Which is better? Being curious or being ignorant?
Curiosity is often thought of in positive light because as the saying goes “The more you know, the better.” Many accomplishments have been made because of curiosity. Several human advances in technology could not have occurred if certain people did not have the sudden drive to ask questions and learn about things. Curiosity is all about looking straight into the face of a mystery that could be potentially dangerous and overcoming it.
Now, here comes the tricky part. Ignorance means that you’d rather not look straight into the face of a potentially dangerous mystery and explore it. Ignorance holds the promise of not getting hurt by the truth while curiosity is impulsive and can lead you to progress or trouble. Choosing between curiosity and ignorance is tough, but I think there could be a balance between the two. It is necessary to have curiosity to make progress, but ignorance can protect you from dangerous things that you do not want to dive head first into. Probably the most important goal for anybody is to live their life whether it is to be successful or experience everything. To live your life, I guess you need to be curious and take some risks because being ignorant is not going to take you anywhere. You’ll be stuck in the same place. Curiosity allows progress so it should be the better of the two. Even if you crash and burn because of your curiosity, you at least tried. Sometimes, it seems like being curious about something is fated to happen. Like when you go to check the score for a test you took. You want to know how you did but you’re risking the danger of your score being a bad score as well. You feel like you just need to know. Currently, I am reading the play, The Oedipus Cycles, by Sophocles and it has the perfect example of curiosity being related to fate. In the first play out of the trilogy of plays, Oedipus is the king of Thebes. His state drastically changes in the next chapters. He is ordered by the greek gods to exile or execute the murderer of the previous king, King Laius, in order for the plague in Thebes to end. Little does he know, he, himself, is the one to blame. Oedipus takes every chance he can to find the criminal, but to his horror, he discovers that the criminal to blame is Oedipus himself. He then makes his eyes blind and exiles himself. In the end, he who chose to see the truth was in the end blinded. This instance shows that curiosity is harmful, but this could arguably be due to the fact that fate bound Oedipus to this curiosity. Oedipus’s curiosity may have ruined him for a little while, but Thebes was saved and he would soon accept his sins because he sees the real side of him for the first time.
Is ignorance really bliss?
Everyone has probably heard of the saying, “Ignorance is bliss.”, but I question: Is ignorance really bliss? Ignorance, I think leaves you with a feeling of uncertainty like something is missing. For example, when the scores to your last test has just been posted and you decide not to check for your score because there is the possibility that you did not do so great. So, you decide to believe the saying, “Ignorance is bliss.” Could it really be bliss when you are always worried about not knowing your score? Whether it is good or bad? The uncertainty can drive people mad. You would constantly wonder about that test score.
It seems natural for people to want something to be complete or be absolutely finished. It gives a sense of peace. Most people like the closure or certainty that curiosity brings. People worry about not knowing about something. Some even find the closure in knowing that they do not know some things. Using the Oedipus Cycles as another example, imagine if Oedipus decided not to press on the mystery revolving his birth parents. Oedipus would still have his family and vision, but Thebes would still be plagued. He would have been absolutely lost and uncertain about what to do to rid Thebes of the plague. The city of Thebes was only saved because Oedipus was brave enough to be curious about his mysterious birth parents. He suffered soon after saving Thebes from the plague, but he also got closure on his birthparents and Thebe’s safety. Oedipus also later accepted his sins that he uncovered from that bit of curiosity and died peacefully.
Fate vs. Free will
The idea of fate is usually associated with religion. Do the gods/god dictate awful deeds or is it just the person’s own fault? In The Oedipus Cycle by Sophocles, Oedipus discovers that he murdered his father and had children with his mother. Was this tragedy planned by the gods? Was it Oedipus’s fault? Back in the ancient greek times, where these plays took place, they strongly believed in their greek gods and fate. The ancient greeks would journey to the Delphic priestess that served Apollo and ask about their fate. The question is why would they ask the priestess if they knew their fate was already decided? It wouldn’t even matter because they would eventually find out what lay in their fate. Or the ancient greeks believed there was an alternative to fate, free will. There were many ancient greeks who defied the fate of the gods. Creon, the ruler after the banishment of Oedipus, did not allow burial for the fallen soldiers who marched against Thebes. Burial was a sacred ritual decreed by the gods as a lasting tradition. Now, in modern times, we’ve likened more to the idea of free will. It seems that as individualism increases in societies, the idea of free will becomes even more likable. People begin to live for themselves and think for themselves as well. They begin to think that they don’t need gods to do things for them, they’re fine on their own. I would define this as free will. Free will means that the people are deciding for themselves. Free will means that they will not be pulled under the strong current of fate and destiny and that they choose their own fate. This also brings in the possibility that they are creating their own fate.
If the ancient greeks were to see the angry modern teenagers insisting that they can “do what they want with their life”, they’d probably freak for sure. I think the idea of free will depends on how close you are involved with religion. Overall, free will has become more and more apparent as time progresses bringing with it the progress of individualism and the action of thinking for yourself.