The Wisdom of Ignorance

It may seem like a misnomer to discuss the wisdom of being ignorant. Ignorance, defined as a lack of knowledge or information, is not generally viewed as a positive attribute. But I would suggest that it is essential for us to thrive in modern society.

If we weren’t ignorant about certain things, we wouldn’t have the capacity to become an expert or specialist in other things. There is simply too much information to process everything. Thus, with intentional ignorance each of us can focus on what is most important, and hopefully most fulfilling. 

Fortunately, knowledge that may be burdensome for one person to master is likely the passion of another. This is essential for a functional economy – we value one another’s expertise where we are ignorant, and vice versa.

In the bigger picture, intentional ignorance may be even more beneficial. Much of the information we have access to today is delivered via a hyper-sensationalized clickbait format. Negativity, scandal, and outrage gets clicks.

Is this additive or toxic? Does it enhance or diminish your happiness? I suppose this is for each of us to decide. We may not be able to control how the “media” fashions its content, but we can choose what we pay attention to and allow into our minds.

As we approach Thanksgiving and the holiday season, be wise by exercising ignorance in those things that detract from your happiness, and focus your time and attention on what really matters. I wish you an intentionally joyous season.