No, not bliss. Not at all. It’s easy. If I don’t know, I don’t have to worry. That appears to be what most people, who favour ignorance, go by. That may be true, but if you know just enough that ignorance is no longer an option, then you will most certainly worry.
Personally I find ignorance dangerous. It can endanger yourself, which is bad enough, but when it gets to the stage where it endangers others, it becomes downright irresponsible.
Note that there is a difference between not knowing and not wanting to know. Ignorance tends to fall in the second category.
My great aunt admonished me on Sunday that I didn’t know everything, in a tone that suggested she considers me a smartass know-all and not in the kindest way. I found myself beaming at her in the most disarming way I am capable of and said: I would never in a million years claim such a thing to begin with.
She did not say anything else.
I know my knowledge is profoundly limited. There is no way to know everything, not even with an IQ of 140 and above and an eidetic memory. Mind you, an eidetic memory is not a sign of a supremely intelligent person and not everyone, who is intelligent or has a high IQ is also necessarily very smart. If you don’t know that your knowledge, any knowledge, is limited, you’re indeed rather ignorant.
My approach has always been to learn at least a little about everything and dig deeper into everything I have a knack or an aptitude for or that I just happen to be particularly interested in. Moreover, any glaring gaps I find need to be addressed. I want to at least have heard about a certain subject insofar as I can say that I know what it is, but don’t know anything about it. For instance, I know the difference between Softball and Baseball and I can recognize each sport in its natural habitat. But that is very much where it ends for me and I honestly don’t want to know anymore, because I’m not interested in it. This is a gap I find I can afford, especially since it leaves my faculties available for other things I am much more interested in.
Here I am ignorant by choice.
Do you want to know how I arrived at this topic? I read on Twitter that Pierce Brosnan’s daughter died of Ovarian Cancer. I proceeded to read the article linked to the tweet and found out that she passed a few days ago, that she was his adopted daughter and a mere 41 years old. Her mother had died of the same disease at age 43.
Recently Angelina Jolie had a preventative double mastectomy, because she had a chance to develop breast cancer in excess of 80%. Her mother, too, died of Ovarian Cancer, and that risk has not be eliminated by the double mastectomy.
Certain kinds of cancer seem to have a hereditary or genetic factor. Generally speaking family history should always be considered when assessing the risk of developing any kind of cancer, but some are more likely to run through a family than others.
This is where ignorance becomes life threatening. Not everyone and certainly not enough people are aware that they need to look at their family history of disease and illness to figure out what they may be at risk developing. Genetic diseases aside, if anyone in your family ever had cancer, you are at a higher risk. Even the healthiest of lifestyles may not protect you. Only regular medical check-ups can ascertain your physical well-being. I worry about Dementia, because my paternal grandmother had it. That aside my family seems to enjoy a pretty robust health and since I try to eat healthy (the exercise part of my health regime is woefully neglected), I feel good enough about my prospects.
But regular medical check-ups are something I am no good at. I hate going to the GP. I don’t do it. I avoid going to any kind of doctor at all cost (dentist aside). Why? Because I don’t want to know. I don’t want to be told that there is something wrong with me. It’s utterly foolish and quite possibly the only fear I truly have. I am genuinely afraid of getting a bad diagnosis by a doctor.
That being said, the first thing I will do once I am a little more settled (sooner rather than later) is a visit to a GP. I am planning on it, making the promise to myself that I will go asap. I have no particular health concerns. I live as healthily as I know how to and I listen to my body. I pay very close attention to it especially as I am getting older and I’m not old as it is.
These are the thoughts I had upon reading that particular tweet. I was wondering, if Charlotte Brosnan knew about her increased risk. Did she address it? What about everybody else? Do they know what potential health risks they are facing? I mean, people smoke even though every single pack of cigarettes and tobacco proclaims that smoking kills. Ignorance is obviously no excuse here, but there are so many more things that concern us and we know nothing about, it’s actually quite frightening.
Angelina didn’t need to come out about her double mastectomy. This is an intensely private matter, but she wanted to raise awareness and good on her for doing so. Good for us, because it made everyone comment, whatever their motives might have been.
Life is short and, risky hobbies aside, we should try to take good care of ourselves and not be ignorant of warning signs and increased risks we might be at. Ignorance is widely spread and one has to actively seek knowledge and understanding to hope to lift the veil of darkness. I should think that the wish for a long healthy life should be a huge incentive to at least assist in that endeavor.
So, what can we do? Figure out our family history of illness and disease. Make sure to look at actual blood relatives, not so much those that married into the family. Go and see your GP and get checked out once a year. Inform yourself and don’t be afraid of bad news, because they could be much worse, if you chose to ignore any issues and only go once it is too late.
I promise I will take my own advice.