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‘Ignorance is bliss.’

I’ve heard the phrase a thousand times but I’ve never stopped to consider the truth behind it. Is ignorance really bliss? Is it truly better to be happy by lacking the knowledge of a darker reality?

I suppose the answer would depend on how you define ignorance. Ignorance, at its most basic definition, is the lack of knowledge or information. Throughout history, humans have had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and understanding. We want to know how things happen and why things happen and we want to develop. So why is it suggested that defying our basic human nature would make us happier?

Neuroscientists have recently proposed that the reason humans take pleasure from grasping new knowledge is due to a release of a natural opium-like substance in the brain. Simply put: understanding something new makes the brain feel good. So surely ignorance would be an unfavourable outcome?

Or is the phrase ‘ignorance is bliss’, referring only to the lack of awareness for negative situations? Whether you are conscious of the detrimental aspects of your life or not does not change the fact that those detrimental aspects exist. Is it better to be oblivious┬áto something that could cause you emotional or physical pain, or is it better to be mindful of problem so you can work for a solution? For example, if you’re asleep in a burning building, is it better to stay asleep, and perish none-the-wiser, or is it better to wake up and fight for a way out?

However, ignorance does unburden you from the stress and worry that can be triggered when you discover something unfavourable. Ignorance can save you from that horrible sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as you hear those words you just don’t want to hear, those words that cannot be unheard.

As such, small amounts of ignorance can provide happiness on a short-term scale.

Overall, ignorance can save you from immediate pain or upset and can therefore provide a sort of bliss. But in this case, bliss is not necessarily the best thing. Being unaware of a problem does not mean the problem does not exist, and only after discovering and understanding a situation can you work for a solution. People have an incredible ability to thrive despite adverse circumstances.

Ignorance can provide bliss, but true and complete bliss can only come from being fully aware.

How many decades, centuries, millennia have people spent trying to define love?

Four little letters; a whole world of meanings.

It’s involuntary; it’s unavoidable; it’s uncontrollable. We cannot command or demand love anymore than we can can change the Sun or the Stars.

Love is captivating. Whether you are in love, or in the presence of love, a certain aura flows through the air and it’s intoxicating. To give yourself to another human, mind, body and soul is a beautiful sensation. A beautiful sensation that, once had, is not so easily relinquished.

You can cling to love but ultimately, it is beyond your control. Does love ever really leave you? Is it ever entirely forgotten?

It is the most mysterious of emotions.

Love is acceptance. Acceptance of the good and bad, the easy and the difficult. It is accepting a person for who they are, and who they can be. And it is knowing that you have been accepted too, for all of your flaws and all of your failings.

Love is deeper than the oceans, and just as mystifying. Falling in love is just that: falling. It’s like jumping off of a cliff and trusting in someone to catch you.

Love is scary. Fear of rejection, fear of a broken heart, it can all be too much for some. But the risk is worth it. Because when you find love, when you find that enchanting sensation of existing as one with another person, it is the greatest reward you can hope for.

Love is the ultimate motivation. Not just romantic love, but the love for your friends and for your family, it can provoke you to do unthinkable things. Driven by love, you can accomplish more than you could ever imagine.

Love is a challenge. It’s not easy to relinquish control, but to fall in love is to do just that. A small spark can turn into a raging flame, and to be in control of that flame, to not let it spiral out of control, is a difficulty.

Love is a risk. The deeper the emotional connection, the more you have to lose. And that loss can be devastating.

You can embrace love, or you can fight it, but you cannot control how and when love will enter your life. It can strike like lightning – erratic and invincible. At the same time, love can enter your life subtly. It can creep up on you, and can sneak into your life without you noticing, until suddenly your whole world is changed.

Many people think that love is the destination, but love is the journey. From that first kiss to that first fight. It has its ups and downs; its twists and turns; its passion and its anger. You can’t predict the path that love will take you down, but you have to trust that the happiness you experience will be worth it.

So, what is love? It’s human nature to put labels on things, but maybe love is one of those things that shouldn’t be defined.

Love is incomprehensible, and that’s what makes it beautiful.