GIVEN HOW WELL 2020 has gone this year, I thought it might be a good time to again ask: Who were those Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?
I’m also wondering if maybe, just maybe there’s a 5th rider that we’ve been ignoring. One that really wasn’t considered all that important until the internet came of age.
According to that (we’ll scare you into being a Christian) Old Testament book of Revelations, the first of the Four Horsemen responsible is that guy on a white horse, the Conqueror. From there and riding in on the over-used blood red horse, is War followed by Famine on the black stallion and then, on the pale horse and cleaning up all that damage, is Death.
Sounds like a fun group of guys who, over the millennia have been known to frequently show up as uninvited guests at our civilization block parties. Nothing like a good war led by a crazed nationalist leader that is quickly followed by famine and petulance, to put a damper on the spirit of our great experiment in civilization.
However, I think there is a new horseman, one perhaps more dangerous than the other four combined and he is known as the Horseman of Ignorance. A rider of absurdity and self-centred irresponsibility whose ineptitude and idiocy means he is unwilling or unable to grasp something as simple and necessary as the truth.
Unlike his four friends, he is a naturally born idiot, with an ignorance that comes to him with the same ease that breathing does to us.
Psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger describe the dangers posed by this rider when they explained how he does not know that he does not know. Or as Charles Darwin wrote, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
On a global level we need look no further than America and their current president to recognize how incompetence (drink bleach) combined with an overestimation of one’s capabilities (I’m a very stable genius…like really smart) has the potential to destroy a nation while bringing civilization to its knees.
We’ve lived with the Four Horsemen throughout the centuries and each time they have shown up at our neighbourhood block party, we’ve managed to learn more about them and sometimes even managed to limit their destructive powers.
But this new guy, Ignorance, is different. When he arrives, a civil war erupts and the battle to defend the values of knowledge and truth ensues.
You can witness the skirmishes on many battlefields but the most favoured in this century is social media. Here you will find the 5th Horseman, disguised as a Google aware expert, a specialist in every field, whose knowledge and expertise is limited only by his knowledge and experience.
Bill McQuarrie is a former magazine publisher, photojournalist and entrepreneur. Semi-retired and now living in Port McNeill, you can follow him on Instagram #mcriderbc or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.