“It is sometimes easier to be happy if you don’t know everything.” (Alexander McCall Smith)
That was the quote in today’s installment of the Jack’s Winning Words blog.
I’ll bet you know someone who is happy because they don’t know everything that’s going on around them. We sometimes call that being blissfully ignorant. In today’s technology driven world that could be someone who has no email or Facebook account and could care less. I sometimes long to join them, especially when I read some of the vitriolic posts on Facebook these days. I’ve had to “unfriend” several people on Facebook this year, when their posts, especially on politics, got out of hand.
There is another saying about knowing things that I would paraphrase, “Knowledge is power”. Some people try to use their access to knowledge on a specific subject as a power over those who don’t have that knowledge. For many years Realtors used their exclusive access to listing information as power to over would be buyers. If you wanted to know about a specific house that was for sale, you had to go to a Realtor to get that information. The Internet changed all of that. Now the real power that Realtor possess and use is their ability to help the buyers and sellers navigate through the transaction process.
One reason that blissfully ignorant people are so happy is that they don’t know what they don’t know. In addition, they could care less. We sometimes feel sorry for people with no computer skills and no access to the wonderful world of knowledge that we find there, but that is really just a self-centered feeling of superiority. “How sad for them”, we think, that they cannot enjoy all of the posts and Tweets and other electronic mumbo-jumbo that we revel in. How can one know what the weather is outside, if one cannot look at one’s phone to find out? Their reply is, “Go outside and see.” How quaint.
There is always a risk that being so disconnected and blissfully ignorant of events unfolding in the world could be dangerous. Bundled along with the trivial, meaningless or offensive content that one encounters on-line these days is also valuable information about things like the current Corona Virus pandemic and instructions on what steps to take to protect oneself. Fortunately, those who stay uber-connected usually can’t wait to find someone who is ignorant, so that they can show of how much more they know. Therefore, the word usually gets out.
Blissful ignorance is definitely different from the ignorance that is on display in Washington; especially that of Senator Rand Paul and our Tweeter-in-Chief about the recent Senate hearings on the guidance being given by health authorities for reopening the country. There is a difference between ignorance and malevolence that is often lost in Washington.
If you know or encounter someone who is blissfully ignorant, just leave them that way. It is not your duty in life to make them as miserably intelligent as you are by pointing out to them all of the things that you know that they should be worrying about. If it makes you happier, just add your concern about their ignorance to your list of things that you are worrying about. Alternatively, you could just forget about it yourself and be a little more blissfully ignorant.
Maybe we can change the Bobby McFerrin song to be, “Don’t know about it, Be happy.”