I have heard this phrase, “Ignorance is bliss” my entire life. Bliss is complete happiness, and ignorance is a lack of knowledge, understanding, or education. I read that it originated from a passage from by the eighteenth-century English poet Thomas Gray: “Where ignorance is bliss, / ‘Tis folly to be wise.” Is it really blissful to be ignorant? Is it foolish to be wise?
I know people that refuse to go to the doctor for check-ups because they fear that the tests might find something. Does not knowing that you have cancer, keep you from having it? Is it only true when someone sees it or diagnoses it? By time you know that you have an illness or disease, it might be too late to cure, so is it better to be ignorant or wise?
It is similar to the saying, “What you don’t know cannot hurt you,” but is that true? If people are talking about me behind my back, and I do not know it, doesn’t it still hurt? Couldn’t their words affect how others view me or believe about me? Could I lose a promotion or a new relationship over words said about me that I am not even aware of?
Knowing that someone is talking negatively about me or that my health is not optimal does hurt. Which is foolish though, ignorance or knowledge? I cannot do anything about things that I don’t know. Buddha said, “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” Where is truth in being completely happy due to lack of knowledge or understanding?
We can ignore and pretend all that we want to, yet the truth remains. Ignorance does not change it. Nothing can be changed until we face life with honesty, whatever that truth may be. Can I choose instead to be blissfully wise, even when the truth hurts?
All through my day, no matter where I go, or what I do, I am always looking for the good. I try to find the good in people, in the world, in my life or even just in my day.
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