The concept of fighting ignorance has always appealed to me although I have never tried anything else but fighting my own ignorance, let’s say with acceptable results. I noticed, however, accumulation of knowledge came with an attendant sentiment that knowing stuff had an intrinsic value, which made knowledge more precious than the money or power that it could secure. Highly debatable, but that was my feeling.
But maybe I shouldn’t adopt a reductionist stance because things are seldom either black or white. Maybe ‘knowledge is power’, ‘knowledge is convenience’, or ‘knowledge is money’ can all be true even if I continue to believe in knowledge for it own sake. Thus, depending on one’s attitude or philosophy, knowledge is more or less a tool that can benefit one in achieving one’s goals. How interesting, though, because if we regard knowledge in this way, it becomes fundamentally a teleological value.
In an episode of the TV serial “Here and now” (whose title I think alludes to Utopia), a character maintains that people’s thirst for knowledge stems in fear. I gave a mental snort when I heard that, but it set me thinking because it offered a cause rather than a purpose. They say fear springs from ignorance, so to quell one’s fear one can achieve knowledge and get rid of one’s anxieties. It’s kind of obvious even if it’s not entirely true - it can’t be an epiphany anyway because it sounds very much like common sense.
Eventually it rang a bell: Alfred Adler. The idea that a person’s inferiority complex can explain that person’s behavior has become a widespread belief due to Alfred Adler’s effort. He is one of the fathers of holism and many other theories, which have been absorbed into modern psychology without attribution.
So knowledge for its own sake has died, selflessness is an illusion, and free will does not exist. Well, I don’t care. For me, selfishness is still bad in the absence of selflessness, free will is a fact, and knowledge still has an intrinsic value.
NB Forcing one’s opinion on others is not fighting ignorance.