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onesecondregrets's avatar

Do you ever wish you were ignorant so you could (possibly) live in bliss?

Asked by onesecondregrets (2578 points ) March 2nd, 2009

Every day I realize more and more about my life and myself.. I wish I hadn’t.
Knowledge isn’t always power, it can be destructive.

I’d try out being ignorant to things for a day, sure.

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22 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

Dorothy Parker’s reflection on this question comes to mind:

See the happy moron,
He doesn’t give a damn.
I wish I were a moron,
—My God! Perhaps I am!

wundayatta's avatar

Oh God! There was a time when I would have traded every brain cell I own for a good sex life. Fortunately, it seems I may not have to do that. Besides which, I was crazy at the time.

This is interesting, because I have not thought about the issue since I’ve become healthy. I’m back to actually enjoying my mind. All that guilt/fear/low self-worth stuff is not so much an issue.

I guess I’d have to say, now, that I would not trade my knowledge for the potential bliss of idiocy. I think it may be possible to keep one’s intelligence and be happy at the same time! What a revelation!

skfinkel's avatar

There’s a philosophical question about this as well: would you rather be a contented cow or an anguished person. (Or a version something like that—it’s been a while since I studied philosophy. But you get the idea.) Anyway, this is the question. Each person to whom this question occurs must answer for him or herself. For me, I’d rather be a person than a contented cow. Because along with the anguish of knowledge, self-knowledge, love (and death) comes a lot of good stuff. And just being able to ask such questions implies a level of living and thinking that is exalted.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@JerubaLURVE for Ms Parker!

No, I don’t wish to be any more ignorant than I already am.

marinelife's avatar

Never.

@onesecondregrets Not to get too personal, but the tone of several of your recent questions has been worrying down. Are you OK?

Judi's avatar

Sometimes when I get into conspiracy theory mode (and thinking about the Illuminati and Skull and Bones and the Masons) or when I watch to many weird TV shows and movies I wonder if we really are ignorant and if I would just prefer to stay that way if I couldn’t change anything anyway. .

Dog's avatar

No- never wished to be less intelligent.

However I have often times thought while a passenger in a car teaching my teen to drive that those who are blind must suffer less stress.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

No. Then I wouldn’t have been able to appropriately over-analyze this question.

Jeruba's avatar

And then, still consulting the poets, we have “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College,” by Thomas Gray (1716–1771), which gives us the familiar and out-of-context-misleading line “ignorance is bliss.” He qualified it: the last stanza says

To each his suff’rings: all are men,
Condemn’d alike to groan,
The tender for another’s pain;
Th’ unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
‘Tis folly to be wise.

(Full text here. The speaker is viewing his alma mater from a distance, thinking about boys at play on its grounds, and ponderiing how it would spoil their carefree joy if they could see their own futures.)

Where ignorance is bliss.” In other words, when knowledge (such as knowledge of what life has in store for us—always, in the end, death by some means) would destroy happiness, then it is better to be without it. But that does not mean that all ignorance is the way to bliss or that bliss is possible only in the absence of understanding. It just means that if we are better off not knowing what’s going to happen to us, then it would be foolish to try to know. (And of course we can’t anyway, but we can make ourselves miserable by thinking about it.)

marinelife's avatar

Edit: worryingly

Judi's avatar

@dog , there’s a difference between unintelegent and ignorance . Ignorance is curable.

onesecondregrets's avatar

@Marina…No need to worry. Just in an apathetic mood. I’m sure it will pass. Thank you so much for caring though, seriously.

scamp's avatar

Well, we are all ignorant about some things, so I guess we can all be at least a litlle blissful.

kevbo's avatar

Just a thumbnail answer, but I’m coming out the other side of a lot of unblissful non-ignorance with the thought/belief that we actually do create reality with our thoughts, which means we have the power to change reality. I think one purpose of mass media, for example, is to get us all chanting the same things (fear, for example). Anyway, look up Lynne McTaggart and Rupert Sheldrake on amazon.com.

I’m glad to come to that point on the journey.

But to answer your question, I’d rather be a ski bum. (I’m Fluthering from Durango.)

Blondesjon's avatar

@kevbo…If you haven’t, you should check out some Alan Watts. He has some very interesting things to say about creating your own reality. He is also credited with saying, “I owe my solitude to other people.” Worth a look just for that…

Bluefreedom's avatar

I would feel very uncomfortable with being ignorant about things because, even though it sounds really cliche, knowledge really is power and I find that to be advantage as opposed to being a detriment. I like to learn new things all the time and I treasure all the useful and not so useful knowledge I have floating around in my head.

I guess for those times where I want bliss away from things I don’t want or need to know about, I avoid it and just go looking for fun.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

No, I would never for a second, wish to be ignorant. Life would be easier, sure, but I’d rather get through it, knowing that I was able to because I’m strong.

augustlan's avatar

I think it is always better to know and care, than to not know and not care.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I’ve seen what ignorance can do, so I’ll keep my brain just as it is. Bliss is probably over-rated, and likely comes with hidden costs.

Jack79's avatar

sometimes yes

Zen's avatar

I’d love to experience not being a moron some day. I always feel as if I’m just winging it. Most of the time, it is blissful.

Aster's avatar

I often think I’d love being some long lived, strong creature who doesn’t worry. Which would be a ?? an elephant?

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