Friday, July 13, 2007

Is ignorance really bliss...?

Sometimes I wonder.
God willing, I'll be returning to the Holy Land for Succos, which is just around the corner.
My parents already made tickets for theselves, but they left mine for me to make, in an effort to accomodate my plans for being in Yeshiva for Yom Kippur.
I called up my travel agent, who's known me since I was a little boy; she was my Kindergarten teacher.
She's a sweet little lady, married to a very learned man, which reflects on her own stature. She's a very frum woman, completely unassuming.
For example: when discussing possible flight plans, she apologized at one point for not being able to get me a flight that connect through Amsterdam. Puzzled, because I know what goes on in that city - made famous by their legalization of recreational drugs and prostitution - I asked her why.
"Well," she replies, "I know a lot of Yeshiva boys like to go there and tour, because it's such a nice city..."

I'm not surprised at all that guys actually go there; there was a time when I would've given my eyeteeth for one day in that place.
But after hanging up with her, it made me think.
Wouldn't life be a little bit simpler if I wasn't as knowledgable as I am?
This woman, who is a great person, isn't necessarily the most wordly person out there. Case in point, right? But she seems so happy, so content with her life, her little sphere of reality.
And I? Sometimes I think that my exposure has left me open to cynicism. As if I know too much about things that I shouldn't, and that it's much harder not to be critical of some things...
Hmmm....

24 comments:

Shoshana said...

Sigh. I wonder this all the time also, and I usually come up with, in the end, that I would rather not be ignorant, though I definitely see the advantages of it. And honestly, there are so many things that I am completely ignorant and unaware of (there are so many things out there that I am lucky to have been sheltered from). But in general, I disagree with the premise of ignorance being bliss, because I really do feel like we are better off for having our free will and knowledge.

Scraps said...

I heard it said in the name of the Kotzker Rebbe, "Ignorance may be bliss, but I prefer wisdom even if it is painful." Is it really better for this woman to be ignorant? Yes, she is clearly blissfully unaware of what sort of things Amsterdam is known for...but in her ignorance and innocence, she may be helping yeshiva boys, well, not behave the way yeshiva boys should. Not to knock this woman, chas v'shalom; halevai we should all be so temimusdik. Just pointing out the other side of ignorance...

doodlehead said...

its possible to know whats going on and still not be critical. knowing that theres bad things going on may make it harder, but the harder the nisayon, the more rewarding when you pass. Btw, I have friends who went there just 2 tour (and put up tapuach stickers) not to do anything bad.

The Dreamer said...

It's an age-old argument... I sometimes wish i was naive... that i didn't have to know the things i do... that i hadnt made the mistakes i did...
even though i wouldn't be the person i am today without haveing gone through or done certaint hings, i wish i could have bypassed all the garbage, and still be able to live in a world without knowing all that i do...

ahh.. what a world that would be...

karma dude said...

Dido to Scraps and Dreamer. You are only who you are based on the knowledge you have and the decisions you make based on that knowledge. Does knowledge make you cynical? It can (look at me) but it doesn't have to.
P.S. If you want I can recommend a travel agent who is very in the know.
P.P.S. Doodlehead, I can believe thats what they went for but what did they actually do LOL.

Moe said...

i'm happy with what i know even if it hurts me i think you dont get credit for doing the right thing if you dont know better this way i have more room to grow even if i'm not good at it and i fail all the time that one time i do the right thing i get that much more credit!

jewmaican20 said...

Yeah...
There's a comic strip in a lot of newspapers called "For Better or Worse". Many years ago, there was a story line with one of the older kids, where he was led into a protest rally for a certain cause. When his parents found out, they took him aside and explained to him all the details he hadn't been aware of.
When he expressed his surprise at the facts he hadn't known, his father told him "ignorance isn't bliss...it's dangerous..."
I hear most of you. I agree, and given the choice, I don't think I would ever choose to be sheltered.
But I wish that the worldliness and the cynicism were mutually exclusive it seems as if it isn't, and that just leads to being judgemental...

David_on_the_Lake said...

Excellent point...
I think ignorance is bliss..simply because much of peoples actions are so subjective and can be judged for good...so it's not like theres clear cut evil going on that you're not aware of.

doodlehead said...

karma dude- ye ur rite. some of them did smoke up a little, but theydve done that anywhere.
Btw, about that travel agent, u sure she's so in the kno? just curious ;)

Reb Y. said...

On a bigger scale, would us Jews be better off in the gehtto where we lived our own lives without being influenced by the Goyim around us? Or living in todays society and trying to fight it?

karma dude said...

Reb Y, I don't know which is better (although I do have my opinions) but one thing is for certain, if you are going to choose to bring up your children in a "ghetto" all sheltered and whatnot, you better damn well prepare them for when they get older and leave that little womb you brought them up in that they should know how to live in a society with other people, some who may not be exactly like them, and they should be trained in displaying a little common courtesy be sharing the road with other drivers, be it waiting on line like normal people in your local Walmart, Shop-rite, Bank etc. etc. (and even more so wherever you vacation being that you are guests), be it respecting a stores return policy so that when I have to return something for a legitimate reason I don't have to cringe in my kippa. And last of all, my favorite pet peeve. Att. People: That little table in the bank with all the little deposit slips and withdrawal slips with the three pens chained to it (two of which don't work)and that little placard with the date is not just there for design. The purpose of it is to fill out all your paperwork BEFORE you get on line so the 30 people behind you (who are only behind you because they did fill out they're papers) don't have to wait for you to fill out your forms in you 3rd grade like chicken scrawl.
I don't know why I'm in such a venting mood today. I better go smoke...

anonym00kie said...

story of my life..
it's not so much knowing what's out there that's the problem, i think it's the fact that we are aware of how much we know and so we assume there isnt much we dont know which leads us to think we have the complete picture, which often turns us into cynics.
knowing a little bit is like having one piece of the puzzle and enjoying it in its simplicity - knowing a lot is like having a bunch of pieces of the puzzle but having no clue how many are missing and what to do with them, and still not being able to see the full picture, but not even being able to enjoy the pieces we have..

anonym00kie said...

sorry for the long run on and on and on sentences :)

Karma dude said...

Considering how much we know compared to our parents it scares me sh*tless how much our children will know, and at what age.

the other guy!! said...

karma dude, why don't you start your own blog? you rock! (ok jewmanicain you to)
uh hum about the travel agent- now I know why when I booked the ticked with "that" travel agent they gave me a direct flight- (to israel that was).
also so what's that ledge by the bank tellers made for???

doodlehead- uh hum, I sense some jealousy in the air, did you want to go to amsterdam also. or did you have enough access in israel JK.

and last but not least jewmanican, why not shell out a few extra bucks and go direct? its so worth it- (i wish jetblue had service to israel!!) and I do think your parents are dumb- tell them you are thinking about a stop over in amsterdam, and look at their reaction, then mention it again with your brother there.

karma dude said...

Other Guy, The ledge by the teller is probably where your supposed to put your phone so that it can be within good blue-tooth range of your headset so you can keep blabbing your nonsense on the phone while completely ignoring the bank teller (chances are it's a women teller so you even get schar for ignoring her)and i don't start my own blog because I'm computer illiterate among other illiteracies. I also don't think people really care for my opinions or my animosity. Over here people don't come for me, they come for jewmaican. I'm just an added bonus.

jjl said...

i Like the mushal of the deer in the middle of the road and it sees headlights. they are pretty to look at . ignorance is not knowing that if you dont move your ganna wreck a pefectly good chevy, and yourself.
But in all seriousness karma person touched on a great piont, its what the modern may have over the yeshivish in raising their kids. the modern expose their kids to the dangers of the "modern world" and through a light access they can learn about the dangers of that world , and how to minimize undo influenses. on the other hand when a more yeshivish kid and more closed off kid gets some access to the world they may come to a piont to rejct the yeshivish world for the secular.

another thing about ignorance and forced ignorance is that it makes comunities expecally frum ones gloss over (not in my back yard) major societal issues such as spousal abuse , child abuse and drug abuse. this is due to leaders finding it impossible that the outside worlds problems can leak into their communities.
so back to the deer , i know headlights are pretty but all it means is to get out of the way. a bit of knowledge can save a lot of skin.

the other guy said...

karmadude, oh well, you aren't so computer literate!! (yea right) you probably don't even ever use a computer!!!
oh and about the ledge by the bank- you so figured me out- though I usually keep my phone in my pocket and the bluetooth in my car.. I do that at of a religious reason, because my rabbi said when you go outside you shouldn't attract attention to yourself with the flashing blue light.
and oh, the girl behind the counter, I never found anyone of them that was worth talking to for more then a second, although I do "usually" greet them nicely and say thank you (and they look at me crazy)

doodlehead said...

other guy- y do u think i was never there?

karma dude said...

Other guy, looking back at my previous comment i see i may have implied i was talking about you. For the record i was not, i was referring to any random person who might fit that mold. And by the way if your looking for a women in the bank you must be desperate, but fear not your despotism just earned you a free pass to the Karma Dude dating service where we find your mate of fate.

karma dude said...

Other guy, by the way right now i happen to be using a computer but generally i comment here from my phone.

the other guy said...

doodlehead: yes I'm sorry if I'm implied that you didn't go to amsterdam, you did write "Btw, I have friends who went there just 2 tour", I figured that you probably never went, otherwise you would say you went yourself, unless you covering your you know what.
and next time someone does ask me about you I know what to say.. JK

karmadude: I read your post so fast, that I never even assumed you were referring to me.. now I'm insulted.. of course.
and yes I am desperate.. OK- not that desperate to try to pick up a polish chick, in a soverign bank.. Uch.
oh and thanks for inviting me into your club. and the "where we find your mate of fate" please don't find me a girl that's as desperate as me. it could make it a disaster (sorta like a rebound shidduch)
and how does it work in your dating service? you filter everyone first? if you ever need a replacement ill be glad to take you over!

and about the computer.. don't you carry a little one always on you- OK its only a phone.. but you still can do the blog thingee from your phone.

Jewmanican, join the fun!

jewmaican20 said...

Huh. Looks like my blog's been hijacked...

~ Sarah ~ said...

good post.
something i think about often.
still haven't figured out which state is better (knowing or ignorant) but i guess it depends on the situation.