Is ignorance really bliss?

Posted On: October 22, 2020

There is this prevailing belief that we are happier when we are not aware of the problems. That by being ignorant, we can be from worry “Ignorance is Bliss” is actually a popular expression used to describe this situation. However, the lack of knowledge or ignorance is only until we get to know the reality. Ignorance can never be bliss, rather it is the root cause of the misery in human beings. The reality remains the same whether we realize it or not.  

Knowing is bliss
girl sitting in bliss
Image by ThePixelman from Pixabay 

It’s easy to sit in the midst of multiple problems and still be content, but it’s when we seek the truth that we discover new worlds. To sum up, ignorance is pain, and knowledge can be euphoric.

Learning and expanding one’s knowledge is inevitable. New information will contradict existing beliefs which can be very painful. But, there will also be moments of intense satisfaction and happiness because reality will be unfolded

Most people think that they have above-average intelligence and know everything they need to know. We all tend to think we are pretty smart, don’t we? Well, if we’re so smart, why aren’t we happy? If we knew what we are doing, had we cracked the code of life… we wouldn’t be unhappy. 


Does intelligence equal happiness?
A girl smiling
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

Most of us think the answer to this is ‘Yes’. Employing the power of imagination, we come up with theories about why this is so. We summarize all our theories without ever questioning the basic premise.

To answer this question systematically, we need a precise definition of intelligence as well as of happiness:

The nature of human intelligence has always been a subject of human inquiry. There have been many theses and studies explaining the workings of the human brain and the breadth of human intelligence. In Newtonian science particularly, intelligence is about the brain, its performance, storage, and practical use. Being intelligent means being able to solve complex problems, having faster processing abilities.

Going beyond the materialism and objective reality, intelligence is a product of the imaginative power of the life-atom, conscious soul. Combined with analytical power, it is the main ingredient for human beings to be able to experience. The invincible soul, life-atom, is a fully evolved atom with never depleting energy. It experiences existence using the physical body and understands it using intelligence. This being the existential reality intelligence is the basic ingredient that helps a human being experience.

We also need a precise definition of happiness, blissfulness. There has been abundant research on happiness and yet we can’t distinguish between someone being in a self-reported “good mood” versus experiencing a deep feeling of contentment and satisfaction permanently.

Happiness isn’t a pursuit, or goal to be achieved it’s an essential ingredient of life. It is our default factory setting as human beings to be content. Naturally, we will find it difficult to function without contentment and happiness.

This feeling of happiness is not measurable and needs to be always present, for it’s the default state of mind. Happiness comes from doing meaningful things and having a sense of purpose in life. It comes from interacting with other human beings and nature to create beautiful experiences. It comes from having the answer to every why and how thrown by our imagination.

a crow sitting on the wood
Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay 

Some intelligent people are very happy. Some are not. Those who score above average on intelligence tests can also be unhappy in life. Happiness doesn’t depend on intelligence, but it surely depends on being resolved, being fearless, knowing reality as it is, and living accordingly.

The Path to Never-Ending Happiness

We function via our deeply held beliefs. When our beliefs are not in line with reality, a false and negative perception about life is formed. We experience sadness and suffering only due to false perception.

Unhappiness is a simple outcome when we fail to recognize the existential reality as it is. In reality, there is only order, harmony, and coexistence. Other than the human species, there is nothing in the universe that is unhappy.

an unhappy girl dragging a teddy bear
Image by lisa runnels from Pixabay 

Most of us share the false assumption that we know what we’re doing. We assume that our society, our culture has figured it all out. That what is being preached to us is correct and we imbibe it without any cross-questioning, without validating it.

All our thoughts and actions are the manifestations of our own beliefs. These beliefs were instilled in us when we were learning from culture and education. We hold onto those beliefs firmly and never bother to question them. Quite the opposite, we defend them as if we are enlightened about the nature of reality. Thus, those invalid beliefs are never updated. We have to learn, test, and update our understanding until it is aligned with existential reality.


Change Beliefs to Change Life
Change board
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

We want to defend our false beliefs of self even at the cost of being unhappy. We want to cling to our false story because we’re ‘smart’ and it hurts to admit we’ve been making mistakes. But until we’re fully open to the fact that we don’t have everything figured out, nothing will change. If we have a worldview and an identity that’s keeping us from being blissful, we must question it. 

Most of us suffer from this to some degree. We tell ourselves a story about the world that protects us from fully facing the circumstances of life. It will hurt, but questioning these narratives and finding counterexamples to them can help us open our eyes and we can start to change. This isn’t easy because of the power confirmation bias, but we have to try.

Maybe people aren’t out to get us and instead, we’re self-sabotaging by creating negative self-fulfilling prophecies. Maybe there are more opportunities for beautiful interactions out there. Maybe our happiness is on us and not other people.

When we question our narrative to death we can reach this point where we have an epiphany. We realize just how much we’ve been holding on to false narratives. Once we reach that step, we naturally question what is the reality of this life? What is our part, our role, and purpose in existence?

Image from Pixabay 

When we learn how to live, we continue to reverse engineer our beliefs and analyze the results we get. We become happy regardless of what the situation is. Happiness is our default state and all we need to do is simply remove our ignorance that has been blocking it.

Takeaway –

Current Belief – Ignorance is bliss!

In popular culture – An article by Learning Tools argues that intelligent people tend to be happier than their less intelligent counterparts.

As per the Philosophy of Coexistence, man is inquisitive by nature. Unless his inquisitiveness is satisfied, he will not be contented and so, can not be happy. Ignorance is bliss is an old saying and that can be meant to state that he has no unsolved questions. Having no questions can be termed as ignorance but that does not give the sense of achievement or purposeful existence which is crucial for being happy, for being in bliss.

Anand Damani Author at Medium

Serial Entrepreneur, Business Advisor, and Philosopher of Humanism

Writes about Human Behaviour, Universal Morality, Philosophy, Psychology, and Societal Issues.

Anand aims to help complete and spread the knowledge about Universal Human Values and facilitate their practice across sex, age, culture, religion, ethnicity, etc.

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