Turning a Blind Eye: Is Ignorance Ever Bliss?
In a speech entitled Is There an Artificial God? held at Magdelene College in Cambridge, Douglas Adams asked his audience to “… imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in—an interesting hole I find myself in—fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it’s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for” (Adams). In this part of his speech, Adams was addressing the tendency of the world’s population to ignore their surroundings and to go on with life without a worry for the future.
Speech: Douglas Adams’ Is There an Artificial God?, held at Magdelene College, Cambridge, 1998.
Biography: Concise biography of Douglas Adams.
I think that Adams’ metaphor of the puddle is extremely relevant in our world today as we, like the puddle, are paying no attention to many things that threaten us and our existence, in the hope that they will just go away. What I am mostly alluding to is global warming, which—though we have scientific evidence proving it exists and that it is doing damage to our planet—people continue to insist on ignoring. Adams addresses the idea in his speech that instead of facing the unstoppable and merely adjusting their perspectives, people have an inclination toward completely avoiding the topic. This is perfectly understandable and is part of human nature, but it is an attitude that too many in our world—in our country—have adopted and live their lives by.
Living this way does not allow for necessary measures to be taken against an impending disaster (or whatever the case may be) or even—in the case of something inevitable—just the changing of one’s mentality in preparation for the event. To those who may argue that this philosophy of embracing the inevitable (or maybe trying to do something about it) is—in the long run—useless as a person would spend life worrying and not living, I shake my head because really opening one’s eyes to reality not only broadens one’s perspective on life but allows one to enjoy it more fully, no matter what it entails.
Proposition: When faced with the unpreventable, people often have a tendency to turn a blind eye and hope fate will leave them alone.