"Ignorance is bliss" -- a phrase repeatedly used yet hardly considered. Throughout my life, I was told that ignorance is bliss and I often believed it that it is. Not knowing meant not worrying. If I did not know of the wars in the Middle East, if I was unaware of the homeless people around me, if I had no knowledge of cancer, if I believed life was perfect, I would be in a state of perfect happiness. This seems ideal. Everyone wants to be happy, but is ignorance truly the key to happiness?

I recently reexamined the phrase, and I came to the conclusion that although ignorance may protect us from suffering, it is not as blissful as it is made out to be. Being ignorant means you are lacking proper knowledge, and to lack something as crucial as knowledge is a shame. Why would anybody want to cheat themselves out of something so fruitful? Happiness. People trade off being knowledgeable on certain topics in order to be happy.

This seems reasonable, but unfortunately, ignorance often has more of a negative effect than a positive one. Ignorance may seem blissful, but it is only so if you mean it to be selfish as well. When someone is ignorant they become self-absorbed, unaware of the greater picture, and apathetic.

A few days ago, I was conversing with my hall mates when the topic of sexuality and sex versus gender came up. The majority of them claimed that they do not understand the concept of transsexuality hence it causes them to become uncomfortable. This is a prime example of ignorance being destructive. Due to my hall mate's lack of knowledge about transsexuals they are insensitive in their speech about trans people, and they also may potentially act in discriminatory ways towards transsexual people. In this particular situation, ignorance is only blissful in the sense that my hall mates do not feel sympathy for the discrimination trans people experience. In fact, they are contributing to said discrimination due to their ignorance.

Ignorance is very rarely blissful. As I previously mentioned, only a selfish person can receive utter happiness from being knowingly ignorant. It is crucial for people to have a connection with their greater surroundings, and that requires one to be sympathetic or empathetic. Without knowledge of what is around you, you can easily be content but you will also be disconnected. Next time you use the phrase "ignorance is bliss," take a moment to consider whether you believe what you have uttered.