General Question

SofaKingWright's avatar

Is ignorance actually bliss, and the age of information the plague? How far have we actually come?

Asked by SofaKingWright (530points) May 16th, 2011

In our society of an abundance of information, we are increasingly faced with a plethora of problems which we are unable to understand – much less solve.

Wouldn’t you rather be someone who could look up at the sky and not think about how the disappearing ozone is going to affect us?

Wouldn’t you prefer to not wonder when it is all going to end?

Would it not be simpler to just abide by the congregation, and carry on with a trivial existence?

When I think about the age of information, and all our staple points of conflict, all seem to ripen from the same roots. Pre-information, humans justified their existence by having faith in religion to explain their beginnings. Now, even with all the information we have access to – our wars are still based on principles which haven’t changed much since the Dark Ages.

Is this a sure sign that the age of information really has made relatively little or no progress in our quest for the Truth? We have been asking the same questions since we have been literate – and now, even with scientific explanations and theories, many are still pondering the impossible (or possible) ?

Are we all seeking our own personal fairy-tale?

So tell me, what does this age of information mean to you? The events and unrest in the world surely prove that we have not come far. How long are we going to be chasing our tails in this vicious circle? How long will we continue to molest the Earth’s resources, and plague it with wars based on which vivaciously scripted account of what it’s like ‘upstairs’ is the true Word?

Taking all this into account – do you think ignorance really is bliss, and our quest for information the plague?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

10 Answers

kess's avatar

Where there is no Truth….all knowledge remain as ignorance….thus false

The desire of ignorance is satisfied in the multitude.

The desire of Truth can only be satisfied in Singularity….

So we see in this world what is considered as Truth is that which the multitude, the crowd approves as such… Thus the false is considered True.

But That which is Truth will be first satisfied by the believer alone even if its him alone and requires no other confirmation to stand.

So as long as Truth is satisfied by the crowd, then they all stand in blissful ignorance….

skfinkel's avatar

I do not believe that ignorance is bliss. It is ignorance. Our quest for information is what we do as a species. We try to figure it all out.

marinelife's avatar

We have changed much since the earliest times. We have improved our treatment of others. We have made huge strides in science and medicine.

We just have to keep going.

I am judicious about what information I take in to prevent overload.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I think ignorance is only bliss for those with no will to improve. For the inquisitive, ignorance is the greatest torment. I think it is a mistake to see the vast increase in knowledge over the last century or so as a ‘plague’. There is nothing inherently wrong or bad about any sort of knowledge, but all knowledge can be applied in a way that achieves undesirable ends.

The problem with the ‘information age’ is not that we have more information, but that powerful information has fallen into the hands of those without the intelligence or morals (or both) to use it properly. Case in point, nuclear power has the potential to save the world from the massive air pollution from out energy industry, but it has also given some of the worst political leaders in the world the ability to annihilate each other, along with millions of innocent people. It is not the technology behind nuclear energy that is the problem, it is who now possesses that technology.

LostInParadise's avatar

The problem is not just information, but the control that it gives us. We have far greater control over nature than ever before. In industrialized countries nearly all plant land is agriculture or lawn. We produce enough CO2 to influence climate. We have replaced much of human and animal labor by machines, and in particular much clerical labor has been replaced by computers. Genetic engineering may allow us to control our own evolution. When I bother to think about all this, it seems a bit scary. It does make me wonder if there is something lost in knowing as much as we do.

wundayatta's avatar

You make an awful lot of assumptions in your question that I don’t agree with. Let’s just say that I don’t agree with the premise for your question. Therefore I can’t take it into account when I answer the question.

Ignorance is not necessarily bliss, and the search for knowledge is not necessarily a plague. This whole idea is a very Christian idea, as are most of the false dichotomies in your details.

I do not subscribe to the notion of objective reality, which is what is required to answer this question in the way you seem to want. There is no objective truth. Truth and, indeed, reality are notions that do not exist except in the minds of humans. Humans decide what is meaningful and what it means. Notions of a deity are just one more story that people tell themselves in order to create meaning.

For me, information is always useful. It helps me do a better job of getting what I want. Ignorance will kill me.

PhiNotPi's avatar

Ignorance is bliss because the people who are ignorant think that they are safe from problems, even though they are really not. Not knowing about the hole in the ozone layer may make us feel better about the environment, but the hole is still there and so are the consequences.

Humans are lazy. This is a fact of life, don’t try to deny it. Have you ever heard the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Humans, on the whole, will never try to fix the condition of something that they don’t know is broken. Even if they know something is broken, people will not fix it if they do not deem it “worth their effort.” If people did not know the consequences of an ozone hole, they would never try to fix it. Even though knowledgable people are more worried about things, they are safer because of it.

Obviously this same concept applies to many more things than just the ozone layer.

blueiiznh's avatar

Ignorance is ignorance.
We simply have easier acess to information than previous generations.
This is nothing new if you look at generation to generation changes in available information.
People 50 years ago marveled at how much more information they had than their counterparts of 100 years ago.
Granted the rapidity seems grand, it was for them also.
Think about inventions over time. Did people feel what you are stating after gutenberg invented the printing press? Doom to all the information at our fingertips!

Because there is information available to us does not mean it is 100% correct. The same research and validation needs to take place.

We are no better informed because we have scads of information. Also, we are no more ignorant because we have scads of information.

It is up to an individual person on how ignorant they want to be.

pookie1097's avatar

There are two ways to look at truth: from man’s point of view, where truth is relative to the individual, or God’s point of view, where truth is absolute and leaves no room for doubt or falsehood, duplicity, etc. Man, in his finite wisdom, has tried for ages to avoid God’s point of view by creating their own. All this has amounted to, as noted in the question, is more confusion, chaos, and questions than answers. On the other hand, if man was willing to take a back seat and let God’s perspective be the one that leads in the affairs of life, and man kept himself and his opinions out of it and quit trying to play God, then there would be no more wars, no more abuse of the environment, no more abuse to each other as human beings. But as long as man comtinues to play his ignorant games trying to one-up on God, he and society will continue to fail, miserably, and no amount of ignorance or man-made truth of any shade or variety, will save you.

wundayatta's avatar

@pookie1097 Do you a shred of evidence to support this contention? As far as I can tell, there are about as many different versions of “God’s” law as there are people who profess to know a God. So where’s your absolute truth? Does everyone have their own?

There’s chaos, confusion and questions whether you believe in God or not. There is no more certainty (except in your head) for believers than there is for non-believers. I don’t know what you mean when you say “trying to play God,” or trying to “one-up on God,” but I don’t see how there is a set of laws of any God so far invented that would eliminate war, environmental degradation and abuse.

I also don’t have a clue as to why you say society is failing. What are your criteria for determining success and failure of society? What is society, for that matter? Also, what is ignorance? And what is a “man-made” truth? Hell, what is truth?

Personally, I don’t understand the term, “truth.” The way I see it, there are theories about how the world works and either a lot of, some, or no evidence to support the theory. The idea of “God” is a hypothesis. One with absolutely no reproducible evidence to support it.

It’s not something I’d use to live my life with. Since there is no evidence, everyone is an expert. Everyone can claim that their idea of God and God’s word is the absolutely truthful version of God and what God “wants.” Your system is even worse than the one you decry. At least with relative “truth,” we can have evidence to support one understanding or another. With God, all knowledge is generated internally. Utter chaos!

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther