Deliberate ignorance helps explain why people don’t go to the doctor or check their bank balance, even though they’d be better off long-term; in the short-term, it’s more comfortable to stay in the dark.
It’s also why people avoid news sources that challenge their most cherished positions. At root, it’s all about wanting the feeling of control. In studies, when you actively remind people of all the control they have over their lives, they’re far more willing to risk discovering unsettling information.
The difference, these days, is that in many contexts unsettling information isn’t just possible, it’s guaranteed. Online, if you seek evidence that your travel plans are stupid, your ailment serious or your parenting indistinguishable from child abuse, you’ll definitely succeed.
This cacophony of clashing, often factually dubious viewpoints is usually held to be a bad thing, and in many ways it is. But there’s a strange silver lining: once you’re certain that your viewpoints aren’t unassailable, rather than simply afraid this might be the case, it becomes easier to trust your instincts.
You stop yearning so much for the endorsement of some external authority, because you know there’s someone endorsing every viewpoint under the sun. So you stop panicking about the pain, and either go to the doctor, or don’t.
You let your gut tell you if the baby’s in distress, or just mithering. You stop fretting that not everyone loved the hotel you’ve chosen.
Indeed, this liberating effect applies in any situation where you’re afraid of what the rest of the world might think about your choices.
You can stop worrying that other people might be judging you harshly, because I promise you: they definitely are.
Read entire article by Oliver Burkeman: Does ignorance have an upside | theguardian.com