Ignorant Bliss

Ignorant Bliss

Just as there is a disagreement about origin of the phrase, there are differing explanations of the meaning “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.


When I was a lad of 13, I saw a poster of the three monkeys and asked my mom what it meant. My mother was a 4-foot 11-inch 98 pound old school Norwegian Lutheran and tough as nails.


Wanting to protect me from the evils of the 1950’s “Rock N Roll” culture of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Fats Domino; my mother said that “see no evil” meant don’t look at girly magazines. “Hear no evil” meant listen only to the music of the 40’s. “Speak no evil” meant don’t talk like your father. But that was 66 years ago!


According to Wikipedia, in the Buddhist tradition, the tenets of the proverb are about not dwelling on evil thoughts. In the Western world, both the proverb and the image are often used to refer to a lack of moral responsibility on the part of people who refuse to acknowledge impropriety, looking the other way, or feigning ignorance.


This last definition best describes the attitude of so many who want to ignore our neighbors without homes and our neighbors with insufficient income. Jesus said the poor will always be with you. He certainly nailed that one. Closing our eyes to the problem won’t solve anything.



Pastor Alan

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