No more bliss


I had a week of feeling incredibly down. Generally speaking, I’m what you could call a happy person. I rarely complain about something – and that’s not due to my lack of sad moments, but rather because I realise how incredibly shallow and 1st world-ish they are. I know how lucky I am and my way of showing my gratitude is not complaining about silly stuff. However, while it’s in my nature to be optimistic and energetic, it’s also a choice. Maintaining myself happy and innocent in a cynical and pessimistic city is, sometimes, confusing.

Which brings me to my (recurring) problem: is ignorance truly bliss? I invented a word that characterizes me: a progressihedonist. My ultimate purpose is evolution, but I’m doing it while maximizing my momentary pleasure and happiness. However, once in a while, I hear myself: my evolution and my happiness. What an incredibly egoistic life purpose. A life purpose that worked out so far – actually, it worked out so well that I’m living in a bubble. A bubble in which I’m surrounded by challenging friends, in which I’m working with the industry leaders, in which I’m going to feel-good places and drink feel-good wine. But this is all about me. Yes, I’m inherently good to people, my negative thoughts are almost non-existent and I’m always the one defending and seeing the good in others. But… that’s not enough, is it?

Last week, I walked home, something I rarely do. It’s part of my living in a bubble story – since I live in an ill-famed neighborhood, I choose to avoid its reality as much as I can. But last week, I took off my optimistic lenses, the lenses that see cute mother-kid moments on the street or the architectural uniqueness of a building. I tried to see the world around me as if I was in this city for the first time. And it hit me so hard. I saw sadness in so many eyes. I saw mud, litter, destroyed buildings. And it suddenly felt I should do more. I should be more. It should’t be about me, it should be about us. And I should do something that would impact something other than my own well-being.

But how do I do that without fundamentally changing who I am? It would automatically mean getting out of my bubble and choosing not to be ignorant anymore. It would make me actively aware of what’s happening around me, but it would also make me a whole lot less happy. How do I find a balance?

I should rephrase the earlier question, though. The issue is not whether ignorance is bliss — it clearly is, and I’m the living proof. The question is: is ignorance part of a too egoistic way of living one’s life? And does it limit my experience as a human being?

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