Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Cost of Thinking

Ignorance is bliss. Something in us recoils from this statement and yet understands its profundity. After all, Adam and Eve lived in paradise without the knowledge of good and evil. Intellectual elites seem to be crotchety, disgruntled and detached. And the teenage girl driving in her car, with the windows down and radio blasting Lady Gaga, seems quite content and happy in her oblivion to the good or evil which pours from the speakers. So why pursue the knowledge thereof?

I think it fair to assert that many, especially youth, are passively complicit in living this proposition if not entirely proactive in their avoidance of thinking deeply. But are these, we'll call them "sleepers", in bliss? Maybe, for a time, but what of the big questions? The questions which everyone thinks and which every person is confronted in the solitude and silence. Is the sleeper filled with bliss when asked about eternity, pupose, goodness, God? Nay, the sleeper is filled with horror, and resigns himself to the convenient lie that permits the slumber to continue. The squirmy, hollow, convictionless responses tells a story of mother bliss abandoning her children at the steps of reality. These unhappy and sleepy orphans testify to the falsity of their own maxim.

However, an element of truth is present in the phrase. Consider Ecclesiastes 1:18, "In much wisdom there is much grief. And increased knowledge means increased pain." So giving up ignorance precedes an inverse effect of gaining grief and pain. And coming to understand ultimate Truth and wisdom means a crucifixion of yourself (Luke 9:23). Even the serious thinking pagan knows this, for Socrates said, "is not philosophy the art of learning how to die?" But the pain and grief is joyfully endured because the Christian, the one who loves God with all his mind, knows how it ends: resurrection unto eternal life - eternal life with the Redeemer. And so, followers of Christ, know and grow in understanding of the way things are, but suffer in doing so. And it is a beautiful thing, for Paul said "we glory in our sufferings." (Romans 5:3)

1 comment:

  1. Your post reminds be of this quote that was actually in a chronic illness lecture I listened to a few weeks back..."For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived, and dishonest--but the myth--persistant, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -JFK