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b) “There is nothing wrong with being ignorant as long as you are contented” Dicuss.
This discussion topic is one that is regulary debated by philosophers and people in general. Surely if we asked ourself the question – if we can live in peace and happiness why should it matter if we live in ignorance or not? Surely we would just be jepodising our happiness for the “real” truth? Then again some may argue that how can we know what happiness really is if we are actually living in ignorance, because that happiness we’re feeling wouldn’t actually be real.
Plato’s stand on this evident; he believes that by living in ignorance you are living far from the truth. As a philosopher Plato argues that you should always question the world that you live in, whether you are contented or not. His attitude was simple: how can you be content with something thats not possibly real? His famous teaching was the analogy of the cave. In this he taught others that there was once a cave, and in that cave lived a group of prisoners who had lived there all their lives. One day one of the prioners decided to break free and walk along the path of unknown, towards the sunlight. Plato continued this story of saying that the prisoner was finally “englightened” by the real truth, and then returned to tell his fellow prisoners of what he had learnt. This evidently shows us that Plato did in fact agree with breaking free of ignorance, as it is the whole meaning of the analogy of the cave.
Plato also believed that we as humans are ignorant, in the sense that we believe the real world is the Empirical world, and that no other worlds exist. Which Plato thought was complete and utter nonsense, because there is the world of forms: the Metaphyical world. If humans didn’t believe that the Metaphysical world was not the world where all perfect forms lie, then we are all in fact ignorant. Plato b melieved that we all need to open our minds to all the possibilties and not be blinded by our ignorance.
We also know, due to Plato’s theories, that in the question where it says, “there is nothing wrong with being ignorant…,” we know for a fact that Plato would disagree with this. Stating that there is nothing wrong with something, from the Empirical world, was absurd in his eyes, unless in was in the Metaphysical world where everything is in its perfect form.
However, some philosophers such as Aritotle (student of Plato), believed that the Empirical world was all that there was so therefore there is no ignorance to live in because the Empirical world is the world that exists. So in a way we can say that Aristotle would agree with this statment because his attitude is that we don’t live in ignorance we live in this world, and this world alone. However some may also say, Aristotle is still a philosopher, he still questions this world. So for example, if he did think that we were living in ignorance, would Aristotle say that we should be content with that or should we question what content was?
If we looked at another philosopher, Hereclitus, we can see how some of her ideas and theories may actually link to an idea that would agree with this statement. Heraclitus once said “reality is unstable”, surely if reality is unstable then ignorance must be bliss? Heraclitus also said that “you can never step in the same river twice”, teaching people that reality is ever-changing and is constantly in the process of change, therefore things go out of existance. Then surely, if Heraclitus is right, who would want to live in a reality that is unstable? Wouldn’t you just prefer to live in a more stable world even if it was in ignorance? At least then you knew where you stood with the world rather than exprecting the Empirical world to always change. Therefore, this shows us that there was a philosopher that disagreed with Plato’s words and that ignorance should be aceepted if you are content with a stable world.
Although in the film “The Matrix”, aired in 1999, it has a situation in the film which would apply to this statement. In the film the Morpheus tells the main characters Neo and Cypher that they have a decision to make. Do they take the blue pill which allows them to remain in the city where they live and live in blissful ignorance, or do they take the red pill, which would lead them to escape the city and to go into the “real” world, where they would embrace the sometimes painful truth of reality?
The characters choose the red pill. They risk their happy life to understand the real truth. However, we soon see that they start to regret their choice. They wish they had taken the blue pill, even if it was living in ignorance. So even though at first it shows the characters disagreeing with the statement and that all humans, when faced with the decision of knowing the truth, they accept. It turns out that ignorance won in the end. It shows that though humans do like to know the truth, the majority of us are content with our lives and would rather live day by day and see where it takes us, rather than constantly questioning what is content? What is living in ignorance?
Another example that we can discuss this statement on is: animals in captivity. Animals that are born in captivity are more likely to live longer than animals living in the wild. There a vets at the ready incase one of the animals get hurt and there are no fearful preditors about. The animals are completely safe. However, some argue that an animals natural habitat is the wild and that is where they should be living. Not in a confined cage. Many say that animals get stressed and its completely un fair for them to be living under the influence of humans. But surely, if the animal was born into capivity, they wouldn’t know any different?
No animal would know that their natural climate was maybe in the south of Africa (essentially the wild.) Really we’re saying should they be living in ignorance, where they are safe to bring up their young and can live a long, good life? Or.. are we saying that reality is better? Where animals could get hunted down before they even grow to be an adult? How are the animals supposed to know whether they’re living in ignorance or reality if they don’t know any different? Linking this back to the statement, for me i think in this certain situation living in ignorance would be better than living in the harsh realities of the unknown wilderness.
To conclude with, I believe that those who wish to live ignorance as long as they are content with it should do so. I can completely understand where they are coming from if they live a happy life. Why would you want to change that when reality may be bleak? Even though Plato said that we are blinded by this Empirical world and that we should widen our knowledge to venture into the Metaphysical world, the “real world”, my belief is that Plato took his theories a bit too far and that maybe he was questioning a bit too much and should just accept that this world is the only and real world there is. When we hit our head, it hurts. How can this not be the real world? I believe that an ignorant world does not exist, but a ignorant state of mind does. But as long people are content with that then why should it matter? We’re not living their lives so it has no influence on us.