What are other phrases similar to "Ignorance is Bliss."(Example: war is peace)

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How about "knowledge is suffering"?  I have always liked that phrase.  It seems to be contradictory on face value, but I think that there is much there which resonates as truth.  If we are looking for statements that might reveal true elements but appears to be akin to contradictory, how about the idea of "It ain't over until it's over?"  I mean, both parts seem to cancel one another out, but there is truth there.  I think that these types of statements cause one to think and reflect, to begin to better understand their meaning and not simply dismiss them as pointless or contradictory.  Another one that might be similar to these is one of my personal favorites, "It is what it is."  On one hand, again, both thoughts help to cancel one another out, but there is much in way of truth and power within the statement.

hadley818 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I like "knowledge is suffering"...I have never heard that one before.

I teach Franklin's aphorisms from "Poor Richard's Almanack" in my early American literature course, and there are several Franklin quotes that  seem contradictory but ring true:

"The way to be safe is never to be secure"

"Success has ruined many a man"

"There's many witty men whose brains can't fill their bellies"

"How many observe Christ's birthday: How few his precepts!"

"They who have nothing to trouble them will be troubled at nothing"

These are some of my favorites. Hope this helps!


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

So it seems that you are looking for phrases that seem to be oxymorons, right -- ones that seem like they can't be true but actually do have some amount of truth in them.  Here are a few of these that I can think of right off

  • The best defense is a good offense
  • The only way to get peace is to prepare for war
  • Less is more
  • Addition by subtraction (you see this a lot when a sports team gets better after they get rid of someone who was a good player but would always make trouble.
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"It pays to be stupid"   

Then there are some titles or lines that are paradoxical in works of Robert Frost:                 

from "Nothing Gold Can Stay"--"Nature's first green is gold."

from "The Gift Outright" --"And forthwith found salvation in surrender"

from "The Tuft of Flowers" --"Men work together whether they work together or apart.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I love talking about these types of things in little language lessons with my students. I have two wonderful books, one: Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs, and the other is Facts on File Dictionary of Cliches. Both are full of expressions and the origins, history, and alternative forms.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"There are some things you don't need to know."  I do agree that sometimes I'd rather not know what's going on.  That reminds me of another saying, "turn a blind eye" which means kind of the same thing, but from a position of authority.  You should do something about it, but you don't.