We are not alone in our desire to “not know the news!” Recent research submits, complex issues like the world or US financial status, environment, government matters and even energy usage are being blocked by consumers who choose to avoid being informed beyond the barest minimum. It seems many people would rather leave the important matters, they feel they have no control over anyway, best left to the “powers that be.”1
Is this behavior any different than the person who chooses to not watch the news, which could make him aware of danger in his community or neighborhood like a robbery or even a murder? Does he feel ignorance is bliss because if he knows about “said danger” he would just be worried about his family and unable to sleep?
What about the little person who believes in Santa, the Easter Bunny or even the Tooth Fairy? Is ignorance bliss?
I remember when my oldest made the discovery that we, her parents, supported the idea of Santa. Once she no longer believed, was both devastated and angry! In her mind we had lied to her. Add to this, as she thought it through and continued to question, added the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy to the equation. At that point I thought ignorance is--or at least would be-- bliss! I felt so sorry for her on one hand and guilty on the other for having fostered her imagination all those years. Would it have been better for both of us if we’d just been completely honest with our children about the traditions?
Our grown children have split decisions about this tradition. One, in fact, (the one who was angry with us when she learned the truth), chose to foster the tradition with her children, while two of her siblings did not. A fourth child will be dealing with this issue in just a year, perhaps even as early as this year, and we still have one son not yet married! As grandparents we need to be aware of each of our grown children’s feelings and decisions on the matter. It again raises the question: Is ignorance bliss?
It is said “knowledge is power.” Does the child feel power by no longer believing in the fantasy of Santa, the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, or does he feel cheated? Would the knowledge of a prowler in a neighborhood provide power or ignite irrational fear? Does allowing the “powers that be” to make life changing decisions for consumers eliminate personal consequences? Does it make us unaccountable for our own behavior regarding those important issues, yet give us the “power” to blame someone else when things are going badly?
I’m not certain there are any concrete right or wrong answers to any of these questions. But they certainly deserve conversation. So I challenge you to consider your own thoughts on “ignorance is bliss” and when it applies, and share your thoughts!