1. Compound Ignorance
Compound ignorance is, as explained before, the kind of ignorance in which one does not know and is, moreover, unaware of the fact that he doesn't. This is a fatal disease the cure of which is extremely difficult. This is because the `compound ignorant' person does not see any shortcoming in himself, and so lacks any motivation to do anything about it.
Thus he remains ignorant to the end of his life and its disastrous effects destroy him. In order to cure this kind of ignorance, we must explore its roots.
If the cause of an individual's compound ignorance is a tendency for distorted thinking, the best treatment for him is to learn some exact sciences such as geometry or arithmetic, in which case, his mind is freed from muddleheadedness and mental inertia, and led towards steadiness, clarity, and moderation.
As a result of this, compound ignorance is transformed into simple ignorance, and the afflicted individual can then be stimulated into pursuit of knowledge. If the cause of the vice lies in his method of reasoning, the individual should compare his reasoning with that of men of research and clear thought, that he may discover his mistake. If the cause of his ignorance is some other thing such as blind prejudice and imitation, he should endeavour to remove them.
2. Perplexity and Doubt
Another disease which may afflict the Power of the Intellect is the vice of doubt and perplexity, which makes man incapable of distinguishing right from wrong. This disease is usually caused by appearance of numerous contradictory pieces of evidence, which confuse him, and make him incapable of reaching a definite conclusion.
In order to cure this disease, the individual must first consider the axiomatic principles of logic, such as the law of contradiction, the principle that the whole is always bigger than any one of its parts, the law of identity, etc., and base all his subsequent reasoning on them, realizing that truth is one and except the true one all other conclusions are false. In this manner he can cut through the web of contradictory thoughts that bewilder him.
The opposite of ignorance, perplexity, and doubt is certainty, which is none other than lasting, certain conviction; which being in accordance with reality, cannot be shaken by any doubts however strong. This is specially important in regard to theology and its various branches. In other words, belief in the existence of God, His affirmative and negative Attributes,
prophethood, resurrection, and whatever relates to them, should be so strong as not to be shaken by any doubts. The state of certainty is one of the highest states possible for man, and is attained by very few human beings. There is a tradition attributed to the Prophet that says:
Certainty is complete belief.
Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (A) is reported to have said:
God, the Supreme, in His supreme justice, has associated happiness and comfort with certainty and contentment [that is, resignation to God's will], and coupled sorrow and pain with doubt and resentment [with respect to Divine will].
Signs of Men of Conviction
There are certain signs associated with the state of certainty against which anyone can measure himself to determine his own degree of conviction. These signs are:
1. Reliance on God in all one's affairs, and having mind only for His good pleasure. To put it succinctly, it should be one's firm belief that:
There is no power or might [in the world] except that [it is derived] from God, the Most High, and the Most Great.
2. Humility before God, both inwardly and outwardly, at all times and under all circumstances, and obedience to His commands to the smallest detail.
3. Possession of extraordinary-almost miraculous-powers through being close to God-a condition that comes about after one has realized one's insignificance and weakness before His greatness and majesty.
1. Compound Ignorance