State of Bliss

I read this post a while back and have been keeping it in my back pocket for pondering. It's about the Celtic legend of Ceridwen’s magic potion granting knowledge and wisdom and the punishment of Gwion for accidentally imbibing it. I like the musings about knowledge and wisdom and why it is apparently a bad thing, just like the story of the Garden of Eden And aside from a theological conundrum - which I won't get into now, as I'm trying to for once keep this short due to elbow issues - it got me thinking about the early days of Christianity. About masses being in Latin, about requiring a priest as a conduit between the people and God and I started wondering about all these barriers that were erected to keep the congregation unknowing. Aside from this being an excellent method of social control, was it to preserve the "innocence" of people? And why is innocence so praised? Which naturally led me to the good old saying about ignorance being bliss. With which I disagree wholeheartedly.

To me, knowledge is bliss. Not knowing is about the furthest thing from bliss I can imagine, which makes me a complete pain in the arse when I'm at the dentist or having a medical procedure of some sort, due to the questions about "what are you doing?", "why is that thing making that noise?", "what's that for?" and there are times when I probably could ask "why does your face look like that?" at the end of it all, but it seems impolite to bring attention to the twitching. Knowing what's going on gives you a sense of control in a situation that is inherently uncontrollable - sure, it's an illusion of control, but still, being an active participant even by knowing what comes next takes you from being a case, a piece of meat to a person who is allowing the dentist (or whoever) to do unpleasant things. Aside from what it does for me psychologically, I find that it's a good thing for medical professionals to be aware that I'm there.

And then there's the fact that knowledge for the sake of knowledge is just plain awesome. I've been known to say that I never grew out of the why stage that normally hits kids fairly young, but it thrills me to no end to know that the reason rat poison works so very well is because rats can't vomit. Neither can horses, for that matter, although hopefully, they have less opportunity to eat rat poison. And that's just the beginning of the weird facts I find fascinating.

Knowing makes me happy. Whether it has led to wisdom or ever will lead to wisdom remains to be seen, but to me, knowledge is bliss, not ignorance. And it makes me wonder why such value is placed on ignorance and innocence (and I don't mean the sexual kind).

I could go on (and on) about this, but the elbow wants me to stop. So instead, I'm turning it over to you. What say you - knowing or not?

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