An Essay on Liberal Arts and Sciences: Ignorance is Bliss

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The statement, ignorance is bliss implies that not having information about something negative makes one happy. Ignorance might be motivated or natural due to inadequate education or limited access to information. Some people find motivated ignorance to be invaluable especially in avoiding information that they perceive to distraught their peace of mind by instilling anxiety. However, despite ignorance being blissful, the happiness brought by motivated ignorance is easily short-lived because it only exists in the short run and might prove even more harmful in the long run as discussed in the following paper.

Knowledge is power, gaining invaluable information, however bitter it might be, is critical for the making of crucial decisions in life. It is reasonable that individuals seek knowledge over motivated ignorance all the time since ignorance might be appealing in the short run, but it might have far-reaching consequences in the long run. Instead of ignoring things that might seem negative, people should instead seek knowledge of the issues and tackle the problems before they get complicated. Motivated ignorance is not mitigation to a problem but a time bomb whose explosion will be terrible. Individuals should learn as much as they can about a problem and come up with solutions that will help them and others in handling the same problems in the future (Thagard, 2013). There are several cases in which motivated ignorance might seem to be the better option but only in the short run. There are several examples to illustrate that indeed ignorance is just blissful in the short run but dangerous in the long run. For example, if one has the option of going for a medical checkup. By choosing to go for a medical checkup, an individual will discover an illness they are suffering from and be able to seek treatment while the disease is at its earlier stages. On the other hand, by not going for checkup and believing that one is healthy, there is a possibility of discovering the disease when it is already too late. Governments and corporates are also fond of using the technique of motivated ignorance to conceal some information about their policies and products respectively in order to gain people’s loyalty (Thagard, 2013). In such a situation, citizens or customers have the option of researching to find out the truth about what they are being told or choose not to stress themselves and believe in everything they are told. Whatever choice they make will have consequences. However, the most rational decision, in this case, will be to get as much information as possible then use it to make a rational decision.

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Those of a contrary opinion argue that in some instances, acquisition of knowledge about social issues might make us more distraught instead of being happy. In such cases, one is better off not having information about such issues. In order to achieve happiness in life, people should utilize motivated ignorance by remaining as less informed as possible about negative issues that they cannot change. This is because the acquisition of such information will make them more disturbed and unsettled hence robbing them the little happiness they had prior to getting informed (Anchor, 2011). A recent psychological study shows that highly recommended medical tests like prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and mammograms for breast cancer cause more harm than good to the patients (Thagard, 2013). Despite the test being well-intentioned, the patient ends up being stressed after realizing their poor medical status. It, therefore, follows that one will be better off not knowing that they are suffering from an incurable disease than being informed about their status as it deprives them happiness. It is also observed that children tend to be relatively happier compared to adults due to their innocence and lack of information on issues that might negatively impact on their happiness (Kunst, 2011). Also if a person has a medical condition that will only allow them to live for a short period, they will be better off not knowing it. Lastly, if one takes a dog to a vet for checkup and the vet diagnoses that the dog to have a medical condition that will affect its health, it is very likely that the owner of the pet will be disturbed while the dog will continue being playful as it has no idea that it is sick (Nemko, 2016).

Those in support of the saying that ignorance is bliss could be right but only on selected issues and in the short run since the happiness eventually gets short-lived by reality. For instance, as much as it is true that one might avoid being stressful by not going for a medical checkup, it will be worse if indeed the individual is sick only that the symptoms are still not observable. The person will eventually discover the problem when it is already too late. If they went for a medical checkup, they would have been informed on their situation earlier, and the information would be vital in helping them seek medical treatment and possible mitigation of the problem. Children, on the other hand, are generally happy but there is always someone constantly worried and gathering information on how to make sure that they are fine.

In conclusion, while the saying, “Ignorance is bliss” might be popular and true in some context, in general, information is power, and everyone should try to be as informed as possible. In most instances, ignorance only proves to be blissful in the short run, but in the end, it can be dangerous. Knowing the truth, on the other hand, can be bitter in the short run but the long run benefits of the information gained outweighs the disadvantages. It, therefore, follows that ignorance is not always bliss, but information is power all the time.

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