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"Ignorance is bliss"--"Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College" (1742) by Thomas Gray

"However important it may be for all men to know the Truth, very few, nevertheless, are acquainted with it, because the majority are incapable of searching it themselves, or perhaps, do not wish the trouble. Thus we must not be astonished if the world is filled with vain and ridiculous opinions, and nothing is more capable of making them current than ignorance, which is the sole source of the false ideas that exist regarding the Divinity, the soul, and the spirit, and all the errors depending thereon." --Treatise of the Three Impostors

"I know that I know nothing"

"Who art thou? From whence dost thou come? What is thy employment? What will become of thee? These are questions that should be put to every being in the universe, but to which no one replies. I ask of plants by what virtue they grow, and how the same earth produces such a diversity of fruits? These insensible and mute beings, though enriched with a divine faculty, leave me to my own ignorance and to vain conjectures."--The Ignorant Philosopher (1766) by Voltaire

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Ignorance is a lack of knowledge. Ignorance is also the state of being ignorant or uninformed. For example, "Bill lost the debate because he was ignorant of that subject." In such a case the term is not pejorative, and may even be used as a self-descriptive term, as in, "I am ignorant of English history."

Another definition states that ignorance is the choice to not act or behave in accordance with regard to certain information in order to suit ones own needs or beliefs. For example, "I know better but I choose to ignore that and act in a way that behooves me." Ignorance is sometimes misinterpreted as a synonym of stupidity, and is as thus often taken as an insult, when really it is not.

In many if not all cases, ignorance is seen as a pleasant alternative to harsh reality.


From French ignorer, from Latin ignōrō (“to have no knowledge of, mistake, take no notice of, ignore”), from ignārus (“not knowing”), from in + gnārus (“knowing”), from gnōscō, nōscō; see know.

See also

  • Je ne sais quoi
  • Innocence
  • Literacy
  • Rational ignorance a voluntary state of ignorance that can occur when the cost of educating oneself on an issue exceeds the potential benefit that the knowledge would provide
  • Gnosis
  • Agnoiology – the theoretical study of the unknown and the unknowable
  • Agnotology – the study of culturally-induced ignorance or doubt
  • Avidyā (Hinduism), ignorance, a concept in Vedanta. Vidya is knowledge. Literally, Avidya is not knowledge.
  • Avidyā (Buddhism), ignorance as a concept in Buddhism
  • Fallibilism is the philosophical principle that human beings could be wrong about their beliefs, expectations, or their understanding of the world, and yet still be justified in holding their incorrect beliefs.
  • General Ignorance, the final round of the BBC quiz show QI (2003 onwards), which focuses on seemingly easy questions but whose obvious answers are wrong.
  • Hypocrisy
  • Ignorance Is Bliss
  • Innocence, a term sometimes used to indicate a naive lack of knowledge or understanding.
  • Jahiliyyah, Islamic concept for "ignorance of divine guidance".
  • Newspeak, the fictional language in the 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, written by George Orwell. A reduced language created by a totalitarian state as a tool to keep the population in a controlled state of ignorance, and Crimestop described as "protective stupidity".
  • Rational ignorance a voluntary state of ignorance that can occur when the cost of educating oneself on an issue exceeds the potential benefit that the knowledge would provide
  • Sociology of scientific ignorance, the study of ignorance as something relevant.
  • Nescience
  • Nescio

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ignorance" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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