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Ignorance Is Bliss

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"I don't know anything. Ever. It's really quite relaxing."

Sometimes, it's better to stay ignorant about something. This trope is about being happier or better-off not knowing the truth—of any sort, from the Awful Truth to the Town with a Dark Secret. It can play out in a few ways:

  • Somebody is given the choice to learn the truth and decides to decline it, stating they'd be happier not finding out
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  • Somebody has a choice of notifying another character of the truth but decides not to, believing the other person is better off not knowing
  • Somebody learns the truth and regrets it, citing this trope. Or somebody learns the truth, and consequences/the effects it has on them are clearly framed as a bad thing by the narrative

This can be the reason a party responsible for The Masquerade decides to uphold it: The World Is Not Ready, and there'd be less turmoil if no one knows. It's sometimes also the reason a character keeps a Secret Identity, believing that keeping loved ones in the dark will cause them less grief and trouble. When someone trying to make this decision for another is conflicted about it, they learn that Keeping Secrets Sucks. Can overlap with They're Called "Personal Issues" for a Reason, if the person isn't just worried about the wellbeing of someone else.

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Often part of someone's For Happiness motive.

Brain Bleach is a stronger, usually more humorous, version of learning something the learner wishes they didn't. See also These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, when the trope is applied to a thing that cannot be observed or learned about without dire consequences to humanity.

Not to be confused with Bystander Syndrome or Elephant in the Living Room, which is when somebody does know something but chooses to disregard it. Ignorance Is Bliss involves lacking knowledge or awareness of something.

The phrase "ignorance is bliss" was coined by poet Thomas Gray. In the poem, the line is usually written as: "Where ignorance is bliss, / 'Tis folly to be wise."


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Examples:

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    Anime And Manga 
  • Black Butler: Poor, poor Siegliende. If only she didn't learn her whole life was basically an enormous lie—her secluded village is actually a military area, the villages are all soldiers in really convincing werewolf costumes, and she isn't the descendant of the powerful "Green Witch", she's an ordinary girl with enormous talent for chemistry which was used to finish the previously-failed military project of making a stable mustard gas.
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: Rather than hand Chuuya over to his superiors as Rimbaud wanted, Verlaine thought it would be better to send the boy to live on a farm somewhere so he would never have to learn of what he was.
  • Chainsaw Man: A Central Theme. The whole series deals with uncomfortable or even heartbreaking truths that various characters ultimately wish they never learned. Denji's entire arc is him having various new experiences, some of which he had been hoping for, and growing wiser but otherwise less happy due to many of them being letdowns. Many characters are given a "Leave Your Quest" Test, a chance to bail out before anything worse happens to them, only for them to fail to accept and fall deeper into despair the more they advanced the plot and the more they learn, like Aki discovering that his revenge quest was All for Nothing as the target of his hatred, the Gun Devil, had long been defeated. All of this culminates in the ultimate form of this concept, as the Chainsaw Devil is revealed to have the ability to erase Devils and their concepts from existence, literally making the entirety of reality forget them and arguably for the better since some of these concepts included Nazi Germany and nuclear weapons. Makima plans to take this further by sending Chainsaw after Devils like Death, War, Hunger, and even herself to bring about a happier world where nobody remembers that they ever existed.
  • A major theme of the story of The Gods Lie. Natsuru was able to have a blissful time with Rio before finding out about her grandfather being buried in the backyard, and Rio was able to stoically wait things out with Yuta before finding out that her father was not on a fishing trip and had simply abandoned them. This is the basis of the Title Drop at the end: sometimes the gods lie in order to keep humans happy.
  • One Piece: Usopp loves Syrup Village and worried that letting them know the truth of how close the Black Cat Pirates came to destroying it would ruin their peaceful existence. As such, Usopp asks that Kaya not reveal the truth.
  • The Price of Smiles: Princess Yuki is kept completely in the dark about the true state of the coming war. Joshua's death is what finally tears the facade away.
  • Reborn! (2004): What all the guys simultaneously agree upon when faced with the choice of telling Kyoko and Haru the truth in the Future Arc. Though Tsuna ends up telling them anyway, much to Ryohei’s displeasure.
  • Witch Craft Works: Honoka spent most of his life unaware of witches or the power inside of him. Kagari herself would have preferred that he lived in happy ignorance of all the magical events surrounding him.
  • Yosuga no Sora: Akira would rather destroy evidence of her birth than shatter what happiness she has, which includes her half-sister's relationship with her mother.

    Audio Plays 

    Comic Books 
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: In Otherone's own words, if he thought about how he destroyed his entire planet he'd go mad with grief and if he thought about how someone smarter would use his power he'd go mad with fear. So he doesn't think about either of those things and maintains an airheaded optimism, because it's safer to be stupid than mad.

    Fan Works 
  • Ad Mortem: Avita isn't fully aware of the horrors of the Games, and wants to stay that way.
  • In A Dovahkiin Spreads His Wings, Ned Stark thinks that Ignorance equals bliss equals safety, and as such lies to his children and willingly keeps quiet about "dangerous" information. Yes, the Stark children grow happy and safe, but the deconstruction hits hard: Sansa is so naive she's easily manipulated by unsavory people such as Cersei Lannister, while Jon lost trust in Ned for not giving him the tools to protect himself and became estranged from him.
  • Crisis: Chloe wishes Clark never told her he meant to hurt her.
    Her eyes filled with tears and her voice shook as she went on. “I wanted you to lie to me that day,” she said bleakly. “I pleaded with you to tell me I was wrong to hate you, that there was still some good in you...”
  • The Eyes: In the final chapter, Snape Obliviates himself after killing Harry, forgetting everything that had happened throughout the story, and allowing him to live out his life in relative peace
  • Go Gently: Taylor's philosophy with Kenta, and in general considering some of the dark truths hidden by the cold unloving world.
  • Infinity Crisis:
    • Kara adopts this mindset after the first Snap regarding her cousin's fate, as Superman was on a mission in deep space when the Gauntlet was activated. Thus, she spends the events of Crisis telling herself that he's busy helping out elsewhere rather than assume that he's been dusted as well.
    • During the campaign against Thanos, Scott all but explicitly states that he's telling himself that the only reason why his family hasn't contacted him yet is that the current chaos is preventing them from doing so because it's better than facing the possibility that they've probably been killed in the Snap.
    • Played for laughs when Carol Danvers and Peter Quill talk about seeing Michael Jackson, Prince and David Bowie live while they're on Earth and neither Scott nor Hope have the heart to break it to them that all three stars have passed away.
  • Infinity Train: Knight of the Orange Lily: Gladion believes that keeping the incident with Nihilego secret was the right thing to do, not wanting her to be retraumatized. Lillie thinks otherwise, as while being unexpectedly exposed to Type: Null did catapult her back to square one, learning the full truth about what happened that night was ultimately the key to overcoming her trauma.
  • Marionettes: The Stallions are devoted to this ideology. Not only do they memory wipe ponies for seeing things too far outside their normal worldview (like the portals from Friendship Games), but they're so obsessed with their own secrecy that they don't act at all if there's a risk of exposure. For instance, at least half of the monsters their monster-fighting division tracks go unfought by them for that reason. Remember the Bugbear from "Slice of Life"? It had escaped years ago, and the Stallions never told anyone about it! Deconstructed, as this can and has gotten ponies hurt or killed, which is the entire reason Bon Bon tried to be an Internal Reformist and later a Defector from Decadence.
  • Sonic Origins (Ri2): Shade tells the gang not to tell Gemerl about his past as the Nocturnus main Weapon of Mass Destruction. It's for the best.
  • Wife of the Wolf, Husband of the Sun: The Lords of the Stormlands keep Renly unaware that his brothers are dead, partly due to the fact that Aerys wants Renly brought to him to be executed and they are debating what to do in response to the Mad King's order, and thus he assumes everything is normal.

    Films — Animation 
  • Lady Yin believes this for Ne Zha. She doesn't want her child to live in fear of the fact he's going to die extremely young, so tries to give him anything close to a normal childhood and treat him like any other kid.
  • Steven Universe: The Movie: Spinel refers to her old, endlessly cheery self as stupid, yet at the same time she hates what she's become and wants to be that person again, even telling Steven to Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred! despite having turned on him because the Rejuvenator fell out of his pocket and she thought that he was going to use it on her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War expresses this sentiment at least once.
    Thanos: You're not the only one cursed with knowledge.
  • Used in Cabin Fever when the busty brunette suddenly offers herself to the lone surviving hero. She has the killer fever, though she isn't showing any signs yet. Midway through sex, the guy tells her he's worried that they aren't using a condom. So the woman assures him that she's perfectly healthy, because by that point, the only thing that telling the truth could do is spoil their fun.
  • In Cafe Setareh, Ebi feels that Fariba and her mother would be better off not knowing that Khosro is dead, so he burns all the newspapers that would tell them.
  • Chained: Marie keeping the details of Brad's death not only prevents Rabbit from going to jail, but also prevents her son from learning that his father was a monster.
  • In Coherence, the only happy dimension we see is the one where the party never realized that there were any other dimensions running amok. They simply enjoyed the party for the whole night.
  • Cypher in The Matrix decides to betray Morpheus to the Agents. "Ignorance is bliss" is what he uses to justify it when he meets with Agent Smith:
    Cypher: [cuts a piece of steak and holds it in front of him] You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? [Eats the piece of steak and sighs contently] Ignorance is bliss.
  • This, combined with the fact that The World Is Always Doomed, is why the Men in Black go to such lengths to keep up The Masquerade.
    There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!

    Jokes 

    Literature 
  • Clocks that Don't Tick: Very generally true in this world. At one point, for example, Charlie lies to Mathew and says that the Revolution is a coherent, wide-reaching movement in order to spare him the truth.
  • The Colour Out of Space: At one point, the narrative points out that if Ammi Pierce had ever stopped to consider the implications of all the strange things occurring on Nahum's lands, he would have gone completely insane.
  • A Feast for Crows: Cersei Lannister thinks that her Childhood Friend Jeyne Farman did the smartest thing in her life when she ran away rather than go have her fortune told by Maggy the Frog, as in comparison to Cersei's Awful Wedded Life, just one of the things Maggy predicted would go wrong in Cersei's life, Jeyne's Happily Married with a dozen kids.
  • Flowers for Algernon: Defied in the book by Charlie, but the trope is embraced in the film version during the ending, depicting a child-like Charlie enjoying himself on a swing.
  • Generation P: Mentioned by Morkovin, who says that oi polloi who ignore the inner proceedings (of the television and advertising world) are carefree compared to the people aware of the conspiracy, like him and Tatarsky. Therefore they have it much easier.
  • Heretical Edge: Because Abigail grew up without knowledge of the supernatural, she has no idea that she's been under surveillance her entire life. She is much better adjusted than her twin brother Wyatt as a result.
  • The Lost Fleet: Outlands: Boundless When Dr. Bron realizes that any warnings about the potential hypernet gate collapse won't give the people of Midway or the Alliance fleet time to evacuate, he despairingly wonders if they should even bother broadcasting a warning and filling everyone's last few minutes with terror.
  • In Pact, ignorance keeps the vast majority of humans safe from the supernatural by maintaining the Masquerade. As almost all supernatural creatures have been forced over the centuries to swear to abide by the Standard of Solomon, which prevents them from attacking the innocent without cause, this has allowed humanity to expand to its current levels of population, to the point that they reproduce faster than the Others can kill them, Others are steadily being driven from their hiding places by ignorant humans against whom they can't fight back, and those few that can are dealt with by the few humans that know the truth.
  • The Sherlock Holmes spin-off novel "The Spider's Web" by Philip Purser-Hallard sees Holmes and Watson basically adopt this attitude towards the background of Ernest Moncrieff (The Importance of Being Earnest), after their current investigation leads to the discovery that Ernest being left in a handbag as an infant was part of an attempted kidnapping by Colonel Moncrieff's former sergeant, who intended to switch the infant with his own son to make a point about the lack of importance of social class and family pedigree. While the sergeant was killed in an accident the day of the planned kidnapping, Holmes notes that it is actually possible that he was able to switch the infants and the man who is now Ernest Moncrieff may be the son of the sergeant, but since the man who may be the "real" Ernest has already been killed by a separate conspiracy, Holmes and Watson conclude that there is no point investigating that matter further as nobody would benefit from even the possibility of that idea being true and the current Ernest Moncrieff is at least not a bad man.
  • Uplift: Because most sophont races began as animals, there's a certain romance in the idea of deliberately "reverting" to a primal state (Referred to as the Path of Redemption). Since settling on a fallow world is illegal, the sooner races on Jijo plan to eventually return to their pre-uplift states to avoid punishment. Jijoan humans have no intention of doing so, though only their elders know it. Humanity fought too long and hard for their sapience to willingly give it up, and the whole point of the colony mission to Jijo was to preserve human culture. There are hints that, at least on Jijo, this is futile: Even the Glavers, held up as shining examples of "innocents," are still speech-capable, more like children than animals.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • The reason Coulson's special team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents exist is that The World Is Not Ready for most of the weird things happening in the world. He even gives an Appeal to Obscurity example to hammer his point. Playful Hacker Skye feels differently and thinks an Unmasqued World is the way to go.
    • "Providence" reveals that once S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secrets have flooded onto the Internet, Skye realizes that Coulson was right: The World Is Not Ready.
    • Coulson's being kept in the dark about his resurrection, and the implanted memories of Tahiti were specifically to keep him ignorant of the real circumstances of his resurrection (see And I Must Scream), which otherwise were too unbearable for him to go on living.
  • Altered Carbon: It turns out that Laurens Bancroft really did kill himself. He murdered a prostitute while violently raping her (not just her current body; he smashed her stack too) and caused another one to run away and jump to her death. He felt so ashamed that he shot himself, knowing that he would simply wake up in a new body with no memory of his actions.
  • In the Black Lightning episode "Crossroads", Grace convinces Anissa to not tell the mothers involved in the phony cystic fibrosis treatment the truth to not break their hearts.
  • Dexter: Rita is at her happiest when she believes Dexter is the perfect man. She never finds out he's a killer.
  • In Gilmore Girls, Lorelai wants to remain ignorant about what she is eating, because whenever she has eaten something really good in her life it always turned out to be something gross. It turns out to be true about the food she is eating this time, too.
  • In The Good Fight, after joining a group of anti-Trump women led by Valerie, Diane is happy to have them make progress. When Valerie vanishes, Diane is concerned and has Jay check her out. It turns out "Valerie" is a con artist who was bilking the group and setting them up for a big money grab. Diane decides not to tell the others about it and make them think Valerie was still a good leader and inspiration.
  • In The Inbetweeners, Neil is the least intelligent of the four main characters but also the happiest in general. In the first movie, he tells Will that once he stopped believing in God, he became much happier when he stopped worrying about things by thinking about them. Will admits he's right.
  • In the second season premiere of In the Dark, Murphy is ready to tell Chloe how her father is a killer but after talking to the girl, she realizes she can't bring herself to ruin her life like this and keeps it quiet.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Gaim: Micchy keeps several secrets about Helheim, Yggdrasil, and the truth about Yuya's disappearance from Kouta and the rest of Team Gaim out of the belief that keeping them Locked Out of the Loop would make them happier in the long run. In #23, he tries to convince Kouta not to tell Mai the truth about Yuya's death, outright stating that she would be happier never finding out.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O: Swartz believes this adage as Another Agito is attacking Tsukuyomi, stating that it's better not to remember, due her not knowing of her time powers.
  • Played for laughs in Manifest when Olive reveals she's been keeping a lot of Cal's stuff in storage. Cal is happy as he hangs up a poster of Derek Jeter.
    Grace: Jeter retired.
    Ben: We'll tell him next season.
  • The Dark Curse in Once Upon a Time exiled characters from a fairy tale world into the real world with new memories. Considering nearly all of them have ridiculously tragic back stories, sometimes not knowing is a blessing. As Ruby puts it:
    Ruby/Red Riding Hood: Regina thought she was punishing us by erasing who we were. She underestimated just how much crap we wanted to forget.
  • In The Shannara Chronicles, this is one of Cogline's core beliefs and the reason why he tries to tell people as little as possible of things he thinks they're happier not knowing.
  • In the Smallville episode "Freak", Daniel and later Chloe have their memory of Lex's secret lab wiped after being experimented on. After the viewers see the trauma Chloe goes through as Lex's lab rat, it's possibly best for her to forget.
  • Star Trek: Discovery: "The Wolf Inside":
    • Burnham lies to Saru about the presence of his double aboard the Discovery, unwilling to tell him that Mirror Saru is a slave.
    • In the same conversation, Saru doesn't tell Burnham about Culber's murder, as she has quite enough to deal with on ISS Shenzhou.
  • Discussed in Stargate SG-1, when Colonel Carter tries to persuade millionaire Alec Colson that the general population is better off not knowing that Earth is constantly under threat of destruction.
    Colson: Oh, right. The old "if you had cancer" argument. Would you want to know you're gonna die, or would you rather live out your final days in blissful ignorance?
  • In Threshold, Molly convinces a cop that the team are just tracking terrorists, saying it's to keep their cover. But Fenway says he really did it so "that cop could actually sleep at night."
  • How the Memory Police in Ultraman Nexus operates. After erasing the memories of survivors of Space Beast attacks, they lie to them about what really happened.
    Shutou Saya: In this world there's a happiness in not knowing.
  • Defied by Ray in The Umbrella Academy (2019). When Allison has to return home she offers to do this for him by Rumoring herself from his memory and spare him the pain of her leaving, Ray points out he would easily take the one wonderful year he had been married to her even if it means facing a lifetime without her.
  • The fourth season finale of The Vampire Diaries has Bonnie bringing Jeremy back to life but then staying in the afterlife herself to "balance the scales." Jeremy decides to keep this quiet and let everyone think that Bonnie is vacationing in Europe, complete with faking text messages from her. Bonnie's spirit pushes him to continue this as she thinks knowing of her death will ruin everyone's good spirits. It's when Damon presses Jeremy to call up Bonnie as they need her help on a spell for Jeremy to finally confess the truth. As it happens, Damon's reaction is to be more furious on the fact that had the two just come clean earlier, they could have found a way to bring Bonnie back to life faster.
  • Altered Carbon: It turns out that Laurens Bancroft really did kill himself. He murdered a prostitute while violently raping her (not just her current body; he smashed her stack too) and caused another one to run away and jump to her death. He felt so ashamed that he shot himself, knowing that he would simply wake up in a new body with no memory of his actions.

    Music 
  • "The Wingmen" by Dos Gringos contains the line:
    We're the wingmen and there's no better life than this,
    For knowledge is the power, but ignorance is bliss
  • "Ignorance is Bliss" by Jellyfish sees Bowser explaining to Princess Toadstool why he believes brute force and ignorance are preferable to intelligence.
    Princess Toadstool, I know you're frightened, mm-mmm,
    But if you knew just why you're here, your fear would just be heightened. So let's just say...
    Ignorance is bliss!

    Podcasts 
  • Cecil of Welcome to Night Vale cheerfully reports the obviously bogus coverup stories concocted by the City Council with little to no indication that he doesn't believe every word. Also, choosing not to question what one is told seems to be the only way to survive living in Night Vale.
    "Ignorance may not actually be bliss, but it certainly is less work."

    Roleplays 
  • Deep Blue Sea Verse: Vadim spends the entire first motive blissfully unaware that it's even happening,'' since his memories keep being erased and he spends his time flirting instead of getting in on the action.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Played straight with Firewall and Project Ozma in Eclipse Phase. Suppressing knowledge of the Exsurgent virus, asyncs, the ETI and the true nature of the TITANs is considered one of their top priorities, since they don't know if humanity will be able to handle the horrible truth.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Ignorance is a virtue. Ignorance is your best defence. A small mind is a tidy mind. A small mind is easily filled with faith. Blessed is the mind too small for doubt. An Empty Mind Is A Loyal Mind. A questioning mind betrays a treacherous soul. All of these are just a few of the Imperial Thoughts of the Day and have a good reason to be pushed constantly.

    Theatre 
  • In Jasper in Deadland, Agnes believes that Jasper is better off not knowing about her abusive father, as Jasper's life is messed up enough as it is without knowing that his Living Emotional Crutch has emotional problems of her own.

    Video Games 
  • Arknights: Ambriel makes it clear that she doesn't know Laterano's "secret" and she doesn't care to, since the knowledge would just make life harder for her.
  • Bloodborne:This is a gameplay mechanic. Instead of Humanity, your character gains Insight on the way Otherworldly beings see Yarnham. By observing them with your insight, new enemies appear and old enemies gain advanced attacks.
  • Close Your Eyes implies this by the storyline and its multiple endings, especially the "Best Ending", where the V.I.E.W facility self-destructs, killing Cecily, the Witch, and the Husks and the subtitle being, "Everyone closed their eyes".
  • Crusader Kings III: If you have a well-running court with good relationships with your councilors and spouse, along with direct vassals, you are better off never setting your spymaster to search for schemes within your court. You are going to find out insignificant-in-the-big-picture "crimes" like an affair or finding someone is a bastard or how your chaplain is in fact non-believer. Worse, you can end up with random event chains, like learning The Secret of Long Pork Pies served by your court cook. Secrets like that don't affect the game until they are found out, and in the process can easily ruin your perfect court for zero gain. Sometimes knowing less is better.
  • DragonFable: Twig never realizes when there's danger and confuses it for something else, all the while keeping his sunny disposition.
  • Dragon: Marked for Death: Tonitrus claims that humans don't need to question their place in the world and all they need is faith in the Celestials to be happy.
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • Gerda can't comprehend a world where she can grow up to be something other than a breeding stock or a giant's meal, but that doesn't mean she's upset about it. She does get apologetic when the topic comes up, and wants to understand the world where her new friends come from, but never gets the chance to.
    • Qin Shi Huang's subjects are all illiterate and have short lifespans, but they have access to medicine that cures any illness, self-growing crops and a sense of purpose due to their infantile nature, resulting in them all living brief, but blissful lives. Jing Ke compares them to farm-bred animals and their empire is similar to the world Goetia sought. In Qin Shi Huang's eyes, however, this is a blessing and preferable to the alternative, where wisdom leads only to conflict.
  • Fire Emblem Fates: The Avatar's father believed in blissful ignorance, which is why he asked Mikoto and Lilith to never reveal their origins. As a result, Lilith also keeps her identity as the Avatar's sister a secret, since that's also related to that topic.
  • In Gems of War, at first, Ferit is determined to slay Xerodar for the eldritch knowledge it may bestow him... but has enough memory of his past to decide that he may be better off without that knowledge.
  • Genshin Impact: Madame Ping suggests his current reduced intelligence is perhaps a blessing in its own way, as Marchosius would have continued trying to sacrifice everything for the people of Liyue if he retained his former memories and intellect, rather than enjoying the land he helped create.
  • God of War (PS4): Atreus's sickness stems from him being unaware of his godly lineage, so he would benefit from knowing it. When Kratos tells him, first it gets to his head, and later he sees all the downsides to god-hood. Kratos straight up tells him he wished to spare Atreus the knowledge.
  • In Hotline Miami: Don Juan thinks it's better that Jacket doesn't remember the things he's done, as he might not be able to handle it. It's worth noting that her calm demeanor continues even as the Dream Apartment falls into disrepair, so she seems to practice what she preaches.
  • Persona:
    • The motivation behind Ryoji asking you to kill him in Persona 3. Nyx is coming to destroy the world, and it's generally believed that there's no way to stop it. Killing Ryoji will eliminate the Dark Hour and erase any associated memories, leaving the world to live out what's left of its life in peace.
    • Persona 3: Lampshaded by Ken in the dorm during December where the "normal people" don't even have to worry about the coming of Nyx and The Fall. Ryoji also makes this case to the protagonist shortly before Nyx's arrival, and the ending you get is determined by whether or not you agree with him.
    • One of the main themes of Persona 4 is about how humans desire a peaceful lie instead of accepting any harsh truths. Major turning points are centered around the cast rejecting the lies, which eventually clears the supernatural fog plaguing the town.
  • Referenced in Planescape: Torment, when Morte tells a story about a man who suddenly finds himself with no memories at all. An old hag appears before him and asks him for his third wish, and he replies that he hasn't had a first or second wish yet. The hag tells him that his second wish was to undo his first wish, which is why he doesn't remember making any wishes. The man, though clearly skeptical, nevertheless wishes to remember who he is. The hag bursts out laughing and grants his wish before disappearing forever. "Funny... that was your first wish."
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: The Archangels' idea of a peaceful, harmonious Mikado is one where literacy, education, and worship or even mere admiration of anyone besides God doesn't exist. You help achieve this in the Law ending.
  • In Star Control 2, ignorance is not only bliss, but armor. The Arilou hint at a malicious presence from Beyond, but refuse to elaborate further when asked, claiming that ignorance is the best protection against Them, as They can not see mankind unless mankind show themselves.
    Arilou: They have names, but you do not know them. They would like to find you, but they cannot see you, unless you show yourselves. In a way, ignorance is your best protection. If I tell you more, you will be able to look where you could never look before, and while looking you can and will be seen. You do not want to be seen.

    Visual Novels 
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: Subverted in Taraimawashi-hen, in which Keiichi decided to ignore everything connected with Hinamizawa's secrets and enjoy his life. It doesn't end well.
  • Little Busters!:
    • In Komari's route, when Riki learns that her brother Takuya is dead, he initially believes that the best option would be to keep her in the dark so she wouldn't be saddened by learning the truth. Riki can either continue keeping her in the dark, which leads to the bad end of her route, or subvert this trope and help her face the truth behind Takuya's death head-on.
    • In Refrain, Kengo wants to keep Riki and Rin in the dark about the bus crash that would've killed everyone else, and keep the "Groundhog Day" Loop running forever, as he worries that the two of them wouldn't be able to get by after everyone else they knew died, and he would be able to have fun with everyone else.

    Web Animation 
  • Charlie the Unicorn: Frogrus' song seems to imply that putting a banana in one's ear will block out all sound of the "badness" in the world, thus making them happier. Charlie however doesn't believe this.
  • A Day With Bowser Jr: In Two Koopas for a throne (part 1), Larry overhears a snippet of a conversation that hints at the Koopalings' true origins, but chooses to forget having heard it because he feels he'd be happier not knowing.
  • RWBY has this be Ozpin's philosophy, most notably with omitting an Awful Truth he has hidden from even his most trusted allies due to knowing how it would cause them to hit the Despair Event Horizon. Once Ruby and the others hear of this, they elect to hide this same info from Ironwood for this very reason, at least until he begins to open up to others.

    Webcomics 
  • Fighter of 8-Bit Theater is an example of this. The other Light Warriors often get him to do things by convincing him it is for the greater good. There's also the fact that he still believes they're heroes after all the untold damage they've caused.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Life was easier to understand when Humans thought they were at the center of the Universe.
  • In Sin Kids AU, Rinn has no idea that Lincoln is actually her dad and considering, she's not a fan of all the incest going on, it's probably for the best that she doesn't.
  • Sluggy Freelance: The survivors of Mohkadun chose to forget their forsaken background and assimilate into the Egyptians for this reason. Macha felt that burying the truth was foolish, but the elders did not see things that way. Elder Maloufo even went so far as to threaten Macha with exile if he refused to let go of their past.

    Web Videos 
  • Dream SMP: Ranboo acknowledges this as a major reason why he's unsure about potentially correcting his memory issues.
    Ranboo: Well, 'cause it's nice to not remember things sometimes.
  • One of the Game Grumps' made-up characters, Thomas the 18th Century Boy Who Doesn't Realize He's About To Be Killed By His Dad, seems to live his entire life based on blissful ignorance, constantly missing all visual cues that he's in danger.
  • In My Little Pony: The Mentally Advanced Series, Rainbow is by far the least intelligent of the Mane Six, but she's also easily the happiest.
  • A Song At Tara: Síomha outright says "Ignorance is bliss" at one point. She would've rather lived out her entire life, blissfully ignorant of the greater scope of the World of Darkness, than be forcefully conscripted into an impossible war against overwhelming foes.
  • In his vlogs for Avatar: The Last Airbender, Doug Walker defended this trope as, sometimes, if you want to keep surviving and feeling sane, then you have to force yourself to stay in the dark about stuff.

     Western Animation 
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball
    Banana Joe: Bobert, facts are like stars.
    Anais: They're always in the sky but you can't always see them.
    Banana Joe: No, they're like shiny holes in the dark light of my ignorance, AND I DON'T LIKE THEM!
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the city of Ba Sing Se is forced by Long Feng and the Dai Li to never mention the War going on in order to protect the image that it is the utopia the Earth Kingdom believes it to be. In truth, the upper class live in ignorance while refugees are forced to live in the slums and anyone caught speaking about the War will be captured and brainwashed. Even the Earth King is completely ignorant of what's going on, having been sheltered his whole life by Long Feng.
  • BoJack Horseman: During BoJack's first encounter with Diane, he takes one look at Mr. Peanutbutter and calls him an "idiot who doesn't realize he's miserable" ... and he envies that.
  • Brickleberry: In "Amber Alert", it's revealed that Mrs. Williams has sex with Woody once every month in exchange for him giving Steve an undeserved "Ranger of the Month" award. When Steve finds out, it shatters his world, as now he knew all of his accomplishments in life were based on fraud.
  • Invincible (2021): The Mauler Twins purposefully live like this regarding their clone status, the Maulers rig the cloning process in order for them to never know who in fact is the clone, with both of them playfully playing up this ongoing rivalry of accusing the other of being a copy; all of this to protect their sanity and to generate a feeling of simultaneous validation. They are both equally replaceable and irreplaceable, as long as one of them live there's always a possibility of the twins being perpetual.
  • In Love, Death & Robots: Beyond the Aquila Rift, Greta insists that Thom can't handle the truth about his real situation. And she's right. Thom is in reality in an alien hive light years away from any chance of rescue and "Greta" is really a revolting, oozing giant spider-like alien. He screams at her in horror when he sees her and so she knocks him out and puts him back in the illusory world after wiping his memory. The small comfort is she seems genuinely like a Non-Malicious Monster.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Adrien is Locked Out of the Loop about many secrets in the show, mainly Ladybug's and Hawk Moth's identities. Adrien's main and only secret is about his role as Cat Noir. Ironically, the fact Gabriel doesn't know that his son is secretly one of his big enemies it's the only thing keeping Adrien safe, even if he doesn't know that. Hawk Moth/Shadow Moth generally makes sure Adrien is out of physical danger when sending villains, which was beneficial to Adrien more than once, except when he's the villain's goal.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Twilight Expresses angst over her powers in Legend of Everfree, she expresses nostalgia for the time when she didn't know magic existed.
  • Ned Flanders in The Simpsons:
    Ned: Science is like spoiling a movie by telling you how it ends. Well I say there are certain things we don't wanna know! Important things!
  • Small Foot: The Stonekeeper truly knows that smallfeet exist, but intentionally kept everyone in the dark about it because he wants to protect them so that they won’t die off and become extinct from the Smallfeet. It even gets lampshaded later on when Migo says everything was better when he didn't know about the existence of smallfeet.
  • The Zoomans in Steven Universe live their lives contently, mostly because they're well-cared-for and don't have any concept of living life otherwise.

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