One’s understanding of the truth never lies within obvious, surface-level information, but rather in a deeper understanding of another’s intentions or beliefs. Robert Proctor’s “Agnotology” explains the many ways ignorance controls a person’s life and the apparent methods individuals use when deciding which information to explore or which to ignore. Trevor Noah’s “Go Hitler!” explains the lasting effects cultural ignorance can have on communities everywhere since misinformation prevents people from sharing a communal understanding of similar ideas. Ultimately, Robert Proctor’s piece uses factual validity and data to argue that individuals are not aware of the many ways that ignorance effects society, while Trevor Noah’s work uses effectual validity and descriptive narratives to illuminate that ignorance can cause cultural differences and prevent societal growth. Through this comparison, one can understand that inaccurate news sources greatly effect one’s societal ignorance, which highlights that everyone must seek true knowledge within the media in order to promote cultural progress.
Although both works focus on apparent truths located within everyday ignorance, Robert Proctor’s excerpt allows readers to receive a greater understanding of the many ways ignorance impacts one’s understanding of knowledge and the world. To the author, truth does not lie within the information an individual chooses to study, but rather in the knowledge one tends to ignore. Throughout Proctor’s piece, he is writing to well-educated individuals in order to effectively explain the relevancy and lasting impact that ignorance can have on a society and even the world. To effectively portray his ideas, the author provides accurate data and information which helps increase the author’s factual validity, while additionally providing accurate implications of how ignorance effects society. For example, Proctor provides real life examples including military secrecy and the misleading methods used by the tobacco industry to help persuade his audience about the importance of being aware of information provided by news sources and prominent institutions.
Furthermore, Proctor is able to increase his credibility as an author by building a relationship with his readers through his strong appeal to ethos. Proctor’s credibility is strengthened by his position as a professor at a distinguished institution, and his use of formal diction throughout his piece allows readers to feel a sense of trust towards the author. Through the writer’s word choice, he is able to effectively portray the relevancy of ignorance within today’s society in a precise manner. Additionally, readers are increasingly more likely to believe in the author’s ideas since his information is presented in a formal article rather than as a personal narrative. If Proctor’s piece had been written as a descriptive narrative, the article’s claims would not have been as impactful since the author’s use of factual evidence rather than personal stories allowed readers to agree with his opinion that powerful industries construct information to increase societal ignorance and receive their desired public result. Throughout his work, the author provides relevant, data and information in order to effectively persuade his audience to look beyond the evidence provided by news sources and to realize that the truth lies within one’s own ignorance.
Although Proctor’s piece focuses on the broad implication of ignorance within society, Noah’s text alternately provides personal narratives to explain the importance of overcoming societal misconceptions. Noah’s excerpt from his autobiography effectively portrays the relevancy of being aware of the negative effects ignorance can hold on an individual’s deeper understanding of the world. To explain his ideas, the author writes his piece in a personal narrative form and includes multiple examples from his childhood where he faced adversity growing up in a poor, South African area. The author’s personal examples including his experiences as a DJ and illegal CD curator help to increase the piece’s effectual validity while also creating a strong appeal to pathos. Although the narrator’s personal accounts are humorous in nature, each allows readers to feel a sense of pity for the author as he grapples with understanding and overcoming cultural ignorance. Since the author is a well-known talk show host, the author is able to gain credibility to his audience of primarily young adults through his own childhood experiences of overcoming cultural ignorance. If the author’s information had been portrayed in a factual article, readers would not have fully understood the relevancy of understating another’s beliefs within modern society. Through the author’s use of narratives and effectual validity, Noah effectively explains the importance of understanding cultural values in order to understand the truth behind societal issues and help promote progress.
Although both texts provide applications on the importance of understanding societal ignorance, each illuminates the importance of seeking true knowledge within one’s community in order to promote progress for years to come. Proctor’s article helps to highlight how governmental institutions and powerful corporations ultimately affect how individuals perceive specific events and formulate their own opinions. Through his use of factual evidence and multiple examples, individuals are able to conclude the importance of formulating one’s own ideas and seeking true information in every aspect of their lives. Additionally, Noah’s personal narratives help emphasize the importance of viewing information from more than one perspective in order to gauge a more truthful representation of beliefs within society. Each of these pieces helps to further conclude the importance of understanding a situation from various points of view, regardless of one’s status, to effectively find the truth within falsities seen throughout the world and the media. In today’s growing culture, miscommunication is becoming increasingly more prevalent since many fail to account for alternative viewpoints when formulating one’s own idea about the truth. Both authors’ ideas help to prove that in order to promote progress within today’s society individuals must overcome one’s ignorance, either rooted in their own misunderstanding or in information gathered from new sources, in order to provide a brighter future for generations to come. Without seeking a greater understanding of various cultures and the falsehoods seen within the media, progress will never continue.
In conclusion, Proctor’s article and Noah’s personal narrative help to prove that ignorance helps each individual strive to seek out the truth within one’s daily life and within faulty media sources. Both of these pieces rely upon rhetorical devices and effectual and factual validity to enhance the author’s credibility and persuasively argue the importance of seeking out true knowledge every day. Within today’s constantly changing society, individuals must learn the negative effects that ignorance has on communities in order to create a more knowledgeable future by accepting new perspective and questioning the validity of the information around oneself. After all, in order to encourage societal growth for years to come one must uncover today’s reality in order to be prepared for the future.
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