Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Ignorance is bliss?

  1. Dec 4, 2004 #1
    If we truly knew nothing -tabula rasa style - would we be happy?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2004 #2
    how could anyone be happy knowing nothing?i mean, yes you could say that they could be carefree etc but in reality, wouldnt you want to know the truth?
  4. Dec 4, 2004 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I think there really are people who are happy knowing nothing and there may even be a correlation between happiness and knowledge - the more you know, the more you have to worry about.
  5. Dec 4, 2004 #4
    I would disagree. It is human nature to search for truth. If we do not search for truth, we are going against our human nature, and thus, face consquences of not being happy.
  6. Dec 4, 2004 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    dekoi, I fear you are judging others by yourself. I know lots of people who have no interest in learning anything beyond gossip and sports results. If we were such a questing species as you imagine, how could aristocracy and tyranny ever have become established?
  7. Dec 4, 2004 #6
    Firstly, those people are only lying to themselves.

    Secondly, aristocracy and tyranny are only some of the results of the perverse methodologies by which humans find themselves trapped in. Quite simply, these things are produced because people feel that in some cases, going against their nature is easier than going along with it.

    As an example, let's look to homosexuality. Humans naturally strive for love, or unity. It is evident that opposite sexes are complimentary [in that each one provides what the other does not have]. When a male and a male decide to have a sexual relationships, and thus go against their nature, they face consequences. Therefore, to refer back to our situation: Those who are ignorant are going against their nature, and thus facing the consequence of not being truly happy.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2004
  8. Dec 5, 2004 #7
    No dekoi,those people are genuinely happy in there ignorance.

    The lower the IQ, the lower the desire to learn. The higher IQ the more you want to learn. The more you learn, the more miserable you are.

    Just look at all the miserable and insane geniuses out there:

    Van Gogh

    the list goes on....
  9. Dec 5, 2004 #8
    if you didn't know anything you wouldn't know about wanting to know the truth... you would be ignortant that there was a truth out there to know... Ignorance would be bliss... oh to believe in religon

    As IQ rises so does the percentage of the population that is athiest

    Smarter people question more
  10. Dec 5, 2004 #9
    thats not true if you are ignoranatn... a lot of people could careless about science or what is discovered all they care about science is what gadgets they can get, but they don't care how the gadget was made. A lot of people are content having fun... drinking smoking and trying to have sex.
  11. Dec 5, 2004 #10
    I sometimes think that sex (especially orgasm) and excessive drinking are nothing more than ways of losing ourselves, and in that sense of achieving a state of 'knowing nothing/caring about nothing'.
  12. Dec 5, 2004 #11
    What makes you think that the more you know, the more miserable you become? Perhaps that is true for some degree of high knowledge, but when one achieves true, elite knowledge, they are no longer miserable -- because now, they know about human virtue and nature.

    Still, no one has truly justified why my point regarding the search for truth being human nature is wrong.

    Humans who are ignorant are going against their nature. You all give examples of people who state that all they want is sex, or '"gadgets"; what makes you think they are not miserable? Just because they put on a happy face when you see them does not mean they are happy.

    Like i said, and i repeat myself for the sake of emphasizing the point, ignorance is easy, which is why so many are mislead by it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2004
  13. Dec 5, 2004 #12
    dont you naturally have a drive to want to learn more...and isnt that drive independant of ignorance of the truth? and no matter how much you dont want to learn, you're never truly ignorant of everything.
  14. Dec 5, 2004 #13
    I think you are looking at a community of special cases... our technology and knowledge is progressed by special cases. The majority of people don't care about the world, and in their ignorance comes the bliss of never knowing the worlds troubles.
  15. Dec 5, 2004 #14
    Perhaps in that sense, ignorance is "bliss". But we have to be careful of what we mean by "bliss". We of course can not give bliss equality with happiness.
  16. Dec 5, 2004 #15

    Some of the most happiest people are those who are simple people.

    They may not know, but they do understand.

  17. Dec 5, 2004 #16
    Exactly. But these happy people are usually those who have no access to such knowledge (as opposed to us).

    By 'understanding',they are still fulfilling their human nature. You don't have to know.
  18. Dec 5, 2004 #17


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    I don't think there is any causative correlation between happiness and knowledge. You can be happy and ignorant, happy and informed, miserable and ignorant, miserable and informed. They have little bearing on one another.
  19. Dec 6, 2004 #18
    If freedom brings happiness, and "the truth will set you free", and the truth is that you have recently been lobotomised... er, got a bit lost there.

    Try again: what if you found out that the truth is that life is a fantastic opportunity to learn, grow, and develop as a person? And what if you found out that life is a bowl of cherries, but you really prefer bananas? No, that's rubbish too. Dang I'm shootin' blanks today...
  20. Dec 6, 2004 #19


    User Avatar

    Happiness is knowledge

    When we say ignorant people can be happy and miserable, and that knowledgable people can be happy and miserable, this is true, but there is one factor people are missing.

    When we look at what happiness is, we will conclude it is the trandsendentals, (beauty (metaphysical beauty) justice, unity, goodness,and truth) Truth is knowledge and logic, hence a factor in happiness, so knowledge does bring happiness if it is true knowledge. (no person can be sad by learning. If they are they are not logical.)
  21. Dec 6, 2004 #20
    No. AiA answers the above in his post:
    He rightfully explains that knowledge (or rather, wisdom) is a part of happiness.

    I don't think many people really understand what happiness really is.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook