June 8, 2012

Ignorance Is Doom

A popular Beatles tune says that 'living is easy with your eyes closed'. They knew that not knowing something is often more comfortable than becoming aware of it. But any time we pick ignorance over knowledge, it feels like something is missing.

In the same song the Beatles say that ignorance leads to the 'misunderstanding of all you see'. Banishing ignorance may often be painful work, but it always leads to understanding, and better things.

Maybe not for Calvin, though.

Calvin and Hobbes on Ignorance
Calvin: It's true, Hobbes, ignorance IS bliss. Once you know things, you start seeing problems everywhere. And once you see problems, you feel like you ought to try to fix them. Fixing problems always seems to require personal change, and change means doing things that aren't fun! I say phooey to that!

But if you are willfully stupid, you don't know any better, so you can keep doing whatever you like.

The secret to happiness is short-term, stupid self-interest.

Hobbes: We're headed for that cliff!

Calvin: I don't want to know about it.

Both, falling off cliff and through the air: Waaugghhh! Splat!

Hobbes laying crumpled on ground: I'm not sure I can stand so much bliss.

Calvin laying close by: Careful, we don't want to learn anything from this...
We can't continue to do whatever we like, and remain ignorant of  the larger consequences of our actions. If we do, we are doomed and will go over the cliff.

Acquiring knowledge and fostering personal change can be deeply rewarding, and may be the only thing that can save us.

Besides, if ignorance is bliss, how come there aren't more happy people?

Let's banish ignorance in our own lives, and not tolerate it in the lives of others.


  1. I suffered social phobia in the past. I remember the 1st session I had with my therapist she said that it wasn't about overcoming fear. If I overcame fear I would end up dying in no time at all as I wouldn't see the obvious dangers to such things as falling over a cliff. She explained I needed to find the balance so i wasn't consumed by fear but still able to make good informed decisions.

    1. These can be scary times - we must be courageous. Our fear should keep us safe, but not prevent us from moving forward.


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