Ignorance as a curse

When I hear the phrase, “Ignorance is bliss,” I don’t understand how someone can actually take the idea of not knowing something as a good thing.

First, lets define ignorance and bliss:

Ignorance – the state or fact of being ignorant; lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc. (1)

Bliss – supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment. (2)

So by definition, someone actually believes it’s ok to be happy to not know something? Keep in mind I’m not talking about something outside a person’s expertise; but rather not knowing just for the sake of not knowing. Example:

Person 1 – “I don’t care if Shakespeare wrote 30+ plays. That has nothing to do with my life goals!”

vs

Person 2 – “I’m not proficient in the writing category, but I know someone who can help you better than I can.”

Notice the difference? The first person is how the majority of the population are; they don’t care because it’s not something outside their interests/expertise, so end the topic by saying I don’t know just for the sake of I don’t know. The second person has a much better answer where they know where to look, which is something a lot more people would benefit from rather than just not knowing and moving on. Granted, not everyone will have a direction, route, or way of knowing where to find answers, but to just say “I don’t know” just to show lack of knowledge is unfair to you and the people asking/inquiring. Here’s a second example:

Person 1 – “I’m not reading any books when writing my story because I don’t want to copy someone else’s work!”

vs

Person 2 – I read a few books in X and Y genres so when I make my story(ies), I won’t run the risk of copyright and/or being compared to someone else’s work.

This is one example I’m actively hearing within the projects I’m a part of. One person absolutely refuses to study, and actually learn what’s already out there now so there’s no risk of potential legal battles later. Inspiration is one thing, but it’s another for copyright infringement(s) because you couldn’t take the extra time to verify someone else didn’t share the same ideas. I bring this point up because it’s avoidable by taking the time to research what has already been done before so you know how to alter/change your idea(s) so they’re your work, not copied work(s). Here’s a third example:

Person 1 – “I’m studying X, so Y is irrelevant to me. I don’t care to hear anything about Y at all, so just drop it!”

vs

Person 2 – “I’m studying X, however I need to find out how Y can related to X so I can plan ahead just in case. If there’s no relevance, at least I know ahead of time.”

This is another example I’m dealing with; people with certain talents refuse to learn how the other side works with their tools. This can be a hindrance because if a writer doesn’t know how an artist translates their writings, there’s going to be a lot of miscommunication, which leads to misrepresentation. A perfect example are comic books and video games. How can an artist read certain writer jargon if they don’t know what it means, and they won’t research and/or ask the people involved? Ends up being wasted time, resources, and added headache over something that could have been solved through a simple conversation. I’m not saying learn a new skill (unless you’re able to), but at least have an idea how that something works so everyone’s lives are easier, and everyone’s on the same page. Here’s one final example:

Person 1 – “I didn’t know X and/or Y are illegal here. YOLO!”

vs

Person 2 – “I was trying to find accurate information regarding what’s legal and illegal, however all I found were conflicting information. I even tried elsewhere but couldn’t find anything.”

This example is self-explanatory. One person is in another location, and instead of learning the law(s) regarding said location, they assume every place is the same. The second person took the time to try and look, and if there is an issue/situation, they can at least bring up they took the time to look however couldn’t find anything relevant. I bring this point up because I traveled between states, and before leaving I took the time to study the laws so I had an idea of what to expect. While I couldn’t find everything, I found enough to know how to stay out of trouble, and to be a safe driver.

The points of Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato (among others) perfected the art of not knowing; however their versions are completely different than how people are today. Socrates asked questions to get the correct answer out of people (mainly his students). It’s not so much as he didn’t know, he perfected the art of asking the right questions until someone provided the answer(s) needed. If there’s a problem, break the problem down to questions to understand the entire situation; not just parts of it. (3)

Aristotle wanted to learn; not to be the smartest, but to at least have an idea how everything connects to each other (the short version). (4)

Plato is considered to be the creator of Science and Math; since his teachings were more regarding being healthy in mind, soul, and fellow man are the ways of living the good life. (5) All three are connected in some form or fashion since Socrates was the teacher; Aristotle was the student of Socrates who became teacher, and Plato was the student of Aristotle. There’s more people involved; however these are the big 3 a lot of people would be familiar with when hearing names from the ancient civilization.

Today’s thought is this: instead of going through the usual “I don’t know answer,” use the time to answer with something like “I’ll research that,” or “I know someone who can help” (excluding Google), or “from what I’ve read/been told/remember…” You will be amazed on the art of actually having the idea, power, and mentality to know your own network, as well as your own knowledge. Again, it’s fine to not know something, but just “I don’t know” isn’t the answer for today; be creative in your response(s). Even a “Ask X” is much better than just “I don’t know.”

Today’s challenge to you is this: whatever question(s) you’re asked today, do not respond with “I don’t know,” but instead provide a creative answer. Your vocabulary, brain, and well-being will thank you later.

Remember: Ignorance is not bliss, it’s a curse. Know where to look, who to ask, and what to research. Just responding with “I don’t know,” only makes situations harder than they should be.

(1) https://www.dictionary.com/browse/ignorance

(2) https://www.dictionary.com/browse/bliss?s=t

(3) http://www.ancientgreece.com/s/People/Socrates/

(4) https://www.britannica.com/biography/Aristotle

(5) https://www.britannica.com/biography/Plato

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