Ignorance is not Bliss

3 Mons Ago
Ignorance is not Bliss

By Biniam Getaneh

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to hear a speech in a familiar place that struck with me to this day. As an invited guest to an event, I was caught by a topic of discussion which resonates with practically all of us. The setting was a free talk language class of the difference between knowledge and faith with the thesis that both were necessary to fully experience and understand the world.

One of the speakers braved through his talk, arguing that ignorance is not a bliss, a clear departure from the agreed upon principle. Expounding further the speaker said he believed so because it leads to poor decisions, poor actions and even paves the way for terrible consequences that can have a negative impact on the quality and even the opportunity of life for many. Idiomatic phrases describing the blissful life of people who lack knowledge and realistic assessment of matters are popular in many cultures. Take for instance the common idiomatic phrase a fool lives in his paradise. Ethiopians are not unique in that there’s a popular adage in our culture that አለማወቅ ሀጢያት አይደለም literally meaning ignorance is a bliss. Now let’s put it this way. I guess you can at least understand what I'm driving at. When I was young I wanted to be happy (just like everybody else). And being in the state of happiness required less worries; naturally ignorance became an option for me to be careless about my surroundings which made the mind set of "Don't worry, be happy "extremely attractive to me. When this phrase is used it is usually meant to express the tranquillity enjoyed by deluded and uninformed individuals. Truly, unawareness of facts may spare us much anxiety and deludes us to a happy approval of situations that are inherently dangerous. By contrast, knowledge opens our eyes to many dilemmas of life and their resistance to reasonable solutions.

Yearning for a blissful life was my second nature so to say as I grew more and more insensitive to my surroundings. This early episode was my first step in the run up to holding the "Ignorance is Bliss" as a sacred belief. Fast-forward my current stage of life, I'm now a full person and man enough who constantly learns new knowledge; explore the unknown and be mindful about myself as well as my surroundings. I now no longer associate ignorance with bliss as it denies my opportunity to learn and expand my horizon to a greater extent.

But don't get me wrong here. As a matter of fact, I respectfully agree that there is some elements of truth in "ignorance is Bliss" mind-set. Ignorance is bliss is an expression that means it is better not to know a fact that one is happier not being informed about a particular thing. There are many circumstances where ignorance is bliss. For instance, not knowing the odds against accomplishing something may allow you to give a better performance. Not knowing about hurtful gossip keeps your self-esteem intact. Being ignorant of certain facts in certain situations allows one to make choices or perform better with a minimum of worry, anxiety or doubt. Of course, in many situations, remaining ignorant is dangerous or a detriment.

Be that as it may, we humans, very often do we want to show the best sides of ourselves without showing any of our vulnerability to others. We are afraid of asking questions (let alone asking the right questions) as this shows that vulnerability takes the better of us while we remain ignorant. Ultimately, we choose to remain in our comfort zone back to square one, only to realise that bliss doesn't always come from ignorance and vice versa.  Now I guess things are slowly taking shape here. So you see! The mind-set is a double -edged sword. Our results are determined by our actions while our actions are determined by our mind-set. Being in a state of ignorance deprives our chance of taking any actions that could ultimately produce the results that we have always wanted.

To put it another way, ignorance holds us back from what we want to achieve by reducing our beliefs. More dangerously, this realization doesn't come to us as long as we choose to remain comfortable until we see life as a journey of learning ,then only will we see its action in disguise.

So in a nutshell, although ignorance is bliss only from the standpoint of not knowing the odds against accomplishing something may allow us to give a better performance, in the long run, ignorance is only a liability. //


አስተያየትዎን እዚህ ያስፍሩ