Ignorance Is Bliss

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“Ignorance is bliss”, possibly one of the most controversially correct and incorrect metaphors in the history of mankind. This life lesson offers the suggestion that being oblivious to the repercussions of our actions breeds true utopia. This phrase was first brought into existence in 1747 by the talented English poet, writer, and Professor at Cambridge University, Thomas Gray in his poem Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College. This beautiful poem outlines a message to college students everywhere to enjoy the last minutes of ignorance before the world gets a hold of them. His message was simple; enjoy these last years before “real life” begins. Over the years, some have viewed this as a metaphor for childlike behavior. That being unaware of what our actions will do, somehow gives us clarity of mind and frees us from responsibility. While others view this as motivation to learn and grow in wisdom so that the decisions they make can be made with control and with an understanding of all outcomes. Some search for the truth and find that they would have been happier not knowing. Ignorance is bliss, or is it? Through the rhetorical concepts of Logos, Pathos, and Ethos, this metaphor can be dissected to reveal a better understanding of how it has become such a popular icon in everyday life.
LOGOS (REASONING) Ignorance is defined simply as “lack of knowledge, education, or awareness” (ignorance) so it would be safe to say that all humans come into this world ignorant in more ways than not. Bliss can be defined as “perfect happiness; serene joy” (bliss). Without knowledge or awareness of what is said or done as well as the consequences of those actions, life can be lived free from care and completely oblivious to the world we live in. So when is ignorance truly bliss? What are the parameters? Where is the line? Communicable diseases expert Kay Robertson submits that,
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