Is Ignorance Bliss?

by epi

What do you want?

From what?

From anything.

That’s too broad.

Okay, then pick something. Anything.

This conversation?

Sure.

I don’t know.

Whatever. And maybe you should figure that out.

Maybe, or maybe I shouldn’t.

What can you mean by that?

I’m not sure. But, maybe somethings are better left unknown.

Ah, the “ignorance is bliss” ideology.

Isn’t it though?

Isn’t what?

Isn’t ignorance bliss?

No.

Why?

Because, obviously, it’s better to know. It’s better that you know…

…know what?

Anything. It’s better that you know anything. Without knowledge, there can be no action.

You’re assuming two things: one, that action is purely based on knowledge, and two, that action needs to occur.

But ignorance isn’t honest!!

On the contrary, it may be the only honesty. If I find a $50 dollar bill in a pair of jeans that I wouldn’t let you borrow… I can assume it’s mine. But what if I knew that you borrowed them anyway? Since I hadn’t had a 50 dollar bill in my possession since I owned the pants, I could assume that it must be yours.

So you should return it.

Should I? You borrowed my pants without my permission. You stole them. And yes, you may have then returned them, but that doesn’t negate the original theft.

But it’s still my $50.

Is it?

Yes.

Why should I return it?

Because it’s mine. Keeping it isn’t honest. Which proves my point you know.

The only time it wouldn’t be honest is if I know it’s yours.

But it is mine.

Yes… but what if I didn’t know that? What if I’d just found $50 in a pair of jeans I own?

Ignorance is bliss.

Exactly.

But what if you had cancer?

Okay.

What if you had cancer and it could be cured but only if you caught it in time. Would ignorance be bliss then?

It depends.

On what?!

Whether or not it’d be caught in time even if I knew.

Let’s say it would.

And could you guarantee that I’d be healed?

Not 100%, but close…

So what if I was one of the people in the miniscule percentage that wouldn’t be healed. And, not knowing this, I go through a year and a half of chemo… only to die.

Well, at least you stood a chance.

But what if, without the chemo, I could’ve lived a happy unsick life for 9 of those 18 months.

Since when did this become an argument about quality versus quantity of life?

It always has been. That’s the point of blissful ignorance. What you don’t know can’t hurt you.

But it does hurt you, it kills you.

So does the chemo.

But that’s not the point. Or maybe it is… but in any case, the chemo gave you a chance.

At what price though? &the same with the $50. Both times I have to agonize about the consequences of making the wrong choice, weighing those consequences against the benefits of the right choice. Knowing that whatever choice I make, right or wrong, I can’t go back.

But at least you HAVE a choice.

But I have a choice no matter what: to remain in ignorance or to seek knowledge.

What if the chemo would’ve healed you? What if I knew you had cancer and I knew with 100% certainty that you could be healed & I didn’t tell you? Is ignorance bliss then?

Ignorance is to be powerless.

And powerlessness is bliss too?

If you choose to be powerless, I believe it can be.

Wait, you never answered my question!

Yes, I did.

No, you didn’t.

If I choose to be powerless, it’s bliss. In your scenario, you are taking power. I don’t have a choice. In other situations, if I feel sick, I can choose to go to a doctor… or I can’t. If I find $50 in my pants, I can choose to ask you if you borrowed my pants or I can’t. Even if I assume I know what the answer is, I don’t know with 100% certainty. I can choose to believe that the answer I want to be right, is (even if it is delusional).

But, if you know you have a choice, and you choose not to make it…

I make a choice no matter what. If I choose not to make a decision, I’m subsequently choosing ignorance.

But if you suspect that I might’ve borrowed your pants and left $50 in them, and you keep the $50, you’re being dishonest.

In a way, I guess.

Which proves me right.

Only partly. Maybe you’re right & ignorance is dishonest. But, it’s also bliss. Because at the end of the day… I honestly didn’t know. Do you see now?

Perhaps. But I don’t believe it.

You will. One day. You’ll understand.

I hope not.

Me too. But I know differently. One day you’ll know it too.

Well, I don’t know it now. And what I don’t know, can’t hurt…

Exactly.

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