About Me

My name is Spencer. I'm 23 years old, and I'm a junior at Princeton. So far college has taken me five years. I've taken time off to work, transferred to USC and come back, and learned a lot along the way.

I like to think about life and what I'm going to do with mine.

I've met a lot of people my age with the same sorts of thoughts so feel free to read, take surveys, and comment.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Listen and learn: Ignorance is bliss

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. I will now continue on with my series of posts about a conversation I had with a dear friend's father who I have dubbed Kevin for simplicity's sake.

In my last post, Perfection, I recalled what advice Kevin gave me about perfection: to strive for it, but never expect it. As we continued onward into deeper and more personal beliefs and ideas, I came to the realization that many people never contemplate maturity, perfection, college, stress, or life etc as I did with Kevin. To be blunt about it, I believe that many people either do not want to think about such things or simply aren't capable of thinking in such a way.

That does not mean that I find most people stupid or incapable, I am only suggesting that such deep contemplation of ideas requires a lot of maturity, life experience, and big picture thinking. Many people, as I have discussed, lack such a maturity until they are much older, if at all, and some cannot see past the little details and onto the big picture.

Some may realize that there is far more inside themselves to contemplate, but try as best they can to avoid confrontation and ignore any deep thoughts. In my opinion, the reason is fairly simple: thinking so deeply about one's life may open doors that one may not want to look behind. For example, a capable, relatively smart person who works a blue-collar job may not want to think about his or her life in the grand scheme of things. He or she may know, deep down, that they really don't like his or her life, job, or marriage so that person chooses to ignore any such thoughts (either subconsciously or on purpose depending on the person). By going on with life and not worrying about those thoughts, such a person can continue "fooling" him or herself into happiness. I say "fooling" because it's not true bliss, but simply the illusion of such a feeling; yet, one cannot deny that if a person really believes that he or she is happy, then that individual is no doubt happy as a clam. For those people, if you feel and believe it, then it doesn't matter whether or not it's actually true.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are those people who constantly inspect their lives and point out what's gone wrong or not according to some plan. Once someone like that begins to contemplate his or her life in such a way, he or she will most likely never think about him or herself in the same way again. Things will never be quite good enough or "according to plan," and such thoughts can only lead to extreme amounts of stress and depression.

Nevertheless, there are many types of people that range the gamut of said descriptions, but I'd say that most people are somewhere in the middle. Most of the time, they are happy go lucky, but on down days, they sulk and get depressed about their lives, and in many cases, once a person takes that first step into deeper thought, along comes a so-called "mid-life crisis," where that individual wonders who they are. Ultimately, my realization gave a lot of credence to the saying: "Ignorance is bliss." Many people choose to ignore or cannot think so deeply, and by doing so, they "fool" themselves into bliss.

In the end, I can't tell whether I envy the person who never gets to explore such areas of his or her mind, or whether I feel sorry for the person who cannot help but sorrowfully contemplate his or her life because it's not the way they thought it would be.

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