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

Purposeful v. Blissful

  1. Sep 16, 2003 #1
    Ok, is it better to live a purposefull life, filled with knowledge and depth, even if the constant pursuit of knowledge, or the knowledge its self is painful? or to remain ignorant and blissfull, not stupid, just without studying anything to deep and living a purposeless yet happy life?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2003 #2
    I would choose to live a purposeful life. I can't imagine going through life in a daze. I've met plenty of people who do, and I don't envy them in the least. However I can't imagine someone leading a completely blissful life free from ANY worry. To do so you would have to be borderline mentally retarded (not a slur, an actual fact). If I had to live my life like that, I don't think I could bear it. But then once you've had steak, rump roast just won't cut it:wink:

    There is a way to trade away your intelligence and purpose in return for complete bliss and ignorance. It's called drugs. Except just like everything else in the world, nothing lasts forever. And eventually the happiness goes away. There are too many realities to face in the world to never be unhappy. That's a utopia that can't be found. Human beings must have a purpose. It's innate, and to cast it aside is to take away that which is fundamentally human. So to be eternally happy we must become less human. Does that sound desirable? Not to me.
  4. Sep 17, 2003 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Drug use in itself does not necessarily constitute a loss of intelligence or purpose, nor a return of bliss or ignorance. Aldous Huxley experimented with mescalin and wrote about his experience in The Doors of Perception. He was none the less intelligent for his drug use, although he did go to great lengths to describe not only the bliss he experienced, but also how things that seemed utterly trivial and undeserving of attention to him during his everyday life now exploded with an ineffibly profound meaning and purpose. He was also a far less ignorant man after his experience, given his newfound insights into drug use, consciousness, aesthetics, and spirituality.

    Perhaps your statement is more valid if by "drugs," you mean abusive long term use of cocaine, or somesuch. But the right drugs used in the right way and in the proper context can be infinitely more enlightening than they are damaging, providing a profound degree of bliss and purpose while simultaneously dispelling ignorance.

    I think the initial question posed in this thread is a little misleading. For instance, I would rather live a life where I find a 'soulmate' whom I could love deeply and happily live with for the duration of my life than be a lonely miserable phsyicist who formulates a groundbreaking new theory. But such a love-filled life would be so blissful that it would in a sense generate its own purpose. So the question becomes, when is a life defined by bliss not purposeful? I don't think this is at all an arbitrary question, so the initial question becomes much more complex.
  5. Sep 17, 2003 #4
    Gale17, the truth of the matter is summed up in "to each his own". You see, it is not for us to choose which kind of life we live.

    IOW, a person who is blissfully ignorant doesn't not know that he is so (if he chose it, he'd be blissfully stupid, and not really so, since he chose it thus making it his "purpose" (to borrow your term)), and thus cannot reason on how it would be to be otherwise.

    Zantra expressed the common emotion: I couldn't stand to be ignorant. However, you wouldn't know it if you were, and so yes, you could stand it.
  6. Sep 18, 2003 #5
    BLISS is being smart enought to know, you know nothing..
    and the warm fuzzy feelings we sometime have,from everything else.
  7. Sep 18, 2003 #6
    But, again, if you're smart enough to choose ignorance, then that is your purpose. You are then no longer ignorant, merely stupid (in the literal sense of the word, not as an insult).

    Anyway, as far as the old saying that true knowledge is acknowledging that you know nothing. That statement is full of logical fallisies, and even the message that it gets across is unpractical, and can lead to very pointless life-styles.
  8. Sep 19, 2003 #7
    If one really had true knowledge.one could not say the above.
    however I do not have true knowledge.I "somewhat" trust my senses to get
    me through daily life. The only way I learn is through my senses,I well understand that, I DO NOT! have the senses needed to have true knowledge,nor will I ever have such senses,nor will you or any other human.
    curiosity and desire push me to "seek" true knowledge\understanding.knowing I may never find it does not make the "effort" pointless,it just feeds a need,and keeps me from bordom.
  9. Sep 19, 2003 #8
    So the question becomes, when is a life defined by bliss not purposeful? I don't think this is at all an arbitrary question, so the initial question becomes much more complex. [/B][/QUOTE]

    Bliss is fleeting. life itself offers us a chance to have a purposeful existence, depending on ones desire\will and need for it. The powers that be(whatever they are) gave me this reality of life,of being here now! I do not want to waste my reality.I'll take the bliss that comes to me.I'll feel the feeling,always knowing that 'I' at least, made an effort to have a purposeful life.
  10. Sep 19, 2003 #9
    Hold on a second. How is it that you can attempt to correctly define true knowledge, unless you have some true knowledge? You yourself claim to not have true knowledge (whatever you think "true knowledge" is), but then you go on to explain what it is and that it is not found through our senses (what is it recieved by?).

    IOW, why should I listen to your explanations on what true knowledge is, if you - right off the bat - claim that don't have it?
  11. Sep 19, 2003 #10
  12. Sep 20, 2003 #11
    Are any of these things really related? I mean does one have to trade knowledge for happiness, or trade purposefulness for bliss, or be truly ignorant to really be happy? I don't see a clear correlation firstly, but if I had to choose I would favor bliss and ignorance but I don't think this is truly related, it doesn't make any sense, how can not knowing about a danger ahead make it less troubling when it happens? Wouldn't knowledge of the danger to come and avoidance be better? Why do they really say "ignorance is bliss"?
  13. Sep 21, 2003 #12
    because it would seem, there is a fine line between genius and madness.
    one can choose not,to try and answer the unanserable,and not run the risk of finding ones self in a paded cell.
    perhaps a balance or middle ground is better.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2003
  14. Sep 21, 2003 #13
    I find this interesting. How could it be infinite and still unatainable for someone? After all, no matter how much of it is limited to those with "special" senses, there is still an infinite amount "up for the grabbing".

    IOW, how can you limit something infinite to being attainable only to certain people.

    But how can you know this if the nature of "true" knowledge is unknowable to us people?

    Really the reason you cannot limit "true" knowledge is because, in limiting it, you make it no longer infinite. This is reminiscent of the "Limitlessness Paradox" of Wuliheron (a really good member here on the PFs, who's been here longer than I have I think), but I think I will leave it to him to explain that.

    Oh absolutely, and I didn't mean to stifle your creativity or your free expression, I was merely pointing to a flaw that I believe exists in limiting what you would call limitless.
  15. Sep 25, 2003 #14
    yes this is so,in human form. people will never have infinite senses.
    even if we did have them.im not so sure that it would lead to infinite knowledge,due to constant change,perhaps the system would need to be infinite in size to keep up.

    again I can not see how any people,human mind, can hold infinity.

    when I try to define it,this is always what it is (to me);;Its everything I want to know, but do not know.
    the only limit is my desire to know.

    Where can I find something on the limitlessness paradox of wuliheron?

    Im really interested in information, what is it,what it really means
    and most of all what size systems, large or small can hold information.

    Information it seems MAY be written on a region of space or a quantity of matter.It MAY be as simple as 1 010101010101010....
  16. Sep 26, 2003 #15
    I have some theories on life that I hate, yet I carry them with me becuase I can not disprove them. I live with them, but I'm always on the lookout for the intelligent person who might debunk what I'm thinking.
  17. Sep 26, 2003 #16
    well, not that i mind anything you all have said, but i'd just like to steer the thread a different direction.

    i think jammieg's reply was the best one i read. i guess, that's sort of how i've been thinking, or at least those are some of the thoughts i've had.

    The correlation exists in my life at least, or so it usually seems. Bliss to me i suppose is usually what's easy and simple and keeps me content. When i learn too much, or i think about things i've learned to much, life gets more difficult, and things aren't easy, and i'm no longer content with what i had. People call this process growing up i guess; accepting hardships and reality. But i think it sucks. It makes me feel bad, or at least, no so good. Worst yet, is that for some reason, though i hate feeling depressed and discontent, i have a passion for knowledge, and so i keep trying to learn more, and thus keep altering my life and thus i can never remain happy or "blissful."

    I think they say ignorance is bliss because when you don't 'know' you don't have to worry about things. It makes life simple, free of complications. i think that there's a lot of truth to that saying, but that's just how i feel.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2003
  18. Sep 26, 2003 #17
    Ignorance is bliss for those who are thinking in short term happiness and would rather focus on being happy now then to worry on what could happen in the future.
  19. Sep 27, 2003 #18
    Well, of course, you're right that people who are truly ignorant remain joyful. However, the fact remains that no one can choose true ignorance. Thus, while ignorance may be bliss, I hope it's not the only kind of bliss, because you can't choose ignorance.
  20. Sep 30, 2003 #19
    I agree that much of growing up sucks, you have to do what you think is right. Sometimes I think that adults are just children who still play games but take themselves too seriously and some play games they shouldn't. One of the things that I like to do is trick myself into pretending that my job is glorious, since I had to do it anyway I might as well make the best of it and you know what it was really fun most of the time while I did it. It seems that most things are what ever you make of them, and some people don't like it when others are having fun and so they say things like children do to bring them down.
    I think a big part of being happy and not worrying is not getting too caught up in all that nonsense.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2003
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook