Friday, June 21, 2019

Is Ignorance Really Bliss? Let’s Find Out

Do you remember that old adage “Ignorance is bliss”? I don't know if that saying is true, but I would like to put it to the test. You see, I’ve been following mass media news stories pretty much every day for a long time, and it’s really cranking up the ol’ anxiety meter. Frankly, I’d rather not add ulcers and insomnia to an already growing list of annoying health complaints. 

I figure if I stop watching, listening to, and reading the relentless stream of hysterical news and commentary, maybe I will achieve a little bliss. Of course, this means I won’t be up to speed on the latest sound bites uttered by the Bad Orange Man, Comrade Bernie, Creepy Joe, or any of the other 900 famous and powerful people who scream for attention on a daily basis. And it’s true I will miss out on the indignant outrage on Twitter and Facebook that always occurs in response to these sound bites.

I’ve been keeping up with this never-ending flood of information on a daily basis for many years now, and what has it gotten me? Mostly anxiety and frustration.

For example, I recently learned about Kamala Harris’s outraged opinion about Ben Shapiro’s snarky observation about Bette Midler’s angry comment about the president’s latest insulting tweet.

That’s a lot of information for my brain to absorb. And similar events occur dozens of times every day, with each instance being THE most important news story of the year — for about a quarter of an hour. Then something else comes along for its 15 minutes of frenetic fame. 

I think the Bible puts it this way: What does it profit a man to gain the whole Twitterverse and lose his mind? (Or something like that.) 

I cannot honestly say any of the gigabytes of political and cultural data I’ve been shoving into my head in recent years has done me a darn bit of good. Unless having one’s central nervous system in a constant state of aggravation is considered a good thing.

Here is a list of people who I know way too much about, for no apparent useful reason: Adam Schiff, Mayor Pete, Alyssa Milano, Ann Coulter, Lena Dunham, Michael Avenatti, “Che” O.C., Alec Baldwin, Dana Loesch, Shannon Watts, Bill Nye the Pretend Science Guy, Joe Scarborough, Jonah Goldberg, Joy Behar, Jim Acosta, Michelle Malkin, and Rachel Maddow. (If you don’t recognize these people, oh, I envy you!)

I’ve absorbed volumes of data, but I’m certain it has not produced a scintilla of wisdom. And it definitely has not produced any serenity.

They say the Dali Lama meditates in an attempt to achieve total consciousness. Well, I want to find a technique that will help me achieve total ignorance. I suspect if I can do this, it will put me in a much better frame of mind. I also suspect it may involve smashing my iPad with a hammer and pouring an entire quart of maple syrup onto my laptop computer.

So, I’m going to try the dumbbell route for a while. Let’s go back to the blissful days of yore, circa 1990, when we didn’t worry too much about politics and current events. No more breathless news reports, and no more surfing the Internet for the latest outraged response to the indignant reply to the angry invective produced by some original comment that no one even remembers anymore.

I’m pretty sure I can live without all that information, and I bet I won’t be nearly as stressed out. And in November of 2020, if someone like Creepy or Orangy wins the presidential election, please don’t tell me about it. That’s a nugget of knowledge I can live without.

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