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Monday, April 7, 2014

Bliss, Etc.

"Ignorance is bliss": Thomas Gray

How often do you find yourself agreeing with Thomas Gray's oft-quoted words? I'm way past ambivalent on this. Weeks can go by where I would assert these are the wisest words ever spoken. But as soon as the hibernating educator in me awakens, I reject Gray's words as pure folly.

Even within the short span of a single conversation, I can do an about face so abrupt that just listening to me can induce whiplash in others. I attempt to discuss something I've learned, citing sources of any information used. Moments later, I'll sincerely wish I'd been completely ignorant of the subject and had never opened my mouth.

And with respect to empathy, my ambivalence about Gray's pithy aphorism reaches Jekyll and Hyde proportions. Some days my openness to the suffering or misfortune of others is a gift - my feelings remind me I'm alive. Other days that same empathy is a curse and and I long for Gray's bliss. Which parts of this dilemma sound familiar to you?    

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