Ignorance is not Bliss


The world in which we live is a very fascinating world. People live vicariously through the fabric of their emotions, intellect and experiences. Ignorance is by definition not knowing something and what which we don’t know, can really hurt us. However, our very own ignorance comes from many sources.

For instance, human beings get a sense of value from the things recognized or not recognized to be familiar. We naturally tend to seek fulfillment, avoid meaninglessness, sadness and conflict in our lives.
As if by default, we are inclined to increase this need of self-fulfillment through our senses and multiply our possessions. We could become selfish and foolish at times, in our private quest for completion.

Society must ask if our human path to fullness is only valid through these means: self gratification and possession multiplication. Can we ever be fully satisfied with our material possessions? These are some questions that touch on the core of our lives, especially if this matter is one of importance and significance.

Another one of the reasons for a lack of self-awareness is that we tend to shield our biases, consciously or unconsciously, even when evidence falls in on the other side of our opinion. We conform and succumb to the society at large. Our ability to distinguish this one-sidedness will make us stronger individuals, even when we disagree on socio-political or even religious points of view, sometimes is ok to disagree.

The most important tool in preventing ignorance is intentionality. Often times, when people lapse into ignorance is when we slip into laziness. Contrary to popular belief, alienating ourselves from the media, the world, our family or religion will not enable us to combat ignorance. Ignorance still exists in a vacuum; however ignorance still remains a possibility.

If we develop a critical mindset and give ourselves to analysis, then a motivation to learn will grow into knowledge – which is the opposite of ignorance. If we complacently watch whatever happens in our television, then we might become enslaved with whatever happens in the other side of the tube. If I develop a technical mindset regarding the intricacies by which I view media (framing, cinematography, lighting, presentation, plot, etc) then that frame of mind develops into something that I am actively involved, instead of something to be passive about.

The same goes for participating in a religious setting, If I idly sit and engulf my mind without engaging my critical thinking apparatus, then the experience becomes as stagnant as last night’s weather news. Preventing ignorance goes way beyond collecting a bunch of facts from x, y or z subjects. Preventing ignorance has a lot to do with engaging reason and intellect.

My mom always told me “he who does not know, is like he who does not see” and what a great point that is, If we dont know something, is like not seeing it, until it hits us. Ignorance could be bliss, but knowledge is power. We must wield to knowledge to experience the fullness of its power before intentionally using our minds. Having said that, in the times of the Bible, King Solomon, who was one of the kings with the most wisdom throughout the land, stressed his proverbs with encouragement that knowledge, understanding and wisdom are as gold and silver.

Therefore knowledge, understanding and wisdom will shield the simple-mindedness from ignorance and keep us in the path to truth. True self-fulfillment does not come from material possessions alone, but from a knowledge that provides meaning, in a life lived with intentionality.

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One thought on “Ignorance is not Bliss

  1. Hey, this is the first of your works that I have read, and, as promised, I will reply.
    You said “People live vicariously through the fabric of their emotions, intellect and experiences.”. How or why do you think it is vicariously? I agree that people live life and experience it with their emotions and intellect – but I disagree that we are removed from that, or somehow not directly attached to it.
    When you said we desire to seek fulfilment and avoid meaninglessness, that struck a chord with me, I rather agree with you on that one. However, are we all really that shallow that fulfilment only comes through self gratification and possessions? I personally find it fulfilling helping others, watching them succeed, for no outward glory of my own – but would you categorise that still as self gratification? Hmmm…
    “Shielding our biases” is such a frustrating thing. I, and I think most of us, consider ourselves to be honest and truth telling people. However, when we are subconsciously skewing the truth, or only paying attention to the things that help our chosen perspective, well life gets a little interesting. Going a step deeper, why is it we have chosen the perspective we have? What has created our world view and have we challenged why we believe what we believe? The solution proposed by you is intentionality and a critical mindset. I am currently reading a book on critical thinking, and although it is full of wisdom, it, in my opinion goes too far into being cynical and harsh. Having worked providing therapy, and now studying in the area, I recognise that it is very important to know me, know my triggers and my biases and my skewed thinking, and even if it’s just a crazy belief I can’t justify yet – it is important to know it is there. In knowing this, I can then consciously chose to share this or not with my friends, clients etc. I am no longer ignorant of myself, but intentional – HOWEVER, I don’t claim to be there yet, and I wonder if one can ever fully know all these things?
    In your comment of religious activity – I am ignorant of many religious practices, but know a little about Christianity. I find it interesting that we are called to participate in church, that “church” is actually the coming together of believers, and one of the reasons is for fellowship, or in non religious speak, to hang out. The interesting part here is that so often people “attend” church as though church was the building and that a performance is being put on for them to passively watch, as though at a concert – but alas, people are far more involved at most concerts than they are in church (no disrespect intended).
    Your mother sounds like a very wise woman, and you are blessed to have her. 🙂
    I think it also important to say that there is much knowledge available to us today. Gone are the days where one paper document was carried from town to town being read aloud in the town square. We are the “microwave generation”, we have what seems like unlimited knowledge at our fingertips. I think wisdom comes in discerning what knowledge we should invest our time in, and work on attaining. If one wants to learn how to drive a car, but reads books on how to compose music, we will still not “see it, until it hits us” or in this case, until they fail their driving test. I think being intentional in our thinking also requires forward thinking – planning for the future. I can intentionally want to be a psychologist, but unless I start studying at some point and see it through for the larger part of a decade, I’ll never make it.

    In saying all that – my guilty pleasure is escapism. I love to flop onto the couch and watch a movie, without analysing lighting and sound effects, just getting purely lost in the moment, laughing, crying, allowing my emotions to be swept away. A time when I don’t have to think, don’t have to plan, don’t have to counter my biases.

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