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Old 08-12-07, 07:41 PM   #1
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Is it better to live in ignorant bliss?

Is it better to live in ignorant bliss, or attempt to understand and accept life’s harsh realities?

As ones cognitive abilities increase throughout childhood and adolescence protective and/or entertaining constructs society inflicts upon youngsters are gradually removed. Even though a young boy may cry when his parents inform him that Santa Clause does not exist and that, in truth, Christmas is driven by commercialistic self-serving motives; people understand that this painful realization is important for his long term good as certainly any adult who believes in Santa would be mocked cruelly by his peers. Fortunately for everyone, the tears dry quickly and the very plastic child almost instantly evolves to greater level of understanding incorporating the new found knowledge into a working schema that still allows for the enjoyment of Christmas.

Eventually the child grows into an adult and realizes that the true joy of Christmas is the joy of giving not receiving. Ideally the story ends there with the person believing that they are truly altruistic in their gift giving and that the joy on the receivers face is all that they need. Now what happens if the person’s cognitive abilities enable then to progress to the next level of understanding, should that be encouraged?

In reality there are no altruistic acts, be it volunteerism, providing orgasm-producing stimulus to others, or even the soothing of an infants crying… you name it. All actions are self-serving like it or not. Evolutionary and operant conditioning theories, among others, all explain how emotional contagion is the reason why we enjoy making others feel better when sad or making them feel really great at other more randy times. It’s not because we really want them to be happy, it is because them being happy makes YOU feel good (warm fuzzies). Similarly the desire to reduce another’s suffering is due to your OWN negative feelings evoked when you see someone else cry (that and the removal of annoying stimuli like crying noises).

So the question at hand is “when is it better to live in ignorant bliss rather than accept the unpleasant truths?” At what point does further understanding of behaviorism, or excessive introspection and meta-analysis become a bad thing?
This came up recently when I attempted to explain the actions of forum members in a certain thread that is popular due to simple Id impulse satisfaction. The moderators of this board apparently decided for all of you that you are meant to live in ignorant bliss, BTW. The idea I proposed wasn’t even very radical; all I suggested is that people use their appearance as a currency in order to get attention –usually sexual- in an attempt feel better about themselves and bolster self-esteem. GASP don’t tell the makeup, clothing, plastic surgery, etc, etc industries...

Could this understanding have led to an adaptation where an improved mental schema allows for self-validation, freeing them of this pseudo whoring of themselves? Or would it just be taken as an insult, as they do not have the mental capacity to reach the next cognitive level?
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Old 08-12-07, 07:53 PM   #2
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Attempting to understand behaviors should also include why someone might......oh, for example, try to discuss behaviorism in a thread about a completely different topic when in that particular thread, it was apparent that it was just light hearted fun. My field happens to BE behavioral studies, by the way, so this thread is of particular interest to me...

Are you interested in Adler's work on what motivates behaviors? If so, what motivated yours in this particular instance, in your mind? I'm truly curious.
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Old 08-12-07, 08:15 PM   #3
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Are you saying that...there's really no Santa Claus?

Thanks alot. Y'know...There's alot to be said for delusional thinking.

<slinkin' away, scarred for life>
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Old 08-12-07, 08:16 PM   #4
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No, there is no Virginia.
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Old 08-12-07, 08:18 PM   #5
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Attempting to understand behaviors should also include why someone might......oh, for example, try to discuss behaviorism in a thread about a completely different topic when in that particular thread, it was apparent that it was just light hearted fun. My field happens to BE behavioral studies, by the way, so this thread is of particular interest to me...

Are you interested in Adler's work on what motivates behaviors? If so, what motivated yours in this particular instance, in your mind? I'm truly curious.
The discussion had clearly turned towards why people were posting their images; I didn’t start that. In fact, only after a couple pages of feel-good yes-men answers that lacked any real content did I submit my opinion.

Attempts at disparaging me due to my opinion are to be expected. However, an intelligent man such as yourself should learn to discuss the issue impartially instead of taking the easy path of weakening the debater’s validity. This is not about me, or any individual in particular; it is only a thought experiment.
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Old 08-12-07, 08:20 PM   #6
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I don't think foo is the place for heavy thought.
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Old 08-12-07, 08:23 PM   #7
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Thanks alot. Y'know...There's alot to be said for delusional thinking.
Exactly. For example we know that depressed and anxious persons tend to spend way too much time dwelling on reoccurring negative thoughts and that cognitive therapy where they consciously attack and devalue these thoughts is an effective treatment.

I am entirely aware that ignorance may well be bliss.
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Old 08-12-07, 08:26 PM   #8
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The discussion had clearly turned towards why people were posting their images; I didn’t start that. In fact, only after a couple pages of feel-good yes-men answers that lacked any real content did I submit my opinion.

Attempts at disparaging me due to my opinion are to be expected. However, an intelligent man such as yourself should learn to discuss the issue impartially instead of taking the easy path of weakening the debater’s validity. This is not about me, or any individual in particular; it is only a thought experiment.
His question sounded like an sincere one, to me. I didn't see what you wrote but I can guess at the gist of it from your opinions, here.

Stipulating that what you say about human nature is true (I'm inclined to agree, anyway, but that's beside the point), what's the payoff for you to have brought it up?
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Old 08-12-07, 08:30 PM   #9
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I have no problem with the question, and wasn't weakening your position by making it personal, I was just wondering what motivated you to post it in that particular thread, instead of starting one like you did here.
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Old 08-12-07, 08:34 PM   #10
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Did someone say orgasm?
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Old 08-12-07, 08:36 PM   #11
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what's the payoff for you to have brought it up?
I genuinely don’t know the answer to the question I posed. Is ignorance bliss, and would I be better served by avoiding any further insights into behaviorism as generally the more I learn the more I realize that mankind is horrible?
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Old 08-12-07, 08:38 PM   #12
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I have no problem with the question, and wasn't weakening your position by making it personal, I was just wondering what motivated you to post it in that particular thread, instead of starting one like you did here.
I was simply contributing to the disscusion at hand, albeit with a different opinon. The censoring moderator suggested I start this thread.
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Old 08-12-07, 08:41 PM   #13
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I genuinely don’t know the answer to the question I posed. Is ignorance bliss, and would I be better served by avoiding any further insights into behaviorism as generally the more I learn the more I realize that mankind is horrible?
Oh, so you posted a question there? I got the impression (sorry, this is what I get for jumping in where I don't know the history!) that you'd said something along the lines of, "Well, you all KNOW why you're posting these photos, right?"

I personally think it's better to know. And accept, all Zen-like. What is, is, and ignoring or or being ignorant of it doesn't in most cases make anyone happier, IMO.
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Old 08-12-07, 08:51 PM   #14
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I genuinely don’t know the answer to the question I posed. Is ignorance bliss, and would I be better served by avoiding any further insights into behaviorism as generally the more I learn the more I realize that mankind is horrible?
Well, here's my take....

Each individual is responsible to answer that question for themselves. This is like asking someone if they are for or against religion, or any other completely polarizing question, and you have to decide for yourself whether or not you want the answers. Others have that right to decide for themselves as well, by the way and this needs to be respected as well.

My question for you now......in counterpoint to yours,

Where is the harm? Does it hurt people to post pictures in this thread or is it merely a harmless entertainment that you are reading FAR too much into? You have to beware of projecting your own feelings/insecurities/issues into a question of behavioral studies, after all. Is it their insecurities, or is it yours? Think about your response honestly.....
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Old 08-12-07, 08:57 PM   #15
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Is it better to live in ignorant bliss, or attempt to understand and accept life’s harsh realities?


So the question at hand is “when is it better to live in ignorant bliss rather than accept the unpleasant truths?” At what point does further understanding of behaviorism, or excessive introspection and meta-analysis become a bad thing?


Could this understanding have led to an adaptation where an improved mental schema allows for self-validation, freeing them of this pseudo whoring of themselves? Or would it just be taken as an insult, as they do not have the mental capacity to reach the next cognitive level?
Posturing on the internet aside, assigning values ("harsh realities"; "unpleasant truths") to other people's motives seems a bit presumptive. Maybe it's not delusion or artifice...maybe it's hope...maybe it's play...maybe it's courage on a supportive and forgiving platform.
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Old 08-12-07, 08:58 PM   #16
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So the question at hand is “when is it better to live in ignorant bliss rather than accept the unpleasant truths?” At what point does further understanding of behaviorism, or excessive introspection and meta-analysis become a bad thing?
I don't think there is ever any point where a lack of understanding is preferable.

And why is the "truth" always viewed as unpleasant?
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Old 08-12-07, 09:48 PM   #17
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I personally think it's better to know. And accept, all Zen-like. What is, is, and ignoring or or being ignorant of it doesn't in most cases make anyone happier, IMO.
This.

Everywhere I look, I see happy idiots. Maybe ignorance really is bliss. I know that as I age, my childhood seems idylic in retrospect. I know, intellectually, that it was less than that. Also, the more I know, the less "happy" I seem to be. Not to say I'm unhappy, but "contented" seems to be the best word for how I feel. Not happy, not unhappy. Zen-like. Also, more zen-like the more I ride.

What is, is. There are thing I can change and things that I can't change. I can accept this and exist with it.

Maybe knowledge is the enemy of happiness. Or something like that. Or maybe I've just been reading too much, again.
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Old 08-12-07, 09:51 PM   #18
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I don't think there is ever any point where a lack of understanding is preferable.

And why is the "truth" always viewed as unpleasant?
I don't know, but "The truth hurts" is a popular saying for a reason, no? Maybe because the truth forces us to look at ourselves in a harsher light than we'd like to?

People lie most to themselves, right? When we hear the truth it hurts because we feel more comfortable hearing those lies we told ourselves to take the sharp edges of reality off. Wishfull thinking.

Hopefully thats enough mental ************ out of me for now.

P.S. I love this thread! Also, I just noticed that the OP has a skull for his avatar and basically asked Hamlet's famous question. I loves me some serendipity!
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Old 08-12-07, 10:19 PM   #19
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Where is the harm? Does it hurt people to post pictures in this thread or is it merely a harmless entertainment?
We all, of course, like to hear we are attractive on occasion but a line can be drawn where one actively seeks and needs that attention. There is real potential for harm if that type of behavior progresses to the next level. Surly you understand that nightclubs are filled with people who end up doing things at the end of the night for a similar self-esteem quick fix that may have severe ramifications. I am not saying it can’t be done in fun, nor am I suggesting anyone here has taken it to that desperate level, but if they really are in a bad emotional place (insecure and needy) I would not consider it an appropriate behavior.

Sadly, just like may other things in life, those who need things most are denied them.
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Old 08-12-07, 10:46 PM   #20
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Sadly, just like may other things in life, those who need things most are denied them.


...or defined by them.



Is it possible that you reached your conclusions along the same lines as Aaron T. Beck?
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Old 08-12-07, 11:43 PM   #21
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The truth shall set you free. Believing this and knowing that what I do and how I relate to others engenders self-satisfaction or disgust allows me to provide for others well being and and honestly enjoy it. It also allows me to ask for and receive help (emotional, physical, or spiritual) without being embarrassed when someone points out that I am doing so.
When I didn't know better I was unable to truly experience the moments in which I caused another to feel good. I was also less able to cope with other's disappointment.
This awareness came upon me over time.
I can not say whether this awareness would help or harm anyone else.
I am happy that you experienced this particular slight. It has created food for thought. I hope that you don't get too distracted when others can't help but question your motivations

My answers to your questions:
(W)hen is it better to live in ignorant bliss rather than accept the unpleasant truths?
Until you are ready.

At what point does further understanding of behaviorism, or excessive introspection and meta-analysis become a bad thing?
When it becomes a hindrance to you overall ability to enjoy your life?
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Old 08-12-07, 11:59 PM   #22
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At what point does further understanding of behaviorism, or excessive introspection and meta-analysis become a bad thing?
When it becomes a hindrance to you overall ability to enjoy your life?

Exactly.


An old man asked me recently, as I went through my latest existiential crisis involving being disappointed by emotionally unreliable relationships:


"Once you have understood everything there is to be understood, what good will it do you?"


In this world we have many, many psycological and spiritual needs that seem to trump the fact that all we really need is food, water, waste, sex and sleep.

Not much has changed since we wore mud. Back then, men and women grouped together and called each other out after showing displays of strength and beauty.

Maybe, just maybe if one were to not overanalyze every little thing and take it all in stride, life would unveil more of it's subtle mysteries...many of which do not revolve around humans.

If you think mankind's silly posturing is depressing, then maybe you are putting too much emphasis on the goings-on of our little tribal shuffle.

In the overall scheme of things, it's all pretty insignificant really. That's the only part that bothers me, having to instill meaning where there truly is none.

But I'm a writer and an artist. That's my job.
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Old 08-13-07, 12:51 AM   #23
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Of all the 400,000,000,000,000* bits of information streaming at us per minute all we can ever hope to actualy grasp and retain is about 26*. (*completely made up for illustration purposes)

This isn't a defeatist 'give up'. But learn to enjoy the moment and don't get too entangled in trying to understand it all. The more you know the more you realise you don't know.

Eat, drink, laugh, screw, ride, love, skip etc etc
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Old 08-13-07, 03:30 AM   #24
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What are youze guize talkin' aboot?
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Old 08-13-07, 04:47 AM   #25
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What are youze guize talkin' aboot?
Don't get excited Stacey - someone is just learning to think.

So, it appears that the assumption is, the more you know, the less happy you are. How sad. Learn more - many very intelligent people who don't have their head stuck in the sand are very happy. There is a phase where you learn that you don't live in a magical kingdom and you are disappointed. Lots of people stay there instead of looking around and seeing how wonderful life really is.

I am going to make an assumption here that perhaps the original comments were in regard to photos of people and people's positive strokes about said photos. Well, my wife thinks I am handsome - I think she has bad eyesight. I think she is the most beautiful woman in the world - she is very good looking by most standards - but I see also her personality and her history with me. After all, as they say, beauty is more than skin deep.

Is this delusional? It would be for you - it isn't for me. If you are merely attracted by the physical, you will get what you deserve because the REALITY is that physically, we are all wasting away. Learn to deal with reality in a positive way instead of having it make you unhappy. You are unhappy because you feel reality isn't a positive thing. Learn to be happy about reality - much better don't you think? After all, the reality is that we choose what to be happy about.
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