Human beings. They’re complex. We know this. Yet, there are few things I find more perplexing than the depth of the human mind. Do you ever stop to think that there are things the human mind, in all it’s complexity and glory, are incapable of comprehending?
I once read a book that really struck a cord with me, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan.
The gist of the book is that obviously science and pseudoscience are different, but if one takes it a step further, they’re one in the same. The narrative places a strong emphasis on the importance of skepticism, rationalism and logic, yet undermines their validity in the grand scheme of things.
Science is a process toward truth – a truth which has yet to be obtained. The emphasis is placed on questions that can be disproved, NOT necessarily on the proven. This leads me to think, can we really prove anything? Or are our thought systems and knowledge ultimately rooted in belief? What are these beliefs based on? What role does our stage, or level, of consciousness play in shaping these ideologies?
We are all ignorant to some degree. Truly, only a fool knows “everything”.
We live in an era where celebrities, drama, materialism, violence and hedonism (…well….. I don’t hate it) are glorified. We are bombarded with fallacies, greed, selfishness, negativity, subliminal messaging and toxicity on a daily basis. Many of us are so out of sync with reality, it’s almost comical, really.
So, should ignorance be demonized or celebrated?
Overall, do we live in a credulous society where the majority is incapable of critical thought? Why is this so?
Well, Sagan believes it is due to a lack of skepticism and methodical thinking. Who has the time to *gasp* weigh out the possibilities and thinking for themselves? Not those looking for ~validity~, the “answer”, the quick fix. In a society that breeds mediocrity, it requires A LOT less effort to blindly believe what we’re told to be true (Sagan places emphasis on popular pseudo-sciences and government, primarily).
Is having faith in the unknown a show of bravery of laziness?
One of the major rules in life, at least my life, is that you cannot help anyone who does not want to help themselves. But how can one help himself/herself if the issues are out of conscious awareness?
This is why knowledge
is celebrated and regarded as truth.
We need it, because it’s apparent, proven and helps us to discover/solve problems. Oddly enough, not everyone wants it. Knowledge, or truth, may sometimes feel like a huge blow to the stomach and change our minds, even our lives, completely.
Most people don’t like change, myself included.
Yet, knowledge itself is forever evolving (this is why Sagan believes science and pseudo-science are one in the same, facts change over time).
He claims science is a tool to “shed light on ignorance (the dark)”, which I totally agree. But at the same time, not all ignorance is “dark” or negative.
I have found that during times of intense stress or turmoil, I have a tendency to rely more heavily on belief, or even blind faith. Mysticism, paranormal, astrological and other pseudo-sciences tend to take center stage over logic and reason. I like them. They feel good.
I’m normally not even conscious of it, but it all makes sense once I look at myself objectively;
I crave escapism! I crave blindness to the overwhelming difficulties in my life! I crave the sense of contentment from being ignorant to reality.
“I’m blind to X,Y,Z, therefore there is no effect on me”.
Or what about those happy-go-lucky people that let things go over their head? The happy wife who is unaware of her husband cheating? The man who believes the government has his best interest in mind? The loyal employee who works his ass off under the false guise it’s getting him somewhere?
So in a sense the saying is true, “ignorance is bliss” – to a degree and based on perspective.
What about, self-induced ignorance?
Is this where the true meaning of, “stupidity”, is burried? Perhaps it’s teetering on the banks of, “self-destruction” or, “self-sabotage”, which are certainly my forté!
It doesn’t have to be that way. That’s the beauty of truth, facts, rationalism, science and logic; they help us to see things for what they are NOT. My ignorance does not have to exist.
Am I happier not knowing the truth? No, not really. It may feel like it, but it’s temporary, fleeting, and an escape. Truth can never be ignored. So essentially, ignorance IS and IS NOT bliss.
Whether ignorance is bliss or not, we can never answer the question empirically.
Even rationalism, logic and science cannot prove this as it’s SUBJECTIVE! Rooted in BELIEF!
The point I’m trying to make is WE KNOW NOTHING WITH CERTAINTY and that’s the beauty of life. Some things can’t be disputed, but we can acknowledge them for what they are and keep an open mind.