Ignorance is Bliss


Me and my friend V sitting in a cafe, outraged by all the horrendous things still happening in the world: the meanness, the injustice, the suffering, after everything humans have lived through, after everything humans have learnt or should have learnt.

Pained by the war in Syria and the millions of displaced people. Angry about the power politics of ‘strongmen’ and the ignorance of their propagandised supporters. Fearful of the upsurge in right-wing, xenophobic, neo-authoritarian regimes. Bemoaning our ‘Big Brother’ surveillance state and predatory marketing.

Lamenting that environmental protection, species diversity and climate change remain secondary concerns in a world still dominated by the profit motive. Regretting that no matter how little plastic waste I produce–be it one chip packet or one disposable razor–times every person alive and every person yet to be born, times the next 100 years and the 100 years after that, we will bury this planet in rubbish. Tormented about animal rights, vegetarianism and organic farming.

Concerned about the fight for equality for minorities, LGBTQ and women. Distressed by poverty and homelessness. Vexed by rising incidents of racism and religious persecution. Uncertain about a future for our children, about education, about health, about work, about finding joy, finding meaning, finding love.

We agonise over ethics and morality, over honesty, integrity and optimism. We excoriate ourselves for not caring more, doing more. We constantly tell ourselves to be the bigger person, to be the change we want to see. It’s too much. We think too much. And it makes us sick with worry.

So I say:

Oh, to be one of the ignorant masses! Never having to worry about any of this useless intellectualising! How lucky they are! How happy we would be! Ignorance is bliss!

To which V replies:

Um, have you ever even looked at the ‘ignorant masses’? They’re the most miserable fucking people in the world!