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 Is ignorance truly bliss?

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komalram
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PostSubject: Is ignorance truly bliss?   Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:24 pm

It is a common phrase that I'm sure most have heard before. "Ignorance is bliss." But, what does this mean? Does this phrase make the implication that knowledge would cause something other than bliss, perhaps misery? Or, rather, is this phrase nothing more than an observation of the result of learning? Please explain your opinions. Thank you.
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PostSubject: Re: Is ignorance truly bliss?   Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:55 pm

I think that the phrase refers to how the ignorant might be unaware of certain problems or dilemmas that bother the intelligent. For example, someone who is ignorant enough not to have heard about the gulf oil spill might be called blissfully unaware of the environmental disaster. Of course, it's not accurate to say that ignorance is always bliss since ignorance can worsen a bad situation. What if this said ignoramus who didn't know about the oil spill one day ended up taking a swim in the gulf and was poisoned? So the so-called bliss that ignorance offers is only temporary, and it may even worsen the problems that the knowledgeable and the informed are aware of. So to make a point of these speculations, I would have to say that the phrase is mostly inaccurate.
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PostSubject: Re: Is ignorance truly bliss?   Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:27 pm

First, I would like to clarify that when talking about being ignorant, I am referring to being only ignorant of the bad stuff, meaning that although I might take my explanation to extremes, the individual would still completely be aware of the feeling of happiness and the events that would lead to this.

So basically, I consider the statement ignorance is bliss to be completely true, so long as you are FULLY AND COMPLETELY ignorant. However because you can only be ignorant of your problems to a certain point, ignorance does often backfire (well, now that I think of it, it backfires most of the time) and have the opposite effect. For example (Ira's example above): If a person was unaware of the oil they would be probably be a lot happier not having to think of all the dying sea life. However, because this could eventually end up getting them killed because they decided to go swimming one day, this does backfire in their general state of bliss, however, this is only because they aren't fully ignorant. Let me further clarify: When I say ignorant, I mean completely ignorant of EVERYTHING bad, in other words, the person, while swimming would still be unaware of the oil spill and all the dying life around them, they would be unaware of all the feelings that come with being poisoned from all this oil, and they would also be unaware of how the water is freezing cold and any other factors that could possibly make them any less happy, which would mean that they would still be blissfully ignorant. However, because humans really aren't capable of taking ignorance to the extremes I stated above, the statement of ignorance is bliss is more often to be seen as false. However, even though we don't take it to extremes, it is still possible to be true. For example: A very kind woman, who is self counscious of how she looks/dresses is going about her day normally and happily, but is wearing the ugliest shirt anyone has ever seen. Do you think it's better for her realize just how ugly it really is and become embarrassed and lowering her self esteme, or would you rather just allow her to continue going about her day happily, unaware of just how bad the shirt really is.
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PostSubject: Re: Is ignorance truly bliss?   Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:31 pm

@erin: About your example with the lady with the ugly shirt, can't bliss be restored? Suppose someone tells her that her shirt is horrible, she'll feel sad, but unless she's horribly sensitive to the point where she would kill herself (which is a possibility, though I don't think it's all that likely), wouldn't it be beneficial to her in the long run? And thus lead her to greater bliss? Because, I imagine, after someone told her shirt sucks, and once she moved on from the sadness, she'd appreciate knowing that it sucked and wouldn't wear it again, leading to a lack of sadness in the future.
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PostSubject: Re: Is ignorance truly bliss?   Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:03 am

@komal: honestly, that was only one example.... i suppose it might be better in the long run, but most people don't really look at things like that and honestly, unless the comment made her decide seek help in understanding fashion, someone telling her it was ugly probably wouldn't really help her all that much anyway because if her taste in clothing is really that bad, she'll probably have a bunch of other ugly shirts too and will only continue picking out other ugly shirts because she really doesn't understand what looks good... Honestly though, I only chose that example because at the time the other example I could think of was about a person getting brutally murdered and i really didn't think putting an example like that up would be that great of an idea cuz it would freak people out.... now that I think of it though, a better example of this would be like in that movie the House Bunny where the girl kept getting called stupid, only they used a bigger word for it that I forget what it was, so she didn't know what it meant and assumed they were actually saying something nice about her
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PostSubject: Re: Is ignorance truly bliss?   Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:25 pm

well, what about the concept of bliss being restored? For practical purposes, we're ignorant about some things because we know and are informed about others. We're always ignorant about something, so even when becoming informed about something, we're still ignorant overall, since a lot of times there are more things we don't know than we know. Could that feeling of bliss return?
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PostSubject: Re: Is ignorance truly bliss?   Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:25 pm

Ignorance is bliss beacuse you don't know better. Once you gain a knowledge of something, not only do you lose the "bliss" but, in some instances, your old memories become corrupted. The best example I can think of this is Santa. Once a child learns the truth, not only will Christmas lose some of the magic, but they will realize their parents have lied to them. So what I'm really trying to say is that ignorance is bliss but when it is lost, it is (in my opinion) worse than before.
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PostSubject: Re: Is ignorance truly bliss?   Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:42 pm

I always thought the phrase "ignorance is bliss" was supposed to be taken as "I choose to be ignorant of this/these/all matters, and so I won't let them bother/ distract me from the rest of my life." Being ignorant of everything, all the time, would be confusing and irritating i think, unless your like a comatose baby who never knew anything but bliss, which is so hypothetical it's kind of hard to fathom.
But ignorance is bliss, i thought, was like a a guy who once loved politics, but it made him miserable, all of this corruption and party division and the fact that change was like that glimmering mirage in the desert that wasn't ever there and never will be; it just dazes and taunts you.
He now finds himself refraining from watching the news, or reading the newspaper or talking to his politic-loving buddies. Instead he goes on long hikes, plays with his children, learns how to make apple pie with. He has some vague idea of the political turmoil that lays outside his door, and though he collides with it sometimes, he just pushes it out of his mind, focuses on the other parts of life.
That to me is the epitome of ignorace equalling bliss.
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PostSubject: Re: Is ignorance truly bliss?   Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:30 pm

Choosing to be ignorant feels cowardly to me. Like, for the sake of being happy, you choose to ignore everything. I could understand at times when you're not feeling so hot and need a break from it all, but then I don't think it would work because you still know something since you aren't feeling too great.

There is the fact that we're all going to be ignorant about something about something no matter what because there's always stuff out there. Could this ever lingering ignorance be why people can be happy at all?
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