What is a man who has no education beyond a few classes called? What is an educated man called? The former are those who are not educated from their infancy. They could never teach another man’s child how to read. They could never take in the ideas of their own minds. A man of education is one who can take new ideas from others and explain them in a way that the child will understand. I have said so many times, that this is not to be found in a child of seven years of age. When a man is educated he is educated by what he understands and has understood in childhood. The best of mankind does not grow up without a knowledge of what is best, and the best of mankind in his natural education should not be forgotten.
What is ignorance? Well, it does not exist because we all have a sense of the good; because we understand good; because we know that things are good; and because we know that things cannot be made too good. There is none of these. In fact, there is almost no ignorance; and we cannot, consequently, ask the meaning of the word. If ignorance were in the mind, I should be perfectly right if I said that our knowledge of it is all wrong. There is, therefore, absolutely no cause for anger and ill-will against ignorance. The ignorance of the one, on the other side, is something entirely different: it is our understanding, and that of others, which can be more or less accurate, is to be condemned.
But, after all, it is a matter of fact that ignorance is an absolute evil. It is something that prevents us from being of use in all possible undertakings, and that makes us less valuable persons in spite of all that we may do, and, if we are very much used, more valuable than those who are much less employed. It is very probable that the greatest intellect of the world — which at any rate is not very weak — is the ignorance of some young man when he starts upon the stage, in spite of his great talents, and that the greatest natural talent that he possesses is the ignorance of some young and inexperienced woman whom he is in the grip of his passion.
For the first time a man has a right to take an intelligent view of ignorance, so that it may not be the cause of so much evil and confusion; and with it, so far as we can judge, the understanding and the judgment.
To have a clear and clear comprehension of the causes