I have heard that “ignorance is bliss,” but I wonder. I don’t consider myself blissfully unaware of anything. That is to say, I’m certain there are many things I am unaware of, but the fact that I am ignorant of something doesn’t make me feel blissful. Quite the opposite: I am ashamed and uncomfortable with my ignorance. I want to know—regardless of how terrible and difficult to accept some bit of knowledge might be—I want to know. Ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s a condition from which we should continually struggle to free ourselves.
That being said, there’s no denying the downside associated with the destruction of ignorance; it is often accompanied by disappointment, disillusionment and pain. The world changes irrevocably when the veil of ignorance is pulled away. But this is a pain that doesn’t kill us and makes us stronger.
Ignorance may be bliss, but it is also dangerous. It is easy to imagine any number of scenarios where this is true. At the same time, knowledge is never dangerous, even in the context of the hackneyed expression “knowing too much.” You can’t have too much knowledge (although you can, of course, have too little). Despite the mob movie cliche, people aren’t bumped off because they know too much, nor because they know too little—they pose a threat because they know just one simple thing: the truth.