How Much Do You Want To Know?

Just to clarify, my impression, which may be wrong, is that you and I tend to think differently about whether omission or openness is the most ethical route in fraught situations. Based on things you’ve said about this in the past. Exactly the degree of the difference, I’m not sure. I think we probably start from the same premises. And there are probably cases where we agree. So it is somewhere in between.

I find the security of knowing that you’re not flying blind, in practice, vastly outweighs the theoretical bliss of selective ignorance.

But mostly, human nature being what it is, I deeply distrust the presumption that, exactly at the moment when it’s most emotionally significant, I can know better than another person what information that person should be permitted to have. Even assuming I somehow could pull off deception perfectly. I mean, really? It may be well-intentioned, but it sounds like a policy very vulnerable to corruption. Certainly, I distrust the presumption that another person would in a billion years know better than I do what information I should be permitted to have. I guess the oneliner would be: denying another person agency is an extreme act that requires extreme justification.

Of course, if somebody explicitly requests not to know something, or not to know a whole class of somethings, then it’s not theft.

Then there’s the fact that it’s not actually possible to deceive perfectly. The result of trying, especially when it comes to big stuff, is a family of elephants in the room, and that special vibe two people have when there’s a ton of unsaid stuff filling the ever-growing space between them. IME.

But I also think it may depend on the person. Some people do take an ignorance is bliss approach, and maybe it works for them. I don’t have any idea how, but maybe it does. In my particular case, I’ve always found that mysteries are negative in a way that reality can never match. When Emily hooks up with a guy, I have in the past preferred to know:
– did she enjoy it
– his personality

And similarly, when I was in a monogamous relationship, I would much have preferred if my SO had been comfortable acknowledging other peoples’ attractiveness than pretending to be asexual “for my benefit.”

I see in theory why secrecy is kind, but in practice I’m suspicious of it, and particularly so when it comes to romantic relationships.