I’ve been pondering how we’re wired to search out the truth. Even when that truth is irrelevant to our every day existence, even when it is painful we search out the truth.
At the same time, paradoxically, we thrive on denial. There are things we don’t admit to ourselves. But denial isn’t the whole story.
Consider the first Matrix movie. The characters in the movie are faced with a choice: live in the bleary, harsh, dangerous world that actually exists. Or they can participate in a tremendous illusion, living in the safe comfort of a virtual existence that is much easier and more comfortable.
Or a thought experiment. Suppose somebody designed a perfect pleasure machine. While attached to this machine you can do nothing but experience unimaginable pleasure. Would you want to spend the rest of your life attached to this thing?
Or something a little closer to home: If your spouse had an affair, would you rather live in blissful ignorance? If your cherished grandfather was dealing crystal meth, would you rather not know?
We cheer for the characters in the matrix who operate in the real world, rather than the imaginary one. Most of would not want to spend the rest of our waking days attached to The Great Pleasure Machine (though personally, I wouldn’t mind a few minutes.) We would want to know about our spouse. Or are grandfather.
I’m not saying we wouldn’t be a bit ambivalent, even tempted by not-knowing. But overall, we want to know.
To me, the things that’s interesting, is that in some of the cases, you can’t provide a logical account as to why we want to know. If our spouse was going to bring home a sexually transmitted disease from the affair, it’d be logical to want to know. But suppose both your spouse and the partner are monogomous, and disease free. I think we still want to know.
No matter what stipulations we put on these scenarios to guarentee that our ignorance won’t negatively impact us, something in us yearns for the truth. We’d even rather be hurt by the truth than live in ignorance.
People who don’t believe that their isn’t an absolute and fundamental truth, people who suggest that we were “created” by random circumstances, I think they owe an explanation here. It’s hard to imagine why all this would be the case if we weren’t wired this way by a truthful creator who wants us to seek him out.