Ignorance is reality


Have you ever been thrilled by what you didn’t know?

I mean sincerely, truly, honestly happy because by not knowing: there was nothing you could do… there were no expectations of you… the net impact on your life was a whopping zero. Things like that.

Have you ever been thrilled by what you didn’t know?

We all understand the cliché… because of the stuff you don’t know, life is bliss.

But, is it?

I tend to say yes. But lately I’m wondering if it’s completely situational, and I’ve just been fortunate that more often than not ignorance has been bliss.

Examples? Ok…

You go on vacation for a week. While you’re gone, a family emergency occurs. By the time you get home, it’s all cleaned up. Nothing severe or life-threatening, where a call to you would have been expected. But rather water in the parents’ basement or a sibling’s broken-down car. And because you were away, no one pestered you to come over at 3am and carry buckets of water up the stairs… no one called you to pick them up at a repair shop on Monday while asking for rides to important events on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

My wife jokes around about mind chatter, which is actually nothing to joke around about. The basic concept can be described as having a million things swirling around in your head when you try to drift off at night. Instead of sleep arriving, you toss and turn and stare toward the ceiling and toss and stare and turn and toss. (One of my friends calls this “the monkeys pounding on the drums”… as in “couldn’t sleep last night, the monkeys were pounding on the drums”…I like that.) When does sleep arrive easily? Of course… when the to-do list is complete… when a hard day of work ended with a finished project… when no worries are on your mind… when you’re at peace.

Buckets of water. Monkeys pounding on drums. No phone calls and sleep at night is bliss.

And yet, the more things I learn of that I had no clue about, the more I’m wondering if I’m far more ignorant about what’s really going on than I ever knew.

How often do you check things around your house for wear and tear and other assorted issues?

Years ago, after a particularly fun snow is on the roof, rising and dropping temperatures, some strong winds few days, I walked into the downstairs bathroom and spotted a bit of water on the floor. Looking up, I saw water in the glass dome of the ceiling light.

I turned off the electricity to the room. I dried out what I could. Looked around and up and down and side to side. I waited a bit. Eventually, power back on. Never found the exact source of the water, never saw water there again.

I am convinced it was ice dams from the snow and melting and refreezing and wind. Convinced it was a fluke of circumstance that might never occur again. And since it never reappeared over many more years of our living there, and now we’ve moved, I’m not concerned about it. Issue resolved even though the problem was never definitively found.

The thing is, I think we all have a bit of ignorance desire swirling around inside of us. It’s the idea of not wanting to know how something was made. It’s the idea of not wanting to be inconvenienced. It’s the idea of there’s no problem to fix if I don’t know there’s a problem that needs fixing. It’s the idea of just wanting to get home, change to your pajamas, and sit in quiet with the television on and a package of good cookies on the end table.

I would argue we’re drawn to ignorance. It’s the natural state we prefer. Drawn to the appeal of it. Drawn to the ease of it. Drawn to the calm of it. And if that’s what we want…

Information matters. Action and motivation are the foundation of accomplishment. But simple and pure happiness? Perhaps we are better off not knowing.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com