When people are confronted with information which they’re not ready to accept, they will usually return to the phrase “ignorance is bliss”. Ignorance is not bliss; it is merely a dose of anaesthetic which wears off in time. Being ignorant does not mean being happy, ignorance is lack of knowledge.
Ignorance should never be a way of life for a fully grown human because knowledge always means power and ignorance never means bliss. For a child, however, ignorance of things they cannot accurately comprehend yet may be beneficial. I have always believed in Santa Claus until I caught my parents slipping presents into my Christmas socks. I was shell shocked when I witnessed that my parents were no Santa Claus and Santa Claus indeed did not exist. I cried. I cried because my parents were liars. I cried because Santa Claus was not real. Ignorant of that fact would have saved me from heartbreak but I have eventually learned to accept the reality of our world. We cannot be ignorant forever, at some point in the future; we will all learn to acquire the knowledge and the blessing of being knowledgeable.
Many times in life, people have been tempted to be ignorant. Being ignorant of things could give us a breather and as with all things in life, both knowledge and people come in differing degrees of strength. Sometimes, we just want to avoid and be less worry about issues we have in our lives. Childhood does have a kind of bliss, indeed. Children do not have the kinds of burdens that adults have-the burdens that come with responsibility and with awareness of the complexities of life and Ignorance has its place in life for awhile. As for parents, they may want to protect their children from knowledge which is too much for them to bear, too confusing for their minds to process. As we grow and become more independent, we must develop an adult mind of our own.
“Would it be beneficial or harmful to a person if they knew for certain the date of their death?” In this scenario, both camps of aphorisms will yell out that their aphorism saves the day. The knowledge camp will say that knowing the date of ones death will help one to live a more fulfilling life. The ignorance camp will state that such a scenario would cripple a person, and that in order to live a happy life, that person should be ignorant of their death-date. I say that both camps are true, but partial.
Many cancer patients know the date of their death, at least as proscribed by doctors, to within a few months. For some of these patients, the news is crippling, and they end up dying long before their deadline because they lose the will to live. Others see this deadline as a second chance, growing beyond their present condition, regardless of if they are to die. This scenario highlights the importance of development in fact giving: you have to be certain the person is ready to hear the information you are about to give them. This problem explores only one way the knowledge/ignorance dualism may be integrated.
In Will Durant’s The Story of Philosophy, the story tells the life of a wise Bramin. The Bramin is learned, wise, and wealthy but he is not content with his life. He has many questions left unanswered in his life. He is tormented by his imagination and wonders. He is upset for the time he has spent on learning because his knowledge brought more questions and discontentment in his life. He questions as to why knowledge did not bring him happiness but misery. He also knew that his neighbor, a poor and ignorant woman lives her life without any dissatisfaction. But he declares that if happiness were to be gained through ignorance, he does not look forward to being happy.
Smith, John Jacob Jingleheimer, and Cindy Lu. _Wu Xia and the Art of_
_Scooter Maintenance._ New York: Springer, 2003.
Smith, John Jacob Jingleheimer et. al. _Wu Xia and the Art of_
_Scooter Maintenance_. New York: Springer, 2003.