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Ignorance is bliss? - Comments

Jessica Wise's Avatar Comment 1 by Jessica Wise

Oh, smart and miserable. Absolutely. ;-)

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 11:45:23 UTC | #859645

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 2 by AtheistEgbert

I would count myself as dumb and miserable!

Actually, I hold a realistic view of life, which is a bit of a bleak one, and that helps me come to terms with the bad luck train that generally comes along in my life. Also, it helps to laugh at your own misfortunes.

Life in reality is a struggle. Fear seems to be the dominant emotion that keeps us stupid and ignorant. The more wise you become, the more fearful you become of reality and other people.

And if life is about happiness--whether this is true or not--then we seriously seem to neglect thinking about what makes us happy. Avoiding pain by following the rules seems to be the main motivation for happiness, allowing ourselves to become addicted to our desires by being good consumers or addicts, hoarding our collections and investments.

Real happiness--well that is something to really think about. I don't think it's possible in our crazy society, because community and love have become 'owned' by the state or society and are no longer authentic.

People are not themselves but cliches and simple stereotypes and it is like living in a kind of hyperreality whenever trying to attempting to socialize or seek human contact.

I think the protestant image of romantic love and being rich still dominates the western mythology of happiness. Perhaps it's about time we (non-religious) created a new vision of happiness.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 11:54:19 UTC | #859646

Sample's Avatar Comment 3 by Sample

These questions are hellish. Begone! :-j


Wed, 10 Aug 2011 12:38:55 UTC | #859661

nancynancy's Avatar Comment 4 by nancynancy

I disagree. I know quite a few people who are both stupid (or uninformed) and unhappy. Sometimes people are miserable because they don't know how to prevent themselves from getting into a difficult situation. Knowledge can give people the power to avoid danger and potential misery.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 13:24:20 UTC | #859685

12PM's Avatar Comment 5 by 12PM

yeah? chimpanzees are happier than man, then!!! LOL!

Those who are smart enough to know and understand but not smart enough to let go suffer!!!

It's like smart enough to find very good chef and not smart enough to stop eating and so getting fat as a result. Our brains are filled with both great useful things and filthy, useless things.

Actually being smart is not enough. Self-restraint is also important. At the same time we need to do some exercise to shed some weight from our fatty memory but leave the useful and develop the muscles as the conscience and ability to think well.

If you're not smart enough to let go, then don't try to know everything that is useless - especially for your purpose of smart lifestyle - yet not making yourself a fool among intellectuals.

I cannot know everything happening on earth and I don't worry to know them all. And there are things I better not know (too much).

If a kid is only to know what to do good, and totally ignorant about stupid things, and life would be just that simple for that kid, then why should we teach that kid all stupid things too? That kid may be like being brainwashed and forced to be ignorant about the dark side of humanity. What's wrong with that?

Let that kid be happy by not knowing to do the bad things. But in reality, we cannot keep any kid that way anymore. That kid must go to school and learn both from the teachers and other students and share his too - and just gain a lot of weight and get a fatty brain filled with filthy memories and education from the surroundings.

But that kid will not be taught how to become HAPPY.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 13:49:18 UTC | #859696

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 6 by Red Dog

Interesting question. Just as an aside I think this ties in with the Sam Harris concept of Well Being. He seems to think Neuroscience will give us the answer to Well Being (or happiness) are, that one day we'll be able to hook you up to an eMeter and measure your happiness quantitatively. I'm not sure that is the case.

To me you have to distinguish between awareness and hapiness. Yes, its possible to be not very bright and yet be very superficially happy. But to me having a solid understanding of the world is essential to being really happy. Come to think of it it also reminds me of Socrates early dialogues. Where he talked about knowledge as essential to leading a "good" life. That's what it comes down to for me, there are more important things than simple happiness but I also think that you can't be really happy, you can't appreciate for example the joy of creating something, deep love for another person, the beauty of nature, music, and art, etc. without being intelligent.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 14:17:42 UTC | #859702

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 7 by Alan4discussion

It seems that most people who know tons and tons of stuff are miserable meanwhile, the ignorant are happy.

The clever can be made unhappy by being imposed upon and expected to pull a lot more than their fair weight, but the happy dummies are only happy until the next rip-off hits them. Perhaps the food which grows on supermarket shelves fails to appear because of some natural or commercial disaster they did not want to know about. Or their flow of money dries up! It is only in rich countries where the dumb are over-protected or rescued from their stupidity, that this appears to be so. - Out in the war-zones and refugee camps it is quite different.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 14:39:34 UTC | #859712

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 8 by SaganTheCat

I don't believe intelligence and levels of happiness automatically go together one way or the other unless there is some evidence to link this

from my own experience however, I find my more intelligent friends come accross as happier and more self confident. people I know who are less intelligent often strike me as unhappy. the inability to retionalise bad luck for example seems to expres itself as a "why me?" attitude. intelligent people seem to me to spend less time trying to convince others of their intelligence, les intelligent people i know seem to work extra hard at being heard and take offence very easily.

naturally I may be very biased. I may see my happy friends as intelligent and read it as my intelligent friends being happy. personally I'm no boffin (there i said it) but I do enjoy discovery and learning. even the bad stuff. i don't get depressed about things I can't help and i think it takes a bit of intelligence to learn pragmatism.

as i say, it's probably all bias on my part but I can't see that an animal that's evolved to use such a powerful brian would suffer depression any more than an elephant with a longer trunk gets depressed. depression is a mental illness that we can all suffer from but with my glancing bout I rationalised my way out of it and would do the same if ever i suffer again

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 14:54:59 UTC | #859718

ShinobiYaka's Avatar Comment 9 by ShinobiYaka

I suspect the author’s descent into stupidity was not a particularly challenging journey, I assume that his ideal level of intelligence would be just enough to enable reading but not enough to allow bullshit detection.

“Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.” – Thomas Paine


Wed, 10 Aug 2011 15:00:02 UTC | #859719

keyfeatures's Avatar Comment 10 by keyfeatures

Is knowing 'the truth' (putting aside arguments against Truth existing) always better?

Some human maxims would suggest not. As well as ignorance being bliss, curiosity killed the cat. We also tell white lies. Children are protected by adults from truth that is considered unsuitable for them to cope with. Superstitions and religion as well as filling in the gaps of knowledge protect people from truth. Con artists work because they tell people what they want to hear.

It seems that 'the truth' might be quite unpalatable for many. For example, a godless universe with no objective morality or free will, in which everything is determined might not be a reality most would like to embrace.

Humanism (and this website) suggests that reason and science can liberate us by giving us 'truth'. What if that is not the case? What if the future is already 'set in stone'? Indeed, this is what I suspect is 'the truth'.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 15:50:05 UTC | #859741

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 11 by crookedshoes

The main character of the book is convinced that the key to happiness lies in his becoming stupid. He tries alcoholism to crush his intellect; he goes to a suicide workshop.... All quite amusing....

Anyway, as for me, I like being marginally smart however there are topics and ideas that I steer clear of because they make me depressed. Sarah Palin is one of them. When she was running for office, I was angry and easily provoked then became sullen whenever she was mentioned.

Egbert, You are very smart. I have experienced your intellect firsthand and can tell you that your self diagnosis is a bit low.

12PM, you bring up a very important point; "letting go". A very hard thing for lots of us. I can never seem to shut off my brain. I especially have trouble sleeping when over stimulated.

Shinobi, What is enjoyable about the book is that it is written at a very high level of readability. The vocabulary and the phrases are clever. I'd recommend it to a friend.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 15:56:36 UTC | #859744

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 12 by Vorlund

Thinking and introspective peole are rarely blissfully happy, they have to cope with reality. To be truly deliriously happy 2 essential ingredients are needed.




This is why religious batshit fucktards are so happy clappy

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 15:57:10 UTC | #859745

keyfeatures's Avatar Comment 13 by keyfeatures

I disagree about smartness and unhappiness however. Firstly, surely you don't need to be 'smart' to be aware of child labour in trainer manufacturing. I'm thinking an IQ of about 60 could no doubt grasp such a fact. Secondly, why would such knowledge necessarily make a person unhappy. For, that to make you unhappy you would also have to feel empathy for those in that situation and for that empathy to outweigh the empathy you feel for those not suffering.

To show that ignorance is not necessarily bliss you only have to watch an episode of Jeremy Kyle. Or for our Stateside friends Jerry Springer. The cases on that don't seem particularly high in IQ or happiness.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 15:57:31 UTC | #859746

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 14 by ZenDruid

It's difficult to imagine the Faux Nooz audience as blissful... confusion and paranoia rule the ignorance over there.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 16:23:23 UTC | #859752

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 15 by crookedshoes

Vorlund, funny because it's true. Somehow, though, it is not funny at all, but very serious.

Zen, confusion and paranoia are motivators for sure, and your point is succinct. But what if the confusion is due to the "dumb" and the paranoia gives you "fun" little groups of people to align against? Cumulatively, can negative emotion generate positive feelings? What do you think?

keyfeatures, what a great point. Empathy does lie at the root of the "awareness" part of unhappiness..... Like buyers remorse or something. Guilt weighs in there, too. I could not agree more with your TV audience and their level of bliss. And, to piggyback on Zen's point about confusion and paranoia (two negative emotions) fueling a type of happiness; all sorts of negative things are going on in the psychology of Springer's audience and it seems to make them very very happy.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 17:05:23 UTC | #859767

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 16 by DocWebster

Unfortunately for most people the only time you are both ignorant and happy is literally the moment before you you become educated and unhappy.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 17:07:06 UTC | #859769

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 17 by crookedshoes

Doc, That is where the "letting go" that 12PM talks about becomes paramount.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 17:11:45 UTC | #859771

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 18 by crookedshoes

Also, the book is fiction and nihilistic and full of tongue in cheek "funny". It is not self help or professing to "know" anything at all. Purely for fun.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 17:13:40 UTC | #859772

Sample's Avatar Comment 19 by Sample

What do you call people who seemingly proceed through life much like wrecking balls; not caring in the slightest who they affect nor, for that matter, even pause to consider that there may be people being affected by their carnage? What. Is. With. That?

If I run a portion of my brain through a sausage grinder, will I arrive at that special state of being?


Wed, 10 Aug 2011 17:38:46 UTC | #859785

Drizzt Do'Urden's Avatar Comment 20 by Drizzt Do'Urden

I think happiness and intelligence are non overlapping magisteria.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 18:02:40 UTC | #859793

keyfeatures's Avatar Comment 21 by keyfeatures

Surely happiness and unhappiness are proximate states? There are times in life where we are unhappy and other when we may be happy. By the reasoning of the OP, this altered happiness level would necessitate altered IQ. That just doesn't make sense. Neurohormones are what makes us happy or unhappy. How these fire in the individual genotype would seem to be largely genetic (not logically connected to IQ) and environmental (e.g. ability to move up Maslow's hierarchy of needs).

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 18:29:33 UTC | #859803

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 22 by All About Meme

Comment 20 by Drizzt Do'Urden

I think happiness and intelligence are non overlapping magisteria.

Here. You can have the medal awarded to me by Ignorant Amos. Since joshco is currently away, I'll present you with his pièce de résistance:

You'll probably have to actually taste it before you know what it tastes like.

Well done with your Gould-ian quip!

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 18:30:05 UTC | #859804

keyfeatures's Avatar Comment 23 by keyfeatures

This study does not support the unhappiness / intelligence correlation hypothesis.

Out of interest, what evidence does the author of the How I became stupid book give for not being "stupid" in the first place?

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 18:34:30 UTC | #859807

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 24 by All About Meme

Which would you prefer --- smart and miserable or dumb and happy?

I'd actually prefer both, and to be able to switch back and forth between them at the touch of a neurological button.

It's those damned slow hangover time constants which make drugs and alcohol non-starters.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 18:36:40 UTC | #859810

legal9ball's Avatar Comment 25 by legal9ball

How smart do you have to be to know that you're stupid?

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 18:48:23 UTC | #859816

hypnoticbob's Avatar Comment 26 by hypnoticbob

Comment Removed by Author

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 19:37:35 UTC | #859827

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 27 by Alan4discussion

Comment 17 by crookedshoes

Doc, That is where the "letting go" that 12PM talks about becomes paramount.

I reckon to be reasonably bright and generally happy, particularly since I am semi-retired and any pressure is only short term and easily recognisable as such! If a potentially frustrating home based job I planned is held up, it can be done tomorrow or next week! (They do get done eventually) It's part of this "letting go" thing!

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 20:30:14 UTC | #859845

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 28 by crookedshoes

legal9ball, great point. The more you know, the more you know that you don't know anything....

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 21:29:33 UTC | #859860

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 29 by Alan4discussion

Comment 28 by crookedshoes

legal9ball, great point. The more you know, the more you know that you don't know anything....

A lot of argumentative trolls, full of their own "knowledge of the Bible", have failed to understand this in the name "Ignorant Amos". The results are often quite comical!

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 21:45:18 UTC | #859864

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 30 by Bipedal Primate

Sounds fair enough, actually. Let's all work towards the goal of the one world Ummah which will bring bliss to everyone.

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 22:30:41 UTC | #859873