Knowledge is power, and ignorance is bliss. Does this mean that the powerful can’t be happy? It just very well may. Let's face the facts: The world isn’t all rainbows and unicorns.
Terrible acts are committed every minute of every day. Even our very own lives are laden with painful memories and awful situations. Thus, without knowledge, where would we be? Those with more information are almost always on top. Without information and knowledge, you can’t get ahead in life.
So what do you do? Do you choose sides? Do you try to find a balance between knowledge and happiness? Tradeoffs need to be made. Know what you’ll be trading off and you can make the right decision yourself.
Our capacity to understand, store and process knowledge on such a complex level is what differentiates us from the remainder of the animal kingdom.
Our brains are what make us superior; it’s an evolutionary adaption that we, as a species, have developed as a means not only to survive, but also to flourish.
We are born to think, to learn and to innovate. Choosing to remain ignorant goes against human nature. The only question that remains is whether or not more knowledge is better.
We all want things in life -- different things, but each of us has hopes and dreams, nonetheless. In order to get what we want, we have to act; we have to do something. In order to know which actions we should take, we must have information.
Without knowledge, we cannot make progress. Attaining said information isn’t easy, either, because it requires time and effort. Smaller goals will require less information and therefore, less time and effort. However, our largest life goals require a whole lot of experience and thus, a whole lot of time and knowledge.
Attaining information itself comes at a price. Unfortunately, life doesn’t allow us to choose what we witness, what information we take in, what life teaches us and the way the information affects us.
We experience everything we are privy to. No information is learned singularly, but rather, along with everything else our mind is taking in at the moment of experiencing. In the course of gaining experience, we are bound to come across knowledge that destroys our ignorance.
The more we live, the more we experience, the more we learn, the more knowledge we attain and the more we change as a result. It’s a process that can’t be stopped, only slowed. But should we slow it? Do we really even want to slow it, or is our fear holding us back?
Fearing knowledge sounds silly, but we all feel it from time to time. There are questions we don’t all want to know the answers to. How does it feel to have your leg blown off? How does it feel to kill a man? Does my girlfriend really love me? Is my husband cheating on me?
We are all curious to know how such things feel; it’s only human. But because we know these things are almost always associated with pain, we would prefer not to find out -- even if, in some cases, we may be better off knowing.
What we fear is being worse off for having the information than before, when ignorance blinded us from the truth. Some things we know we will be worse off knowing, like what it means to lose a limb or a loved one, for example.
Others, we simply fear that we are going to be worse off knowing. We fear that by knowing, we will lose something, a loss aversion of sorts, even if what we are losing is the blissfulness that is often associated with ignorance.
Not knowing information that causes us pain and leaves us worse off is obviously more pleasant than knowing that information. So, do you remain ignorant of all things that can cause you pain? I wouldn’t recommend it.
It’s most often what hurts us in life that teaches us the most profound lessons. By remaining ignorant, you aren’t experiencing all that life has to offer. Sure, it’s not always pretty, but it’s reality. This is the world you live in, the world you are a part of.
However, what matters more than knowledge itself is what knowledge you choose to focus on and expand upon. We may not have complete control over what experiences come our way while we journey through life, but we do get to choose which roads we take.
That’s what makes all the real difference. You have to choose for yourself what you learn and what you ignore. As far as I go, I’ll take whatever I have to in order to get to where I want to be.
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