June 06, 2023

"Cursed Knowledge"

A concept I occasionally come back to is what I refer to as "Cursed Knowledge". Maybe there is already a term for it, or maybe a better term can be made, but this is what I call it. Its the idea of "Once you see it, you can't unsee it", and the converse of "Ignorance is Bliss".

NOTE: "Cursed Knowledge" is a different than the "Curse of Knowledge" bias

What "Cursed Knowledge" refers to is information that you wish you didn't know. Maybe its painful, maybe it carries a liability, or maybe its simply distracting.

Maybe you asked a lover a question you didn't actually need to know and didn't like hearing the answer.

Maybe you found out something about someone you looked up to and admired and now you cringe when you hear their name.

Maybe you realized a friend or family member was involved in something they shouldn't have been, and now you are too because you know.

There is wisdom in knowing when you are about to uncover Cursed Knowledge and choosing not to ask a question, and look the other way.

Sometimes to be deliberately ignorant is preferred to being informed. Because once you have knowledge, cursed or not, you now have the responsibility to act appropriately on it.

A not uncommon tool of organizational leaders is deliberate ignorance in order to have "Plausible Deniability" for possible untoward behavior within their organization. It is a common tell of sociopathic "Leaders" who rely extensively on their ignorance in order to deflect responsibility and accountability. For these leaders, Cursed Knowledge is a significant liability to themselves and possibly their organization.

There is also knowledge that we may choose to treat as Cursed though it is impossible to know whether said knowledge is Cursed or not without acquiring it. An example of this may be the lore of Roko's Basilisk.

If you have not heard of Roko's Basilisk before, you may be tortured by your curiosity to find out what it is and whether it is truly Cursed Knowledge, but you may regret what you learn.

In short: "F*** around, and find out".

Questions for further exploration: