“Ignorance is bliss” is a common expression, but is it really accurate? I don’t think so. I think it’s more accurate to say that intelligence is bliss.
When I’m ignorant about something, I might be in a state of temporary contentment, but I certainly wouldn’t call it bliss. What is ignorance anyway? Isn’t ignorance just denial in disguise? Whenever I appear to be ignorant and something supposedly takes me by surprise, I’m not really that surprised because on some level I expected it to happen. The apparent surprise is a wake-up call to stop living in denial.
Throughout most of my adult life, I set goals that were too small for me, even as some deeper part of me always knew I was selling myself short. If I remained ignorant, I never would have known the incredible bliss that can only be found on the other side of fear.
Ignorance is denial in disguise.
I think most people are actually quite intelligent, but fear and social conditioning turns their intelligence against itself. You have two basic options for your life. Option 1 is to use your intelligence to understand yourself, to understand reality, and to live the most intelligent way you can fathom. Option 2 is to settle for a false sense of self that’s below your potential, create a false reality, and invest all your energy in defending what you’ve created. My goal is to help people choose Option 1, just as I do the same myself. As I awaken to parts of my life that still follow Option 2, I do my best to convert them to Option 1.
We succumb to Option 2 when we surrender to our fears. When we imagine our fears as bigger than we are, we shrink from them, and we make ourselves ignorant to avoid facing that painful decision. But when we imagine ourselves as bigger than our fears, we empower ourselves to act in spite of fear, and we summon our intelligence to work with us rather than against us.
You’re an extremely powerful being. You cannot NOT be powerful. But your power must go somewhere, so it either feeds your desires, or it feeds your fears. When your power feeds your desires, you manifest bliss. When your power feeds your fears, you manifest suffering.
Ignorance is the result of feeding your power to your fears and then denying you’ve done so in order to avoid suffering. But that isn’t a true solution because the suffering will keep busting through denial’s illusions. This path leads to a downward spiral where you become more and more invested in defending your false position (one you don’t really love anyway), in order to avoid facing the truth you already know.
What is this truth? This truth is that you already know what you want, but you’re afraid you can’t have it. You also know that what you’re getting right now isn’t what you desire. So you pretend what you’ve got is acceptable in order to avoid the challenge of going after what you really want. You say to yourself and others, “I meant to do that,” but you don’t really mean it.
The truth is that you can have what you want, but in order to get it, you have to stop giving your power to your fears and start giving it to your desires. And what you really want most of all is to be in a state of bliss… not the “ignorance is bliss” version, but the real version where you’re blissful because you’ve made your life the way you want it to be. Your everyday existence causes you to bliss out because it’s so ridiculously good.
Intelligence leads to bliss.
I agree with those who say that bliss is our natural state of being. However, ignorance is not bliss; it is an obstacle to bliss. Uncovering denial and facing our fears is an intellectual process. Emotions are certainly involved, but I think the greatest breakthroughs happen when we mentally “get it” and understand something in a new light. Those a-ha moments move us in the direction of bliss.
Some people say that if you’re really smart, you can’t be happy. That’s silly. If you’re smart then you should be more capable of creating more happiness, not less. But just because you’re smart doesn’t mean you’ll be happy. You could just as easily apply your intelligence to the task of creating and defending a false reality. Many seemingly intelligent people do this, and they suffer for it. But their intelligence isn’t the cause of that suffering. Their suffering is caused by the decision to feed their power to their fears instead of their desires.
Intelligence can be a powerful positive asset when used wisely. You can actually use your intelligence to reason your way out of fear.
We don’t fear what we understand. We only fear what we don’t understand. If you understand something enough to perceive it as a real danger, you don’t fear it — you avoid it. Are you afraid of a hot stove? Hopefully not. But you’re smart enough to avoid touching it. When you understand something clearly, fear is unnecessary.
Intelligence can be used as an antidote to fear. If your life is full of fear, denial, and suffering, you don’t understand your life well enough not to be afraid. If you use your intelligence to increase your understanding, and if you fully accept the truths you discover along the way, you’ll gradually withdraw your power from your fears and begin feeding it to your desires.
The process of using your intelligence to better understand life, the universe, and everything is a process of fear reduction. The more you understand, the less you fear. When you free yourself of fear, you eliminate the need for ignorance and denial, and bliss is the natural result. Quite literally, the truth shall set you free.