Ignorance and innocence


I remember a scene in the Matrix, where Cypher says that ignorance is bliss. I always passionately disagreed. However, not with the fact that sometimes not knowing certain things means you get to go through your days a bit happier. I would feel fine, not knowing about a betrayal. What you don't know really doesn't hurt... until it does. Eventually most things come out in the open. My issue with the statement was more philosophical.

Yes, if you didn't know something ugly you would be happier, or at least wouldn't be upset about it, but can you call it happiness if it's based on a lie? Is it true, meaningful happiness? Only an outside observer could judge, like we judge film and literary characters.

I can't deny that not knowing often feels better, but I would rather know the truth. Which brings me to my next question: What exactly is ignorance? It usually bears such negative connotations, but to Cypher, it is something to be desired. It reminded me of another film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind. It speaks of the joy of innocence.

We view innocence as something beautiful, something unspoiled, something to be cherished. Ignorance is to be avoided at all cost. I think they might just be two sides of the same coin. They both share a lack of knowledge, a missing piece of the puzzle and they both imply some sort of naivety.

I think innocence is ignorance that brought us joy, that we wish we still had, and ignorance is the innocence we don't miss because it hurt us in some way.

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