Whilst looking for blogging ideas as I reached my first blank, I came across The Daily Post at WordPress.com 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?