Can you handle the truth?

Whilst looking for blogging ideas as I reached my first blank, I came across The Daily Post at and found today’s topic particularly interesting. The truth or blissful ignorance?

Just this week during a science lesson this question came up in mind and I still haven’t been able to answer it. I don’t think I can. We were studying genes in class and were looking at the success of the Human Genome Project and how it has allowed for people with genes for genetic disorders to be aware that they are carrying them.

There was one specific disease that we looked at, the Huntington’s disease. This is a disease that can cause extreme pain and suffering to a person and if you inherit the dominant gene you will get it. However, the symptoms do not show themselves until you reach the age of  around 40.

The question is would you want to know that you have this faulty gene and that when you are 40 you will suffer from the painful disease or would you rather live in ignorant bliss until you hit the age and your world suddenly comes crushing down on you. Would it not be better to be prepared for your fate? A bit of forewarning could help you cope and deal with the situation.

But would you be able to handle it? Handle the fact that when you are 40 you will be in pain. Extreme pain. Would you accept it? Deny it? Have a nervous breakdown and scream at the world. Why live your life in fear of what is coming when you can live it normally, unaware of what is to come?

If I was faced with the choice between finding out if I have the gene or not would I take it? I probably would. I would prefer to be informed about it as it would have a great effect on me in later in life. But then, what if the results came back positive. Would I wish I hadn’t known? Would I be glad that I was in the know?

It’s hard to say because I’m talking about a hypothetical situation that I hope I will never be faced with. I would like to think that I would be strong and take the news well and if that was the case it would be a good thing that I know the truth. But I think I probably wouldn’t be able to handle it. It would cause me to live in paranoia, scared of doing anything  just in case I trigger the disease early or it would drive me to search obsessively for a cure, forgetting to live my pain free life whilst I have it. In that case, ignorance would be bliss (until I hit 40).

So, what about you? Would you rather know that you have the gene or live in ignorant bliss?

7 thoughts on “Can you handle the truth?

  1. I like all of your posts, but I’m especially glad you posted this. I think too many people hide from the truth. Of course, not everyone can handle knowing that something terrible is going to happen, because everyone’s different. I’m merely saying that perhaps we should acknowledge unpleasant things and then enjoy life to it’s limit and beyond.
    Have an awesome day/afternoon/evening/night or whatever.

    • I think living in the present is the key to happiness – I’m not there yet – but I keep trying to be present in each moment. Don’t you think knowing “your fate” would distract from present-moment-living? I’ll take ignorance please and deal with whatever life throws my way when it’s time.

      PS. Thanks for the like – I’m enjoying your blog too! 🙂


  2. I agree with skinnyFATblog, it’s best to live in the present and fully appreciate the good things you have now, including your health. Besides, doctors have been known to make mistakes like telling someone they have AIDS and will die soon, only to find out 6 months later that they were totally wrong. Meanwhile, the patient spent 6 months in a deep depression thinking their life would end soon. Imagine being depressed for 20 or so years thinking you would be hit with a painful disease and then finding out it wouldn’t happen after all?
    One sure truth is that we will all die at some point and none of us know when, so it is always a good policy to live in the present 🙂

  3. I was just talking about this yesterday. My family carries a heritable disease which, if I develop it, will make it very difficult to walk by the time I am in my 60’s. I intend to find somebody who can test for it, because there are things I’m putting off until later (like mountain hiking in the Andes)… and I want to know if we *know* there is no later.

  4. i think I would want to know as soon as possible. Perhaps I would pursue a life of research to combat my own disease, or perhaps it would just be a powerful motivator to live life to its fullest. Truth is knowledge.

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