I discovered a television show called Catfish while I was lying down over the last few weeks because I’ve been suffering from Meniere’s disease. Though I know I need to stay calm to ease the attacks of vertigo from the disease, I’ve watched the show with shock that soon turned to anger, and the more I watched, the more difficult I found it to believe my eyes. I was so hypnotized that I could not press the “stop” button on the remote control.
As I observed how people build “emotional” relationships through social media without ever setting eyes on each other, and how they turn a blind eye to reality to avoid disappointment, a single sentence echoed in my mind: ignorance is bliss.
For 10 years, couples communicate through social media and text each other. Of course, they love each other. Yet they’ve never seen one another? Though the time frames of the featured stories are different, their essence is identical: one party insists on remaining hidden, coming up with various excuses; the other who cannot see her/his most beloved darling eventually becomes suspicious enough to call the Catfish team. The team starts its investigation with a simple Google search and solves the mystery by finding the hidden party and bringing both sides face to face. We witness how fake profiles have tricked victims from every age group and every culture who reached out to Catfish for help. Ignorance is bliss.
“I believe that he loves me.”
“I noticed some contradictions but I believe in the love between us.”
“I believe what she told me but…”
Then comes a classic answer from the side who perpetrated the con:
“I lied to you about most of the things except my feelings…. They were real….”
What does it take to understand the love born out of such reality and believe in such a love?
What is it to believe? What is the difference between belief without foundation and belief based on concrete facts? Believing but how? Believing but why? Are reasons needed to believe, or can belief occur without reason? When one says that one believes, how can we explain the origins of that particular belief? How should we define the nature of belief when it seems baseless?
My head spins in one direction and the world in another. Here are people who spin endlessly on a fixed axis, intoxicated with their denial of reality. Everything is spinning… but the questions spinning round in my head tire me the most. Ignorance is bliss.
The book, The Secret, revealed life’s secrets to many millions of readers. So why does the world remain as it is? The book is still out on the shelves, yet the majority are still unhappy. I don’t understand how.
I don’t understand how violence escalates in the world while thousands of people make an extraordinary effort to build peace within themselves with meditation and within the world with the power of thought or breath control. Ignorance is bliss.
While journalists are imprisoned in countries which their leaders claim to be democratically ruled, while corruption of one leader after another is revealed, and while people waste year after year of their lives in jail simply because they’ve voiced opposition, how is it that these countries’ citizens continue to choose to believe in their leaders? How can they believe that they are democratically ruled?
Isn’t it shocking in the extreme that hostility and wars proliferate although millions of us believe in religions that exhort us to love our neighbors, be better people, turn the other cheek: religions that admonish us not to steal, not to lie, and not to deceive others? I find it almost impossible to understand those who cut off and exhibit people’s heads, those who use bombs to kill babies, in this era, in the name of their religion. Ignorance is bliss.
As I think of all this, everything spins more and more. I do my best to believe that my head is not spinning, yet when I try to stand, my balance is not there.
“Why are you standing Meltem?” they ask.
“I believe my head is not spinning?”
As long as you say I believe, the others have no right to oppose you.
Sadly, reality and belief are different entities.
Sadly, reality stands weak next to belief.
Sadly, as long as you say I believe, you don’t need any concrete foundation for your claim. It isn’t ignorance: ignoring is bliss.
Meltem Arıkan is a Turkish novelist and playwright. Her fourth novel Yeter Tenimi Acıtmayın (Stop Hurting My Flesh) was banned in early 2004 by the Committee to Protect the Minors from Obscene Publications, with the accusation of "Writing about the non-existing incest fact in Turkey, attempting to disturb the Turkish family order with a feminist approach.” The ban was lifted after two months and Arıkan has been awarded with “Freedom of Idea and Statement Prize 2004” by the Turkish Publishers’ Association. She published her 9th novel in 2009. Stop Hurting My Flesh was recently republished in Turkish and will be published in English in 2014.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS