Is Ignorance Bliss?

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While I was away on a recent business trip I met a lot of colleagues from various states.  Spending a week sequestered with these folks in conference rooms morning til night, you can’t help but get to know a few details about each others’ lives.

Since we traveled up north to a state known for snow storms, I was very concerned about the weather and watched the morning and evening news on a regular basis.  However, I cannot say the same about many of my co-workers.  Many of them were faithfully watching such shows like the Biggest Loser, Dancing with the Stars etc. and can rattle off the latest on all the characters, but were not aware of anything else going on.  I have nothing against these shows, they can be entertaining, but I cannot imagine not being aware of anything else.  One lady actually mentioned she broke up with her last boyfriend because he was more concerned about watching the news than hanging out at the bar every weekend.  No, she was not teenager, she was a single parent in her late thirties.  Most people were really more concerned about going on the next shopping spree than anything else.  The prevailing attitude was “What can I buy next?”  I am not anti-shopping, but I just cannot see myself spending my last dollar picking up more stuff to accumulate, when I can supplement my emergency fund or food storage plan.

I read with interest the article on SHTFPlan, “Black Friday, America’s Running of the Bulls”  So many people are obsessed with shopping and seem so unaware of what’s going on.  These observations have led me to wonder, “Is ignorance bliss?”  Would I feel a lot happier, more carefree, if I were as unconcerned about the times we live in?  What other stuff can I spend my cash on, if I weren’t squirreling away a few dollars a week for emergency supplies?  Are people happier because they shun any kind of news or refuse to see what’s going on around them?  I cannot really answer this, all I know is, once you have had your eyes opened about the fragile state of our system, there is no turning back.  Once you realize the need to be prepared and not rely on others, your whole outlook changes.  We all know the old tale of the ant and the grasshopper.  It seems that preparedness folks are like the ant, but are surrounded by grasshoppers having fun and games even knowing that winter is coming soon.  I hope the colleagues I met were more aware than they were letting on.  As for me, I have already made my choice, and ignorance is not bliss.

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  1. I tend to agree with your final assessment: ignorance is not bliss. The kind of blind blundering through life that we see in every generation is what I like to term grasshopper living after the fable of the grasshopper and the ant. Some modern revisionist who don’t like the moral of this story have changed the story to read that the ant takes the grasshopper in and shares the fruits of his hard labor. But you and I know the original told the real story: the ant basically told the grasshopper, you had your chance and you blew it. Buh-bye!

    The moral I take from this old fable is don’t let the grasshoppers know where you live because these days, the grasshoppers outnumber the ants.

    1. So true, we are surrounded by a bunch of grasshoppers. And we know the story does not end well for them.. Hopefully a few will convert to ant but that may be wishful thinking.

  2. Ignorance is not only not bliss, it is an impairment and a step to defeat.

    I’ve historically been a fairly serious person and as I became more of an adult I watched less and less TV. I do watch it on occasion – mostly news, documentaries, some movies and some sports. I have never spent money on gossip or entertainment magazines and never will – I would rather read The Economist, Time, Foreign Affairs, or even WIRED, which provides news and information on technology and science.

    One of my mottoes is “knowledge is power.” It helps me I have always loved reading and the Internet makes reading that much easier (although I still get books and printouts).

    As I see it, many people prefer to remain ignorant because the truth bothers them too much. Denial and escapism feel better. My best friend, for example, recently got married. I love the guy and I’d bend backwards for him. He is in fact one of only 2 friends who knows I own PMs and a firearm. I tried telling him about the federal government’s debt (how it can’t be repaid), how inflation will rise due to QE2, how prices for commodities and food staples have risen, unemployment, why it’s good to prepare, etc… and he wouldn’t have it. He not only misunderstood my preparations (“so if things go crazy are you gonna go out and start shooting people?” – a comment which made me slap my forehead) but he resented me for being preachy. I decided never to mention these things to him again.

    He has no interest in finance or economics, and his wife, who is more educated, smarter, and who actually does work in finance, is not attuned to this stuff either. He, however, relies on her for financial matters – she earns more and apparently she’s the budgeter of the household. I urged him to learn about finance and investments from her, and he simply said she’ll lead. He’s going to defer it all to her. This may sound sexist, but I don’t believe in deferring such issues to one’s wife, because each person has the responsibility of taking full stake over one’s finances and money.

    And, I suspect a major reason he doesn’t want to know is because he may think that knowing things may well be very bad in America in the next few years will ruin the beautiful dream which has come true: marriage. He’s very happy and doesn’t want anything that could possibly ruin this happiness to enter his head.

    I believe one can be very joyful and cheerful and happy, enjoying life within reasonable limits, while being fully aware of what’s going on. My best friend apparently doesn’t care to know anything other than his own narrow outlook of the world, and I suspect he’s very much like your colleagues in that sense.

    1. Sadly, I suspect many people are denial about what’s going on in our country. They would prefer to go along with the mainstream acceptable norm, without questioning anything. Best to just keep your preps “close to the vest.” Until someone is ready there is no way to convince them.

  3. I will be the first one to admit that before my eyes were opened, and I started prepping I lived in a self contained invisible bubble. I was consumed with my career, whether I was making money or not. I was out partying, having a good time in NJ, PA, and NYC. I was the poster child for excess. I thought I had a bead on all things good or bad. I mean it couldn’t be all bad, right, because I was having fun and making money? Then one day I looked in the mirror and asked, “what’s happening here?” This was after my bubble popped, my world exploded, and life as I knew it would never be the same. For several months my head was in a daze. Some would say it was stuck up my @$$. It wasn’t until I started paying attention after that morning staring myself in the face that I was able to look around outside my own little world and see what was happening. Needless to say, I was scared, in some respect.

    So, take if from someone that for YEARS believed that living in your bubble doing your own thing, ignorant of the world around you was bliss… It is not. And, I am glad my world exploded, because in this case it opened my eyes to the world as it is, and opened my eyes to what needs to be done to protect myself and my family from the “dark possibilities.”

  4. I have family members who just think ‘it’s nothing to worry about’. My brother grew up in the same family as I did where our parents taught us preparedness without calling it that – it was always, “just in case”. Now being in our early 40’s we live totally different lifestyles – theirs is, ‘oh don’t worry about it’, ours is..”Just in case”. We traveled to their place over Thanksgiving and I was utterly stunned to find their first aid kit being six band aids and half tube of hydrocortizone ointment. The reason? Well, the hospital is just about four blocks away.
    There will always be people who embrace the ‘ignorance is bliss’ and those few who believe “Ignorance is NOT bliss”, it’s just sad that the former far out number the latter and those are the ones we need to watch closely IF tshtf.

    1. I have lots of family members that don’t agree with me; I hope they change their minds, but nothing we say will change it for them. You are right, there are a lot more of them!

  5. The vast majority are “consumed” with their career, as Jack says in his comment.

    He is absolutely right. The System is designed to consume you. Where did the balance go, between work and “life”?

    Your post is right on. Most people that I know are oblivious to what is really happening, which is very ironic since so many of them seem to really like “reality” shows on TV.

    Too funny how the main stream media and entertainment outlets are portraying “reality” as such. It could not be further from the truth.

    It is so refreshing to hear or read about others who see through the BS. Keep it up!

  6. I was sort of in the blissful life. I knew that there were things wrong with the world, but I didn’t really let it effect me. Then one day I lost my job. I never realized how good I had it, until it was all gone. Now I am delivering pizza, because it is the only place that will hire me. I go looking for work weekly. I apply, but they are never hiring. I get food stamps and my parents help me with the rent.
    I read an article in a magazine about getting a supply of food and items for survival encase the SHTF. So I started to read up on stuff and I started to acquire what I can afford. I buy more canned foods and started to stock up. A few friends have given me there old camping stuff and I sort of have a bug out bag. I read Tom Brown Jr.’s books on wilderness and city survival. I have started to practice what I have learned.
    Now I am happy. I have learned valuable things. I can start a fire with a bow drill, I can make shelter, I know how to get water, I am learning flint napping. Maybe someday I won’t need assistance anymore, maybe I can walk into the woods and live at peace with God’s creation.
    So ignorance was not bliss, but knowledge is.

    1. Sounds like you have learned a lot recently; these are hard lessons, but you are all the better for learning them. Knowledge is key, and as you learn more how to be self sufficient you will need less and less assistance from anyone. I sure wish I had learned these things a lot early on! Thanks for a thoughtful comment.

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