Re: Faith-based thought vs thinkers

From: David Picon Alvarez (
Date: Tue Feb 14 2006 - 04:11:04 MST

From: "Michael Vassar" <>
> That quote seems to me to be an appealing one for people who are more able
> to endure unpleasent truths than their contemporaries, but it is not a
> humane preference. That people can be made unhappy by correct knowledge
> well as by incorrect is a classic literary theme, and obviously one with
> least some truth behind it. Even relatively rational people might want to
> know neither their opponent's poler hand nor the time of their future
> inevitable death, and for the bulk of humanity even a spouses's
> attractions or the mythologized status of a historical hero can be painful
> with little attendant benefit. I would be extremely reluctant to accept a
> singularity that eliminated people's right to ignorance as "Friendly" or
> that incautiously embraced the preferences of a person's extrapolated
> informed self and forced that person to live with the choices implied by
> those preferences.

This is an interesting point. Personally, I consider that knowledge is
always preferable to happiness. The typical situation that comes to mind is
that of people living close to a volcano. Of course, there are items of
knowledge not as important or vital as that.

I'd say though, that if knowledge makes you unhappy, you're dysfunctional.
And yes, I'm probably dysfunctional for a certain domain of things, like say
thermodynamics. Ignorance on extramarital attractions or the truth behind
heroic myths seem to me to do actual harm rather often though, but I won't
get stuck on the example.


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