Sunday, June 18, 2006

honest to goodness

The number one search that brings hits to my blog is the question "what does ignorance is bliss mean?"

As I am the analogy queen, I would have to propose that you imagine that an embarrassing situation happens to you - say, a line of snot is hanging out of your nose, your fly is open with your bright fuchsia underwear sticking out, or your skirt is tucked into your panty hose. Now imagine you catch this potentially horrendous action in some elevator door mirror, before anyone noticed. Whew! Dodged that bullet!

Are you better off knowing that the security guards monitoring the elevator cameras watched the whole thing on close-up and then sent it along to eventually become the number one forward on the web? Would you rather not ever find out about the video?

This is an over simplification really. This cliché had many layers. I personally just like how ironic it truly is. You can never know how blissful you are in ignorance until you lose it. Awesome.

Growing up we are taught that it is bad to lie. I can remember being a child tossing and turning in bed at night, sure that I was doomed to the fires of hell because of a deception. Really, I was sure that I was going to go to sleep and wake up deep in the fires of Hades, eventually going to far as to call my dad in to my room to confess.

Now that is some deep-rooted fear. Damn Catholicism. I suppose that whole child's bedtime prayer containing "if I should die before I wake" didn't help any either.

As an adult we are informed that honesty is not necessarily always the best policy. We are taught the value of a white lie. Really, if you are at an event and a friend's shirt is atrocious, why cause suffering and say so? Or if the pimple on the end of someone's nose makes him or her look like a circus clown and they ask if it is noticeable - we don't think twice about lying through our teeth to ease their mind.

My mother never was really good at the whole white lie thing. She was honest to a fault. As I was raised by her it wasn't until I was older that sometimes it is better to hold back, some things need not be spoken.

Knowing when to tell the truth has always been a struggle for me. One of my main motivators in life is to be a pleasant person, to be kind to others.

(Ironic that I live in a city where the simplest act of kindness involves ignoring others' existence, but I digress.)

So I have approached many of my friends and asked, is it really altruistic to tell people the truth? Not that it is always easy to be honest with people. Sometimes it is the hardest thing out there to do, but I tend to fall back on my upbringing, which leads me innately to believe enlightenment is the key to happiness.

Thus the irony. Once you are truthful with someone you may sleep well at night, but will the person you divulged to do the same? Have you just relieved yourself of a burden that would have been kinder for you to shoulder?

Really, the truth may set you free but is it worth it if you imprison someone in your stead?

1 comment:

Michael said...

I had to write.... well right away.
I just saw Serenity finally and.....
well here read this and you'll understand: