Rules for Intrepid Living: Rule #21.

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Rule #21. Ignorance isn’t bliss; ignorance is merely ignorance. Knowledge is power.

Can you recall the idyllic days of your teenage years, spent wild and free? Then, remember when you first reached adulthood, or perhaps your post-collegiate years, full of hope for the future, only to realize that now you had a schedule to keep, bills to pay, and a slew of adult responsibilities.

“I didn’t realize it would be so hard,” many of us sighed.

“Well,” someone would reply, “ignorance is bliss.”

And sure, it seems like it’s true. As children most of us didn’t have to worry about money, jobs, responsibilities beyond cleaning our rooms or mowing our yards. I can see why people think ignorance is bliss. After all what you don’t know can’t hurt you.
Except that it can. What you don’t know absolutely can hurt you, and predatory lenders, con-men, manipulative significant others, muggers, and crummy bosses are counting on that. What you don’t know can hurt you; that’s why getting stabbed in the back isn’t better than up front betrayal, and why a sucker punch is no less hurtful than a cross you see coming.

Ignorance isn’t bliss, because knowledge is power. Knowing that someone is two-faced protects you from the possibility of getting stabbed in the back. Seeing the punch coming gives you the opportunity to block it. Knowledge will empower you, so don’t hide from it. There is nothing so frightening, dangerous, or controversial that you shouldn’t learn about it. It is only by learning about horrible things that we can ascertain how to overcome or prevent them. Ignorance causes problems. Knowledge solves them.

Ignorance isn’t bliss. High school isn’t the best time of your life, love isn’t all you need, the Nigerian prince won’t be sending you money, and the emperor is naked. Ignorance can’t confront these issues; knowledge can. Knowledge, properly applied, leads to experience. Experience leads to wisdom. Wisdom will lead you to happiness, even in the face of negative experiences, because it will empower you to over come the bad and find the good. Ignorance, has no such power.

So stay the course, and never cease educating yourself. Learn all you can about the world and yourself. Read more, experience more, question more. Fill yourself with knowledge. Because ignorance isn’t bliss; ignorance is merely ignorance. Knowledge, however, is power.

“Rules for Intrepid Living” is an ongoing weekly article that gives potential guidelines for how we can all live a bit more of an intrepid life.

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