Social Question

Spinel's avatar

Is ignorance bliss?

Asked by Spinel (3220points) February 12th, 2010

Stop. That’s right, stop. Curb your gut reaction and think for a moment.

I’m one of those people who would say it’s better to be informed for increased probability of making well made decisions in life. An ignorant person makes poor decisions that will come back to haunt due to lack of info, right? Then I thought of children…and a neighbor.

Generally, children are “ignorant” of the world, and yet they don’t worry or make foolish, life changing decisions. They get up, play, eat, go to school and do chores and then go to bed. They never worry about finances, family, society’s issues, natural disasters, foreign powers, or the possibility of an asteroid hitting the earth.

Then I think of a neighbor I knew when growing up. She was up in years and couldn’t tell ya what an mp3 or even a laptop was. She was oblivious to politics and the outside world. She lived self sufficiently on her own farm and died that way, as did the rest of her family. She was what you would call “ignorant” and yet she never seemed to suffer from that. Rather, she seemed to possess much more peace then the rest of the fast paced world. My pondering of her and children in general has led me to reconsider my opinion on ignorance.

So, what do you think? Is is better to be ignorant or informed? Which brings about more happiness in the long run? In symbolic terms, is it better to read the newspaper or not to?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

19 Answers

Drgrafenbergmd's avatar

Figuring out more about stem cells and curing my dad’s parkinsons would be really great. In some respects then, ignorance sucks.

ChaosCross's avatar

When someone is “Ignorant” to something, one would suggest they do not have to worry about whatever they are ignorant of. In otherwords, the less you know, the simpler you life is, and in many cases, a simple life is the absolute best kind.

So yes, ignorance is bliss

Master's avatar

Yes. The more aware you are the more prone you are to suffering. Like dolphins, turns out they are self-aware and could experience suffering much like humans.

njnyjobs's avatar

Let me say that children are not ignorant but rather innocent… who lack the mental capacity to understand the nature or acts of the world around them.

Ignorance is the state in which one lacks knowledge of a particular thing or chooses to subjectively ignore information about certain things. As far as the neighbor who didn’t care for mp3 or laptop, I would say that their simple contentment of their way of life does not make them want to know about things.

Since they are happy with what they’re doing or with what they have, they do not have a need to seek for reasons to make them happy.

SeventhSense's avatar

In the short term definitely. Unless we’re subject to repeated existences like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”, then maybe not so.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Ignorant about what, exactly? The news? Maybe you want to know if the tornado is coming, or where to go vote. Literacy? You have to know how to read, write and at least the basics up to algebra and simple plane geometry. As there are many kinds of intelligence, there are many types of ignorance as well.

I think about my family. Many of them are (or were) ignorant about their mental illnesses. They weren’t necessarily on a need-to-know basis about the news of the day, but damn, ignorance about their emotional health was (or is) destroying their lives.

Nullo's avatar

Depends on the kind of ignorance. Your neighbor seemed to do pretty well. But she was ignorant of where the world was going, not generally ignorant; general ignorance – the kind that children have – will get you killed.

I go back and forth between keeping up with world events and ignoring the news altogether, and I’ve noticed that I tend to be less stressed when I’m not keeping up.
There’s no sense in learning about more things to worry about that are beyond your control, is there? Will informing your neighbor that Iran is developing rockets and nuclear technology be constructive at all?

Berserker's avatar

Children are “ignorant” and don’t make foolish or intelligent decisions because generally, they don’t have to. There are exceptions of course, I don’t deny that, but for the sake of the topic at hand, their parents or other forms of authority are responsible for paying bills and getting jobs.

I think you said it yourself…being ignorant really isn’t a bliss because the world doesn’t care what you know or don’t know, and will bite you in the ass in the long run, based on foolish decisions, or the lack of any direction at all. How one deals with this is another matter altogether.

Your example of the farming lady I would say, in modern society at least, is rare enough, because rarely can one go through life in a state of oblivion and not meet the consequences later.
For that reason alone, I’d say it’s not a bliss, but I do agree that the less one knows, the happier one must be, but that’s also rather general. I’m not the smartest or most aware person at all, but when I don’t know or can’t imagine a possible outcome for something, I get extremely afraid and anxious, and perhaps on a similar or different level, your neighbor, while not caring about technology or whatnot, may have often been worried about potato bugs or garden destroying critters.

thriftymaid's avatar

Yes, sometimes.

susanc's avatar

She ran her own farm and lived off the results?
You think that’s ignorant?
You’re a fool.

Spinel's avatar

@susanc “couldn’t tell ya what an mp3 or even a laptop was…” I never said that I thought her lifestyle was one of ignorance. I never said living on a farm was ignorance. Merely, she never read a newspaper, nor did she keep on developments in the world, nor did she concern herself with the world outside the valley. That’s what I meant – ignorance of the outside.

wundayatta's avatar

Is it better to be ignorant or informed is a different question from whether ignorance is bliss.

It all depends on what you want out of life. If you want merely to have few troubles, then lack of awareness is just fine. If you want to survive and prosper, you can’t afford ignorance.

OpryLeigh's avatar

In a lot of cases I have experienced, ignorance has been bliss. Like children, people that are ignorant to certain things tend to be more carefree.

philosopher's avatar

I have know many ignorant people that suffer much less than me. I still am glad I am not like them.

SeventhSense's avatar

One has to define ignorance though, because true ignorance has to do with its root ignore. It’s knowledge or awareness that one chooses to ignore or not pay attention to and thus lands them in a state of ignorance. This will blindside you sooner or later or bite you in the ass when you least expect i:.
i.e.: “I’m supposed to come to a full stop at a stop sign officer?”
But innocence or blissful unawareness like the state of a child or someone who is mentally challenged is carefree not unlike them. They may be disturbed temporarily but it’s quickly forgotten.

Nullo's avatar

All this reminds me of the time that my grandmother explained that she was using the records that is, CDs, probably from AOL that she got in the mail to support flower pots.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

There are people lining up to take advantage of the “blissful”.

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes but they’re none the wiser and the “users” are plagued with guilt.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

The Wall St. people don’t seem too bothered by their profiting off people’s ignorance, but I understand where you’re coming from.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther