Have you ever noticed how sweetness can suddenly turn bitter in your mouth? How easily what was once thought to be beautiful, is rendered hideous in hindsight because a light dissolves the shadows, and the ugliness of the truth is no longer concealed?
Have you ever wanted to “un-know” something? To revert to blissful ignorance, and be dispossessed of some troubling fact?
Isn’t it ironic how we are unaware that our food is bland, until we discover spices? How we believe that our death will not be untimely until we visit the doctor? How we believe a piece of art to be beautiful, until we notice a smear that mars the canvas? How we are content with our own intelligence, until we find the gaping holes in our knowledge? We are fulfilled by a relationship, until we discover that our lover is being categorically unfaithful? We are happy with what we know, until we become aware of all that we are ignorant of.
And then we acquire some certain knowledge that changes everything we have come to accept as real, and suddenly what we were once perfectly content with — has been spoiled forever, it will never be enough to placate us in the future. Suddenly, we “realize” the earlier situation made it impossible to be happy. In reflection – we are now unhappy, we must have then also been unhappy and what’s more: we could not have ever been happy in such a situation.
But we were happy! Before truth vanquished ignorance, in a misguided attempt to be valiant, we were joyous. How is past happiness destroyed by present revelations? The consumer of bland food was satisfied, the patient wasn’t anticipating death, the art aficionado was impressed,the unsuspecting lover was fulfilled, and the ignorant person was intellectually sated. How can we now decide that they weren’t?
Did the unhappiness develop? Can unhappiness truly be retroactive? Or perhaps, the tragedy was always present, and subconsciously we were aware of it. Perhaps some things are destined to end painfully, and are silently painful from their very point of conception.
Do those things always end painfully, that contained pain, whether conscious or unconscious? But what is unconscious unrecognized pain? Is it true? Is it real? Can it truly be felt? Sometimes it seems the memory of happiness cannot stay true because the happiness was not pure, but instead, tainted by tragic falsity.
If knowledge is what ends happiness, is it really always better to know the whole truth of the matter? What value does the truth carry if it necessarily destroys otherwise certain happiness?
What if we could erase from our minds, some fact that brought us unhappiness? Mightn’t it be possible for us to be eternally happy, even in the face of unconscious pain? Would anyone knowingly revert to ignorance? Wouldn’t it be better not to know?