Any thoughts would help, thank you :-)

asked 13 Oct '09, 03:29

Adel's gravatar image


edited 13 Dec '09, 19:34

Jaianniah's gravatar image


Enlightenment simply means "lighten up".

It's such a simple and so profound. Don't make it more complicated that it has to be, just lighten up on the subject :)


answered 17 Oct '09, 13:38

wildlife's gravatar image


edited 11 Dec '09, 21:17

Vesuvius's gravatar image


Yes I guess you are right, thanks :-)

(18 Oct '09, 05:30) Adel

No it doesn't. Enlightenment means waking up. Lightening up may help the journey, but someone 'lightening up' doesn't mean they are enlightened. Far from it. From the dictionary : "A blessed state in which the individual transcends desire and suffering and attains Nirvana." I can hardly believe this answer was selected. I suppose this was the message Adel needed to hear.

(09 Dec '10, 21:07) Hu Ra

Thanks Hu Ra for letting us know that the word "enlightenment" is in the dictionary ;]

(09 Dec '10, 21:41) wildlife

You're welcome. Seems like you need a reasonable resource like the dictionary in order to transcend some of the nonsense that passes as good advice here. You can buy one at any bookstore or use a website like

(10 Dec '10, 19:10) Hu Ra

@Hu Ra - I find it interesting that you quote a dictionary definition for something that lies outside of the confines of reason and logic. No one has a monopoly on the meaning of enlightenment and certainly not any left-brained academic scholor. Have you looked into the idea of judgement?

(16 Dec '10, 02:02) Eddie

Eddie, there is only one enlightenment, despite ridiculous opinions to the contrary. I'll leave it to you to argue over it though.

(18 Dec '10, 10:19) Hu Ra

yes enlightement is when you see the light in samadhi. when you trancend this world and wake up to the truth.

(11 Jul '11, 04:18) white tiger
showing 2 of 7 show 5 more comments

There is no opposite for enlightenment. Because as a meaningful term we have conditionally created for ourselves, it becomes just another target to pursue. If you take out the perception of time (which is born in the mind) then the whole idea of enlightenment collapses on itself.

It's an illusion that we are not free so how can there be an opposite for that state. This state of "enlightenment", if you will, is the nature of all that is. It has no opposite. That which we process and believe to be real is make believe and it has no reality.

The prison is built around us in form, time and space and in that mix we have formed an identity for ourselves which must see itself as a credible individual living his or her life. Everything has been built up around us from infancy and has only become more dense as the years have gone by.

If anything and if it must be put into terms, enlightenment is the result of not adding but the taking away of our conceptual selves in order to make transparent what we already are. It's a callapse of an absence existence and we are what is left. In that recognition, it's realized that we have always been here. And every want and desire to become better than what we are at this very moment was a disguise for that very nature we all have within us. The mind can only turn that which is otherwise still, peaceful and whole in fragments and peace meal in order to keep churning it's own illusionary existence. It's finely skilled in the art of perpetually deviating what we truly are into separation and fear.


answered 06 Jul '10, 22:59

no1wakesup's gravatar image


Great answer! Thank you, you've just clarified something for me :)

(17 Jul '10, 12:44) Michaela

Nice. What happened to no1wakesup?

(16 Dec '10, 01:24) Eddie

Textbook answer would be "Ignorance".

And I think I can prove it linguistically. Enlightenment means "in the light". So the opposite of it would be "in the dark". "In the dark" is an idiom which means In a state of ignorance

Q.E.D. :)


answered 13 Oct '09, 03:55

Toshiro's gravatar image


Thanks Toshiro for your nice answer, does ''Enlightenment really means ''in the light'' ? I don't think so. let's say it does. but ''in the darkness'' doesn't mean ''in a state of ignorance''. it's just a negative state. so any negative state would be a state of ''in the dark''. like ''sadness'' , ''guilt'', ''sorrow'', and of course ''ignorance''. but let's say you are right. then what would be the opposite of ''knowledge'', if ''ignorance'' is the opposite of Enlightenment? .. thanks again :-)

(13 Oct '09, 07:29) Adel

In my opinion En-LIGHT-enment definitely means a state of light and that light symbolizes knowledge (again in my opinion). "In the dark" does indeed mean "in a state of ignorance" according to several dictionaries I checked.

(13 Oct '09, 12:08) Toshiro

Aha ! .. here is the key point in your idea : ''light symbolizes knowledge''. so the logical conclusion that follows would be that darkness symbolizes ignorance. and logically, that's 100% correct. but logic, is not always right. especially, spititually. in my opinion ... thank you for your inspiring answer.

(13 Oct '09, 17:33) Adel

These conversations about enlightenment by the unenlightened are positively hilarious!

(09 Dec '10, 21:08) Hu Ra
showing 2 of 4 show 2 more comments

Seeking enlightenment.


answered 08 Dec '10, 08:03

Hu%20Ra's gravatar image

Hu Ra

that's a closer.

(09 Dec '10, 12:23) riley

To me, if enlightenment is spiritual awareness, the opposite is lack of spiritual awareness, or being unenlightened or unaware. Some people may think of it as being spiritually asleep.

Ignorance isn't a bad word to use to cover that, though it may not define what you want to say precisely enough. I have appended the definition of enlightenment below - and it does mean more than one thing depending on context, and it is, to an extent, the context that gives the clarity. 'Ignorance' used in that context could be appropriate.


answered 13 Oct '09, 12:59

Rebecca's gravatar image


Hi Rebecca, thank you for your thoughts. yes exactly, ignorance isn't a bad word at all. it's logically correct. but spiritually ? .. I believe ''spiritual awareness'' is the true nature of enlightenment ''as an experience'' or a state of mind. but may I ask, awarness of what ? ..

(13 Oct '09, 17:52) Adel

Of course, though it hasn't been stated, it is assumed that you are referring to spiritual matters. The word 'enlightenment' can be used in many contexts. I can be enlightened about mathematics, or anything else!

(15 Oct '09, 00:05) Rebecca

Sri Aurobindo, the seeker who's work inspired the "Internal Yoga" (I think that's what it's called) did a internal journey with his consciousness onto the mind of the cells that make up the body. This search spanned many years.

He describes that there were layers of consciousness within every cell within our bodies that is accessing a database of consciousness that contains all the joy & all the suffering ever experienced by any human body since the inception of humanity.

He started going deeper & deeper into the layers of consciousness, (I believe into the lower astral plane), where he encountered more & more darkness in the form of suffering, disease, pain, anguish, abuse etc until he finally reached the very depth of "in his words" pure evil. Everything that was one way, the opposite of that existed down there. He describes an impenetrable wall of evil. But his instincts kept guiding him to go further & he began willing himself to penetrate this wall of evil.

I don't know how long it took him to break through, but break-through, he did. He described that as he kept pushing & pushing he could feel that the breakthrough was imminent & then suddenly it gave way & he was in the presence of a blinding light of the divine. At this stage he experienced something similar to enlightenment.

I think this is what is hinted at with the symbol of the snake swallowing its own tail, or the yin/yang, or the "as above, so below", or any opposite energies balancing each other.

By the way, the philosopher Itzhak Bentov, I believe, stumbled on this same realization. (Read Stalking the wild pendulum)

So what is on the other side of enlightenment? The beginning of the journey towards enlightenment.


answered 11 Dec '09, 21:49

The%20Traveller's gravatar image

The Traveller

edited 13 Dec '09, 18:52

Enlightenment for me would mean transcending the egoic state of suffering and desire. I guess the opposite, for me, would mean being stuck exactly where most of the human race is ( including myself a lot of the time) attached to the self conceptualized me with all the wants and suffering that connotates. Instead of looking at the world through an opaque pane of glass, with enlightenment the opaqueness lifts and we see everything with clarity ( at least that's my perception). To sum it up I think we're living the opposite of enlightenment most of the time and only when we begin to awake from that unconscious state do we start to take steps in the direction of enlightenment.


answered 11 Dec '09, 22:27

Michaela's gravatar image


My very first reaction to this question, and the word that popped into my mind, was this:


Fear makes us walk away from things we do not understand.

Fear makes us refuse to pursue our curiosity.

Fear keeps us from learning the "Truth" about everything we care to imagine or believe.

Fear is the enemy of knowledge and enlightenment.

Ironically, fear also keeps us from learning about that which we fear.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself". I believe FDR said that gem...

Lots and Lots of Light and Love, Jai


answered 13 Dec '09, 20:29

Jaianniah's gravatar image


edited 13 Dec '09, 23:42

There is a great saying by "Jonah" (see

"There is no seperation in all that exists, and when this is understood upon a heart level, enlightenment simply is."

With that being "Understood upon a heart level" I would say the opposite of enlightenment is "SEPERATION"


answered 01 Aug '10, 21:26

Assister's gravatar image


How about ignorance.


answered 02 Aug '10, 01:37

fred's gravatar image


I believe that the opposite of enlightenment does have to do with a lack of spiritual awareness or being unconscious spiritually. But at what point in the level of awareness does one become truly enlightened? Is it with the first awareness of thought or does one have to be at a certain level? I believe that once there is some consciousness then from that point one can only go deeper. The thing about enlightenment is that once you are there you can never go back into unconsciousness or ignorance as described.


answered 14 Oct '09, 15:11

Drham's gravatar image


thank you for your ''enlightened'' answer

(18 Oct '09, 05:32) Adel

My understanding of enlightenment is becoming aware of the all knowing or becoming one with the omniscience, omnipotent, omnipresent. You get a glimpse of the all knowing. Therefore, the opposite would be not knowing all.


answered 17 Oct '09, 13:55

RPuls's gravatar image


''becoming one with the omniscience, omnipotent, omnipresent''.. Exactly, that's why i believe that there is no opposite to it ! .. you see, only creators in existence have opposites. all states of mind, all feelings, all matter, all forms of energy. but the divine, contains all opposites within. knowledge is the opposite of ignorance, but enlightenment contains both. as it contains all. thank you so much

(18 Oct '09, 05:36) Adel

Many seem to think of enlightenment as (all knowing) but really if you look at any Zen Koan, you will see that all of those stories of enlightenment do not mean after finding the answer the person was (all knowing). It simply means he was troubled and could not understand, even deeply bothered at times, but after a while through something said or something experienced, he was enlightened.

Here is an example: two monks were traveling together, they came to a stream and a women was there trying to cross. The two monks needed to cross too. The one monk said, "hop on my back, I'll carry you across." They went across, and then on their way. Finely after many miles, the one monk says to the other, "I can't stand it any more! You know very well it is against our rules to even touch a girl and YOU! You carried her on your back across the water and mud!" The other looked back and said "I carried her across the water and mud then left her back there by the stream. You have been carrying her in your mind all of this time, and still have her in your mind now." With that the monk was enlightened.

I say my self say many times I was enlightened, I have many times over the years had experiences of enlightenment. Those moments of "Oh wow now I understand, everything is so clear now."

So for me the opposite is still being in confusion, no clarity of understanding, this includes worry, angry, fear, hate and other expressions of negative thoughts or feelings.


answered 13 Dec '09, 19:28

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 14 Dec '09, 09:41

but i agree with you wade someone enlightened does not know everything but he knows what is important to know and that change the way he see things. and because he see things in another way he might understand stuff that people do not understand. does it mean he knows everything? nope but he might no more on different things.

(11 Jul '11, 04:34) white tiger

nope but he might know more on different things.

(11 Jul '11, 04:34) white tiger

Thanks White Tiger, yes we can be enlightened on many things, it is like a moment of clarity where we find we really understand something that has been so elusive to us.

(11 Jul '11, 05:53) Wade Casaldi
showing 2 of 3 show 1 more comments

The opposite of to enlighten someone would be to lie, deceive, mislead, manipulate.

The opposite of a state of enlightenment would be a state of confusion and despair.


answered 10 Dec '10, 20:37

herzmeister's gravatar image


Irrogance, that is arrogance due to ignorance.


answered 10 Dec '10, 22:19

zvolkov's gravatar image


The opposite of enlightenment is spirituality, religion, life, and you.


answered 11 Dec '10, 00:39

mr.g's gravatar image


The opposite of Enlightenment is learning what you do not know, and acquiring the skills, wisdom and knowledge over time for the future, and to share with others on your journey of life!

We may not all know some of the same things, but in essence some of us may know of other things, that some may not know of. It is like learning a new skill with a group of people, and you realized that what you were doing all along was incorrect, because you did not know the proper way of doing it, or you were not enlightened!


answered 11 Dec '10, 01:54

Inactive%20User's gravatar image

Inactive User ♦♦

the opposite of enlightement is not enlightement. meaning someone that did not reach the light the truth by transcending this world. some see enlightement as a title but it is not because no one can tell if one is enlighten. the only one who knows is the one who is.


answered 11 Jul '11, 04:22

white%20tiger's gravatar image

white tiger

Hello Adel, enlightenment is clear understanding, unfolded, expansion so the opposite would be quarrel, folded, imprisoned or in other words a falacy held as an established opinion ... the meaning behind this drawing by Pierre-Yves Trémois "Apocalypse" is clear ;

have a great day :)


answered 30 Jan '12, 06:07

blubird%20two's gravatar image

blubird two

edited 30 Jan '12, 06:56

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