a feminine way, pick morsels of food out of the trash cans that line the edge of the street- clearly as a last resort. While this may sound like fictional horror, it actually an unfortunate reality for many Americans, and one that the vast majority of our society chooses to ignore. Even though millions of our citizens live below the poverty line, we unfailingly drone out their cries with the melodies of our more comfortable lifestyles day after day. People in need can be found almost anywhere. In fact, their population is so abundant that is more difficult not to run into them than to do precisely that. Why is it, then, that (on most occasions) we choose not to stop and lend a helping hand? Members of our society routinely put themselves first, not even giving the destitute a second thought. Meanwhile, they attribute their passive actions to the stigmas and stereotypes that follow the homeless and the needy, rationalizations ringing loudly in their ears. The cries of help gradually fade from their minds, as the comforting and familiar tones of personal duties and problems take their place and enable these members of society to neglect the truths they are afraid of facing. An unfortunate situation, poverty is a problem that is extremely prevalent in modern society, but also one that a large majority of Americans purposefully tune out.

We can’t escape it, but we don’t want to find it. It is always there, but we resist it and block it from our senses. It is truth, and self-instituted blindness and deafness to it plague modern Americans by the millions. Among other things, our country’s citizens resist the realities of evolutionary science but embrace the fantasies of Special Creation, and deafen themselves to the needs of society’s less fortunate. We are afraid, which leads us to use intentional blindness and deafness as methods to attempt to defend ourselves against any realizations that have the potential to shatter the comfortable, absolute worlds and perspectives we have created within us. Yet, the only way to achieve sincerity, understanding, and truth is to open our ears and listen, uncover our eyes and see.

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JT__17 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 20, 2013 at 11:00 pm
*afflict, not inflict
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