Ignorance, or lack of knowledge, is usually not viewed as a good thing. However, there may be certain situations where you are happier not knowing the truth. There is an expression to describe these situations: Ignorance is bliss.
Times When Ignorance Can Be Bliss
Here are some examples:
- A person who usually watches what she eats but who really loves a chocolate cake may not want to know that there are 800 calories in the cake she loves. Her lack of knowledge about the calories in the cake is an example of a time when ignorance is bliss.
- An example of ignorance is bliss is when a strict parent is unaware that his daughter is sneaking out after he goes to bed in order to date a boy that she isn't allowed to see.
- When a person is very happy in his relationship because he doesn't know that his girlfriend is cheating but is then devastated when he finds out the truth, this is an example of a time when ignorance was bliss.
- A child who believes in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and who would be very upset to find out that neither was real is an example of a child who would think that ignorance was bliss.
- When a financially responsible spouse is not aware of how much his wife is spending on shoes and purses, this is an example of ignorance is bliss.
- A parent who is very anti-alcohol who doesn't know that his or her child goes out and has a few drinks with friends is an example of a parent who might be happier not knowing the truth.
- A person who is not very smart or capable who doesn't realize his limitations might feel better about himself than if he knew that he was falling short of his peers.
- An actor or an author who decides to steer clear of all reviews in order to avoid potentially seeing bad ones is an example of someone who believes that ignorance is bliss.
- A person who doesn't watch the news and is not aware of a dangerous robbery that went on right next door to his house might feel happier not knowing that he was so close to becoming a crime victim.
- A mother who has cooked a special birthday dinner might be much happier not being aware that her son hates her cooking and ate two McDonald's cheeseburgers before coming over for dinner.
- A woman who is very afraid of bugs might prefer to be ignorant about the fact that there is a spider living deep underneath her bed.
- A child who hates cream cheese might prefer not knowing that there is cream cheese in his favorite cookies.
- A person who is obsessed with cleanliness and who is terrified of germs might prefer to be unaware that his friend's child vomited in his car after his friend had borrowed the vehicle.
- A person who is afraid of ghosts might prefer not to know that someone died in the house in which he is currently living.
These are all examples of situations where someone may be happier and better off not knowing something that would only cause upset. They are all examples of situations where ignorance is bliss.
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Examples of Ignorance Is Bliss
By YourDictionaryIgnorance, or lack of knowledge, is usually not viewed as a good thing. However, there may be certain situations where you are happier not knowing the truth. There is an expression to describe these situations: Ignorance is bliss.
Ours does, and not knowing about the law can result in a pretty heavy fine and points on your license. I shouldn't be ignorant of how my step-children are doing in school, I shouldn't be ignorant of the particular demands of my job, and I shouldn't be ignorant of what's going on in my town. If I don't pay some attention, who's to blame for my surprise when they start tearing down my neighborhood to build a new bypass or apartment complex?
Ignorance is the main force behind almost all prejudices and biases. Even the word "prejudice" implies "pre-judging," or judging beforehand, and we have to ask "before what?" The answer, of course, is before having all the knowledge necessary to judge accurately. And if you don't have that knowledge, you're ignorant, yet you're still judging. How can that ever be helpful or even honest?
Many people who face difficult financial situations do so because of ignorance -- ignorance of basic financial principles behind credit, ignorance of tax laws and procedures, and ignorance of concepts such as interest and investing. They find themselves struggling because they just didn't know that putting so much on credit would lead to such high monthly bills. They didn't realize that even paying the minimum monthly payment on credit doesn't lower the bill enough even to make a dent in the balance. They've believed the hype behind the "buy now" mentality, and they haven't made the effort to look behind that hype and find out the true story.
Many religions and cults and splinter groups from major religions like to encourage ignorance among their followers, for they fear that if their followers learn more about their tenets and beliefs, they'll not like what they see and back out. In this way, these groups build intolerance and prejudice among their followers, keeping these people trapped in a system of belief that's based upon not knowing any more than the leaders want them to know.
Many people like to use their ignorance as an excuse, and the words "I didn't know" are their favorite words of all. I had to work with someone like that once, and I found that I couldn't ever depend upon that person. No matter what she was told to do, she would claim "I didn't know you wanted me to do that" the next day when the job hadn't been done. It was one of the most frustrating professional experiences that I (and the other people involved) ever had. Teens like to use ignorance as an excuse for not doing their chores or certain tasks, and it's important that they learn quickly that ignorance is almost never a valid excuse in real life. In the work world, if you don't know something, you'd better find out -- that's what you're getting paid for.
How many stories have you read or movies have you seen in which the main character goes through the entire film not knowing something very important, and you watch as he or she comes closer and closer to breaking through his or her ignorance to find knowledge? Aren't you just waiting the entire time for that to happen, and don't you just know that things will be much better when the character learns? In The Lion King, for example, Simba almost throws away his life and his heritage based on ignorance -- he didn't know what truly happened to his father. Believing his uncle was easier than giving himself credit and finding out the truth of the situation.
How many times have you thought someone to be a jerk (or worse) because of the way that he or she talked to you or answered one of your questions, only to find out later that something bad had just happened to that person? Your ignorance caused you to judge harshly and sometimes to lose your own peace of mind, even though had you known the true situation, you probably would have reacted with compassion and caring. But getting upset is easier than thinking compassionately, until you get used to the latter.
Ignorance is the easy way out, and the easy way out is rarely the best. Fighting our own ignorance takes dedication, desire, and effort. We have to learn, we have to keep open minds, and we have to step back from pre-judging based on religion, race, nationality, skin piercings, tattoos, or any other physical characteristics that lead us to depend upon stereotypes to figure out what a person is like. Ignorance keeps us down, and it keeps us from getting ahead, and the only way to combat it is to search for the knowledge we need is any given situation. Sometimes, that's as easy to do as asking a few simple questions, but other times, it takes a great deal of effort. Either way, it's worth doing.
So don't always buy the first story or claim that you hear -- if you do, I can guarantee you that you're ignorant of an important side of the story that sounds much different than the one you've accepted. Don't accept first impressions, for they're based on ignorance of many other aspects of a person or place that you haven't yet seen. And please don't let prejudice ruin your life -- the more we learn in life, the more open our minds are, and the more compassionate we can be to our fellow human beings who, like us, are doing the best that they can with what they have.
Also, be wary of those people who offer information or opinions about which they know little or nothing. Almost everyone is willing to offer an opinion about major news stories or political policies, even if they know almost nothing about the topic. be quick to say "I don't know" if you know that you don't have the knowledge necessary to form a true opinion. Passing on gossip or hearsay is one of the most common -- and most highly visible -- forms of ignorance around.