a puzzle

Some time ago, saw Life is Beautiful again.

One of the puzzles Roberto asks:

What is it: The more there is of it, the less you can see it.

The answer…


Darkness can be considered to be ignorance.

Though I write this, I don’t really know how ignorant I really am.

Because what the puzzle implies is that the more ignorant we are, the harder it is for us to see our own ignorance.

12 Responses to “a puzzle”

  1. Suresh Panje Says:

    Well, thank you for opening my eyes in this darkness of ignorance. Yes, tricky quiz and quips carry ample food for thought and action.

  2. preethi Says:

    Thats my favourite movie..Did think for a few seconds about the puzzle but the movie made a huge impact..
    Thanks for the answer:)
    Ignorance is BLiss…

  3. msanjay Says:

    True, ignorance is bliss… but one can’t help wondering… for how long? 🙂

    Just few more thoughts occurred along similar lines…

    Hmm… then there’s the classic Sankaracharya’s example of rope being mistaken for a snake. A person in darkness is blisfull – until he comes across a rope that he is tormented with fear as it appears to be a snake. Till he switches on his light. If we take anger as ignorance, then an arrogant angry person is very unlikely to acknowledge that he’s arrogant, simply because he’s too arrogant to do so. He may even acknowledge intellectually, “I’m arrogant, so what” – he may justify and defend “I’ve earned my right to be so, by my education and wealth and other circumstances”. Without being able to truly see the ugliness of his own arrogance. A person may harm others but intellectually may rationalise and justify his own actions as inevitable and correct, but without really being able to see his own cruelty.

    There are others who do not indulge in ignorant actions at all in the first place, simply because they can see.

    But there is the fraction who while acting in the darkness, somewhere catch a glimpse of the light. And then, if they don’t miss it, it could result in a change in them.

  4. bellur ramakrishna Says:

    Quoting from ‘The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad’ by Swami Krishnananda:
    Just as a flash of lightning pierces through the darkness of the cloud, so is this flash of consciousness which breaks through the darkness of ignorance. Vidanad vidyut: ‘That which breaks through darkness of any kind, that which dispels that atmosphere where we cannot see anything, that can be regarded as Vidyut, or lightning’. Just as lightning outside dispels darkness caused by the clouds or by the absence of the sun in the darkness of the night, so this lightning or flash of consciousness within, in meditation, dispels ignorance in respect of one self as well in respect of others. There are two kinds of ignorance – the external and the internal. In technicallanguage, we call external ignorance Sthula-Avidya and internal ignorance Mula-Avidya. Sthula-Avidya is the ignorance that covers the objects outside on account of which you cannot perceive them. The perception of an external object is made possible by the flash of an external light, but the internal being cannot be seen like that unless the Mula-Avidya, or the root ignorance is dispelled. It can be done only in deep meditation. So, the capacity to dispel darkness is common to both lightning inside and outside. With this commonness in mind, one can meditate on the flash of lightning, Vidyud brahmeti, ‘where lightning is Brahman’.Vidyud brahma ity ahuh; vidanad vidyut, vidyaty enam papmanah: ‘Thislight of consciousness breaks through not only the darkness of ignorance, but alsobreaks through the fortress of sins’. All sins are destroyed when this flash takes place inside, just as all the errors that you commit in dream are incapable ofproduction of any effect when you wake up. Even the worst of sins that you commit in dream have no effect when you wake up, merely because you have woken up, not that you have done something else to counteract the sins in dream. It is not one action that counteracts another action. It is mere illumination thatcounteracts all actions. This is the case with any sin, any action for the matter ofthat which is otherwise regarded as binding. No action can bind if illumination is there, just as no action in dream can bind you once you have woken up from the dream. But if you have not woken up, you have to reap the consequences thereof as the law of Karma operates. No law of Karma can operate where there is awakening from the realm where this law operates. So, it is this flash, this resplendence of consciousness which destroys not only the darkness of ignorance, but also sins of every kind. ‘One who knows this secretis afraid of nothing. He becomes a flash to every one else. He becomes a light to others. He illumines the lives of other people also’. Thus meditate, therefore, on ‘lightning as Brahman’.

  5. preethi Says:

    Ya toatlly agree with you on that..
    Ignorance is never bliss..
    I had a prolonged discussion on this topic on one the philosophy groups in Orkut.
    Shud have read ur reply earlier and used ur story:)

    But as Betrand russel said..
    The failure of civilization is when Knowledge exceeds wisdom.

  6. msanjay Says:

    Very relevant excerpt Bellur, thank you very much!

    Really surprising that the same thing we are discussing has been written in our great Upanishads! Makes me feel nothing we come up with is really new, everything is recycled… we just find new ways of expressing it 🙂

    Hmm I feel ignorance can be bliss while doing the ignorant actions (eg nice to overeat esp unhealthy food) – only thing is the ignorant bliss does not last – direct or indirect (in ways we cannot speculate at all) consequences (eg stomach upset, very trivial example) are inevitable! 😉

    That’s really an excellent quote making an extremely relevant point, thanks Preethi! Sharp reminder that knowledge without wisdom may just get accumulated increasing ego, no differently than a rich man may blindly accumulate more and more wealth!

    Though the below para is about the drug LSD, its important to note that a similar thing can just happen in a natural way to any human being, without depending on external chemicals to induce it (as Suresh has emphasised later in his post). Suresh writes… (font formatting mine)

    For instance, as we read the poetry of Sufi’s, we begin to feel that he paints his imagery with colours such as are unknown to us. He sees such dimensions in a flower which are not manifest to us. LSD Transports you to the same world. Each and every leaf becomes delightfully green, and each and every flower appears unique. The human eye then seems to possess a depth such as it has never before experienced. An ordinary chair becomes a living entity. The whole world takes on a new look, for that length of time at least, as if lightening has flashed in a dark night. And for a moment the whole scene — the tree, the flower and the winding path may become illumined. The lightening may disappear after a short while and darkness may again envelope everything, yet we cannot be the same men as we were before the lightening flashed.

    Even the people and relationships, maybe close but still we’ve unknowingly taken for granted to a certain extent – for many years – suddenly take on a new freshness with deeper meaning as well 🙂

  7. preethi Says:

    Bellur ..The quote is really gudd…It helped me understand law of Karma in a better way.

  8. bellur ramakrishna Says:

    thanks for those nice words.

    glad you found the quote helpful. your blog is really a treasure for those with a philosophical bent of mind. keep up the good work.
    best wishes and regards

  9. preethi Says:

    thank u

  10. a common man ಸಂಜಯ » Blog Archive » different colors for different situations Says:

    […] the old memory, knowing that any regrets about then would only mean regretting about now, because he still has no clue how much of darkness he’s engulfed in right now! […]

  11. a common man ಸಂಜಯ » Blog Archive » beyond anger management & stress management: ignorance management! Says:

    […] So the only true long term solution is to examine my ignorance but this is really hard to see – remember the puzzle! […]

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