“They say” that ignorance is bliss. But what about intelligence is bliss? According to Dr. O’Connor’s book Happy at Last, it may not be as easy for the smartest to feel the sunniest. Perhaps it’s because the higher the IQ, the more noticeable the painful truths of our world become. When you look at the world with rose tinted glasses instead of clear ones, you don’t always see the thorns in the garden.
That’s why it’s so much easier for children to experience sheer bliss; they often see only the joys of life because the reality of sadness is often hidden from them. And while it’s not only unrealistic, but also not wise, to live life with ignorance, we should still strive for happiness in our daily lives. We need to remember that even in our greatest storm, there is always a silver lining to every cloud. There is always hope and there is always something to be thankful for—something to be happy about.
If nothing else, let us be happy for our intelligence. And let us be happy for what that intelligence has brought us. While knowing the truth can come with great pain, it also enables us to take action against that pain. Yes, because of intelligence we are aware of the genocide in Darfur, the HIV/AIDS epidemic haunting millions of lives, and the need for a cure to cancer. We know all of this and it certainly doesn’t make us any happier. But can’t we be happy to know that we can try to do something about it? That instead of sitting complacently ignorant, we are aware. For it is only with this awareness and with this intelligence that we can begin to instigate progress.
And if we are ignorant, of which we are all guilty of to some extent, let us take our existing knowledge to learn as much as we possibly can. Let us make the most of every opportunity, to be constant information seekers, to look for the truth in all endeavors. It seems then that ignorance is misery and intelligence is happiness.
Sure, ignorance can be bliss, but that doesn’t necessarily mean true happiness. How can happiness be genuine when it’s blind? When we know all the facts, when we know the truth, and we can still find something to be thankful for, then we can be truly happy. If nothing else, let us be happy for our intelligence, for the chance to learn at an amazing university from talented professors and from each other. And let us be happy about how our intelligence will hopefully, ultimately, lead to the happiness of others. That with our education, our knowledge, and our motivation to help others, we can help others gain their own intelligence, and thus, their own happiness.
So ignorance is bliss? Hardly. Intelligence is sheer bliss.