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Thread: Is It Better To Be Happy But Ignorant Or Miserable But All-Knowing?

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    Default Is It Better To Be Happy But Ignorant Or Miserable But All-Knowing?

    Alright! Time to ask my favorite question ever!

    I always love hearing people's opinions and perspective on this questions because I view it as a double bind at times. At times in my life, I have changed my preference at times depending on the circumstances and how I viewed life at the time.

    So, what would you choose?

    Bonus question: Do we have the choice to choose?

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    Miserable and all-knowing. Because if you are happy but ignorant- any real experience is probably going to crush your dreams anyway.

    It's better to go through life being sad and cynical and jaded and be pleasantly surprised when you do have a good time- then expecting something to be good and it ends up being shit.

    I have that same kind of issue. Naturally I'm a fun loving person. but if I think something is going to be fun- it's often not all that good. "I think this will be the next thing that exalts me" but it never really does. But then I can find myself enjoying something I never thought I would like.

    In the real world when you're making a decision for yourself, I think it's much better to ask 'what am I going to dislike the least' rather than 'what I'm going to like the most.' Cuz Happiness is naturally fleeting anyway I think, to a large degree.

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    I would say I'd prefer to be happy and ignorant. Sometimes I look back at the times in my life where I would fantasize about things I've never experienced, and it seemed so great. From what I would watch in movies, read in books and my own imagination. Then reality came when I actually experienced those things and they were all trash. Nothing like I thought they'd be like. I'm still not all-knowing but I'm already miserable.

    But then, how long would being happy and ignorant fulfill me? I'd eventually want to know, and experience things.

    I don't think we have the choice to choose, because unless you enclose yourself into a bubble, reality will come and crash your hopes and dreams. But then, as BandID mentioned, you might discover something that you never thought you'd enjoy. A whole new world has opened up. You also can't really know true happiness when you've never been without it.

    Ultimately, I'd have to go with miserable and all-knowing.
    Chronic "grass is always greener" syndrome




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    To anyone with a comprehensive vision of the world, the life of a person with a narrow vision seems insignificant. That's what I think at least.

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    My views on this have changed as I’ve gotten older. When I was younger, I would have said miserable and all knowing.

    Being miserable doesn’t solve the world’s problems. It just discourages you into inaction. I wonder if there’s a middle path you can take here of remaining hopeful that change is possible.

    My answer might be a cop out lol, idk.

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    BandD's Avatar
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    Yeah Miserable but Ignorant gets me thinking- you give the choice like in this balanced way- like both options have a pro and con- but the reason the world is so fucked up I think is the very few people who are All-Knowing and Happy like to troll and rule over the many who are Miserable and Ignorant. Them being All Knowing and Happy is very dependent on the majority of the population being Miserable and Ignorant, because they obviously need slaves and laborers to mend to their narcissism.

    When you are Miserable and Ignorant- you probably often delude yourself that you are 'All-Knowing' but you're not- you're just sad. You try to convince yourself that you being miserable has the positive effect that you're just smarter than everybody else- but it's just this sad thing your ego is doing. I've met quite a few "Unhealthy" ILIs who were this way sadly.

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    happy > all-knowing

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    I always find this a fun question as I already have some new perspectives I haven't considered. I'm going to throw my view into the ring.

    When I was younger, I would prefer to he happy but ignorant. My reasoning that the world was crappy and I'm already an over thinker and the cost of happiness over some ignorance was a worth enough price to pay for me at the time. I hate feeling anguish , sad, and miserable about the world. I want to be optimistic and know that there is genuine good. Just, not having to question or think would have been a relief.

    The last year or two my perspective changed and I preferred to be miserable but all knowing. I had a lot of life changing experiences and perspectives and I was a bit horrified to find out I was really living in an ignorant bubble with some things. It's always painful with getting the reality of life and you can never go back to that safe little happy bubble ever again. I don't know if it happy and ignorant was/is worth the price.

    Now I'm just at a crossroads. You can't ignore the reality and knowledge of life but, I don't want to go through life jaded and miserable because that is not the way to live life. You can't really choose either as we will never know everything and experience everything. We can't always be knowledge and we may be even living in happy ignorance and may not even realize it. I think the most painful thing is crossing that threshold between the two. Your dammed if you do and dammed if you don't.

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    I would rather be blissfully ignorant. If I knew or realized less, I think I would be happier. And I do think itís possible to keep yourself ignorant. Itís called denial and Iím extremely skillful at it. The only thing is, if you do know something in the back of your mind, and you just keep sweeping shit under the rug, itís going to crawl right out of it in the shape of a monster and take one big chunk out of your ass. And Iím talking from experience lol. Things that you willful ignore or try to put a pleasant spin on seem to always catch up with you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissDucki View Post
    Your dammed if you do and dammed if you don't.
    So true

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    Okay, but if you knew everything, I don't think that would necessarily make you miserable.

    Assuming the definition of "all knowing" is knowing every single piece of information in the world, you could use that information for two things: achieving all of your goals and/or helping people. Imagine you know all the information, you could find a way to help people with that information, like say some organization is withholding information that could save lives for money, you could anonymously leak that information to the public. You could use the data to figure out how to get whatever you want. Sure, you would know a lot of horrible things, but you would either become desensitized eventually, or you would end your suffering permanently.

    Although I am guessing what you mean by "knowing everything" is knowing the true ultimate meaning of life and knowing how much life sucks???

    So in that case you should neither be optimistic or pessimistic about life. Naive optimists think that everything will go right no matter what and sugarcoat everything and ignore problems until they get worse. Naive pessimists think that everything will go to s**t no matter what they do, so they end up destroying any chance of happiness for themselves and drowning in their own self pity.

    Join the philosophy that life is bittersweet and become happy and sad at the same time. Everything might not go right, but everything won't go completely wrong if you at least try to make things right. There is suffering and there is rejoicing, and you accept that, and you accept all emotions as they come. Try to find something to live for so you don't end up suicidal, look around you and find something to be passionate about, and the colors will slowly seep back into your view of life.

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    ILE rivka's Avatar
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    i agree with @MidnightWilderness. i actually don't think it's possible to be miserable and all knowing at the same time (very zen ik)

    from the two, i would choose happy and ignorant since mortality increases with stress.

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    I used to think miserable but all-knowing was best but honestly after going through some shit I'd rather be happy but ignorant

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    I think the way to maximise happiness for all is to establish the Truth. If you are simply content with what you have, you are not inclined to make the world better and more wise.

    I don't see how it would realistically be possible to choose to be happy by remaining ignorant. You'd be in the Paleolithic Age with toothache and have limited options.

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    We are all ignorant to some point. We all have information that we donít know ďyetĒ just because that information hasnít revealed itself to us through our experience or exploration so yeah we are all ignorant
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    Late teens to very early 20s: I was wrong about a lot of things. I couldn't detect a good idea or good argument from a bad one. My life was bliss.
    Post 20s: I seem to have a solid grasp of a lot of things. My life is miserable for it.

    Example: watching the plot of a TV crime drama.

    Pre 20s: I don't analyze the plot or the characters' actions. I just root for the good guys. The good guys always (mostly) win, so I am happy.
    Post 20s: I analyze the plot and the characters' decisions. The good guys still win, but the way the show is written is often contrived. I.e., I'm often not happy because of this.

    Therefore, I would have to choose to be happy and not all-knowing. My life was therefore better in the past and ignorance is (or was) bliss.
    Last edited by jason_m; 06-14-2021 at 10:50 PM.

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    Does the misery come from being all-knowing? Or from something else?
    φιλοκαλοῦμέν τε γὰρ μετ᾽ εὐτελείας καὶ φιλοσοφοῦμεν ἄνευ μαλακίας.

    Itís hard to translate this literally and poetically into English, but this is my attempt at a translation: ďFor we love beauty, that we attain good ends thereby, and we love wisdom, though not in a way that makes us soft, nor that causes us to value weakness.Ē

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    Quote Originally Posted by FreelancePoliceman View Post
    Does the misery come from being all-knowing? Or from something else?
    Obviously something else Freelance, it comes from your view of the world and what you choose to do with said knowledge.

    Negative Version: "I know how f**ked up the entire world is and I have seen what can't be unseen. This world is full of doomed miserable creatures..."

    Positive Version: "Damn the world really is f**ked up but I have the ultimate knowledge and I can attempt to fix it. If I at least try to save the planet or reverse some bad in this world then I have done my duty and helped the people live a little nicer."

    Most of the misery comes from actually experiencing dark knowledge, like "I read that the military had to kill some civilians to save everyone..." v.s. "My unit had to make some sacrifices..." or some other hardship like that. Learning by experience is not really the fun way....

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    -1: Being all-knowing is an illusion. True all-knowing includes knowing ways to be happy.

    -2: A happy person should have high dopamine levels in the brain, and thus higher learning capacity, thus it's easier be less ignorant if they want to.

    -3: Nature has made us such that we are born happy and ignorant. I can't see how an inborn miserable but all-knowing human being would want to adapt to a new environment where they happen to be born, so I guess this is one reason nature prefers to start all over again (society needs to unlearn so many bs that previous generations create)
    self-discovery
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    Quote Originally Posted by MidnightWilderness View Post
    Obviously something else Freelance, it comes from your view of the world and what you choose to do with said knowledge.

    Negative Version: "I know how f**ked up the entire world is and I have seen what can't be unseen. This world is full of doomed miserable creatures..."

    Positive Version: "Damn the world really is f**ked up but I have the ultimate knowledge and I can attempt to fix it. If I at least try to save the planet or reverse some bad in this world then I have done my duty and helped the people live a little nicer."

    Most of the misery comes from actually experiencing dark knowledge, like "I read that the military had to kill some civilians to save everyone..." v.s. "My unit had to make some sacrifices..." or some other hardship like that. Learning by experience is not really the fun way....
    I mean, what if what animates you is the desire to learn the unknown? What if humans are just mentally incapable of handling literally all knowledge in the universe, and break down because of it?

    Aeschylus has Prometheus, in kindness, deprive humans of the ability to see the future, and give them hope instead. This broadly jives with my understanding of how people work.
    φιλοκαλοῦμέν τε γὰρ μετ᾽ εὐτελείας καὶ φιλοσοφοῦμεν ἄνευ μαλακίας.

    Itís hard to translate this literally and poetically into English, but this is my attempt at a translation: ďFor we love beauty, that we attain good ends thereby, and we love wisdom, though not in a way that makes us soft, nor that causes us to value weakness.Ē

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    The idea that knowledge makes people miserable is a bit dumb, personally i think it's all in the interpretation, but if i had to choose I'd probably choose happiness.

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