Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ignorance is Bliss

"The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something you know nothing about and refuse to investigate." – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Many years ago, I remember hearing from a friend that the only people who are happy are those who are totally in ignorance and those who are totally free. The rest are always trapped in some form of suffering.

While perhaps not totally true, it would certainly appear to be more true than not. The bulk of people, as Thoreau pointed out, live lives of quiet desperation. Today, that quiet desperation is not quite as quiet. Often, I am accosted by those who try to live in bliss by putting on a brave face, but mostly, it is a form of denial. As things fall down around them, they choose to not see what is happening in order to maintain a false sense of happiness. If the truth is pointed out - whatever that truth may be - they choose to ignore it. Now the obvious - "ignore" and "ignorance". It is not coincidental that they share the same roots - the same root of gnosis - to know. The verb to choose to ignore results in willful ignorance. And we all, to some extent or another share this ignorance. It is also, particularly these days, not totally shameful. The state of things is such that it often seems much easier to ignore or stay ignorant of the truth because the truth is, or can be, extremely painful to face.

What I am speaking of can apply equally to spiritual or material truths. For instance, these days you would have to choose to be ignorant of the fact that the government is fully aware of the gradual fascist state they are creating. It is a purposeful and well planned out program, having been started many, many years ago. But the truth and the ramifications of this truth are so twisted and painful, that it is indeed much easier to be blissfully unaware of it. But for those who actually wish to seek the truth, it is out there, easily accessible and incontestable. It is the slow cook method. If you don't know what that is, there is the old story of "How to Cook a Frog". The way to cook a frog is not to throw it into a pot of boiling water because it will immediately jump out. Instead, you put it into nice cool water and gradually turn up the heat. It doesn't even notice until it is too late. So, within the material sphere at least, we are in the cooking pot, and the heat is going up at a faster and faster rate. We are not too far from being cooked alive. If you're not sure about this, please note that only 2 days ago, the Department of Homeland Security released the final regulations to implement the Real ID, which is due to come out 85 days from now. Who knows what will happen with it since numerous states have outright refused to comply.

But, just as material truths are ignored, similarly, it is very easy, in fact the norm, to ignore spiritual truths, in large part because the truth is simply not much fun. It necessitates throwing out everything that you currently hold to be true - in other words, your hopes and concepts of what you WANT to be true do you no good when it comes to the actual truth. Just as may want the US government to be good and protective and kind, the opposite is the reality. Similarly, all the ideas that you hold to keep you feeling safe and comfortable and secure are pretty much all lies, like hiding under your blanket where you will be safe from the bogey men. It sure feels nice, but it is only a childish gesture.

To know the truth, you must investigate the truth. If you want to know who you are, you MUST investigate who you are. Although many people would like you to believe that it's going to fall into your lap, like a ripe mango, and occasionally it does, that is not the norm. You need to at least shake the tree. But not knowing who you are feels so safe. It doesn't rock the boat of our comfort. It takes no courage.

It occurred to me, and wait before you condemn me here, that throughout the ages there were probably many slaves (in any of the many, many cultures that had them) who did not have a problem with being enslaved. After all, in some cultures, they were extremely well taken care of. And of course, some owners were far kinder than others. Now today, we find the whole idea of slavery deplorable. But imagine a situation where you at least had food and shelter and clothes, where you were warm at night, and were part of a family or community. And yet, although you may not currently be outwardly bought and sold, how truly free are you - free from the 'Man', free from societal, cultural, religious, parental, educational expectations. The opposite of being free is being bound. Other than the bought and sold, what is the definition of enslavement? It is to reduce to and hold in a state of servitude - to oppress, to shackle. Okay, it's not necessarily pretty, but do you get the picture?

So, what does it mean to be free? That might differ to many people. But what is absolute is that first you must indeed recognize that you are enslaved, that you are bound, either materially, spiritually or both. You must investigate it. What binds you materially? What binds you mentally? What binds you intellectually? What binds you spiritually?

"Remember, you cannot abandon what you do not know. To go beyond yourself, you must know yourself." - Nisargadatta Maharaj

So to know the truth, any truth, you have to be willing to investigate it. Otherwise, the truth will eternally remain hidden from view.