Can Ignorance Ever Really Be Bliss?

Knowledge creates near pinpoint accuracy for progressive, harmonious, sustainable advancement of life. Copyright: Shutterstock

Knowledge is power the old adage goes.

But then again some other old adage declares quite the opposite which is, “ignorance is bliss.”

What then to do since clearly both adages cannot hold true at one and the same time, or as universally true adages.

Ask an Educator like I am and the cognitively sound choice is Knowledge is Power. Even the educator who considers education merely a profession, as opposed to a passion, would do well to think twice in regard of an ignorance is bliss declaration, at least not in writing or on social media. His or her job just might depend on it.

Illustration: Knowledge is Power

It is well documented historically that a General Aetius who defended Roman Emperor Valantinian from invasion of Attila the Hun in 453 AD subsequently was murdered by the same Emperor in 454 AD. In 455 AD righteous persons angered by the Emperor’s ingratitude and wickedness assassinated Valantinian. Knowledge take aways?

First, If you succeed as a second-in-command, the person you have made to look good may get insanely jealous and try to destroy you, so find a way to protect yourself just in case.

Second, if the success of your second-in-command makes you insanely jealous to the point of attempting to destroy that person, your destruction just as well is imminent and around the corner. So why repeat such futility in the present or future?

The illustration and embedded nuggets of knowledge show very clearly knowledge is power. Given knowledge always can help us avoid mistakes of the past, “ignorance is bliss” never can be regarded as a universally true adage.

So is Ignorance Ever Bliss?

Do not get me wrong, there may be contexts within which ignorance is bliss. Say you are in love with me, want to be with me, and are whole now, do tell me of the mountains you have climbed, how ungainly you were as a teenager so I better appreciate the beautiful swan you now have become; how difficult it was learning to play the cello, how your parents were the greatest parents on earth etc.; do not, however, tell me all of the romantic mess you have been through of which you now are whole — I do not want to know. I do not want to know not because I do not care about your journey, but within context of a romantic relationship you set us up to fail. You will wonder at times whether I am reacting to what you told me, I will wonder at times whether you are acting up stuff you said you had gotten over — the disclosure creates a worse romantic relationship, not a better one.

Why is “ignorance is bliss” not contrary to “knowledge is power” in the specific context outlined?

So then knowledge is power; what exactly, however, is power of knowledge other than avoidance of mistakes that have occurred in the past? From a forward looking perspective, as in knowledge created today or right now, what exactly is Power of Knowledge?

Is Knowledge Merely Earnings Power?

If knowledge only confers earnings power we all are nothing but extremely well educated paupers pretending to be knights saving damsels in distress or dames attempting to entice knights not caught up with damsels in distress. Great stuff for a movie, not so great for meaningful existence or coexistence because the stock of knowledge eventually withers and suffers excruciating death by hanging. How exactly does knowledge survive in a world within which neither of the nerd nor the philosopher finds meaningful love because neither has capacity for love games? Some nerds or philosophers are content with passion, but what passion is there in inability to arrive at some meaningful choice of significant other?

But then again, we still have yet to arrive at meaning of power domiciled in knowledge.

Power of Knowledge

All that stuff about out of body experiences? You have no need of any self help guru or meditation strategy; if you are seeking an out of body experience all you need is knowledge. Sometimes all people get from gurus or strategists are quick fixes not sustaining knowledge.

Look I enjoy me an “8 things to do to be successful” article as much as anyone else for two reasons: the possibility the writer may surprise me, or the reassurance to myself that much as I thought I already had it figured out. But the 8, 10, 30 things article is not true philosophizing, as such does not pass litmus test of knowledge that produces power. Only the person asymptotically close to actualizing those 8 things derives power from such an article, meaning the power already is in the reader as opposed to emanating from the article. True philosophizing integrates power of observation, the philosopher’s knowledge, and the philosopher’s participation in affairs of life for production of meaningful insights about life. If success in life consists of managing 30 habits, all successful people would be manic depressives and display multiple personality disorder. True philosophy boils management of life down to as few principles as possible — principles which regardless of paucity of specification have power to generate 100 habits that integrate with and are consistent with each other.

But the true philosopher cannot employ his or her powers of observation yet simultaneously sit as judge on what he or she observes.

The goal of a philosopher’s observation is not judgment, but distillation of knowledge, knowledge the observed can apply for their good. The philosopher seeks to empower not dethrone, dismember, discourage, or put down.

The capacity for dissociated observation that occurs within context of participation in society — out-of-body experience— is critical to creation of meaningful new knowledge in society. Given current knowledge is critical to attainment of the out of body experience, “Knowledge is Power.”

Entrance into power of knowledge is as easy as developing capacity to observe and help your spouse, child, parents, cousin, nephew, niece, or friend achieve insights that help them become better persons.

The power of knowledge lies within reach of us all. Are we willing to pay the price?

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Oghenovo Obrimah, PhD

Educator and Researcher, Believer in Spirituality, Life is serious business, but we all are pilgrims so I write about important stuff with empathy and ethos