Does the man who lives alone on a deserted island miss the company or conversation of another human being?
Does the pauper miss the luxuries of the wealthy neighbor he has never met or witnessed?
They tell me ignorance is bliss. In most extreme cases, maybe "they" are right. One cannot miss what they do not know exists, or yearn for what could not possibly be. That which is out of the eye of the beholder is nothing more than fiction or fable, stories handed down like books and legend.
But what happens when ignorance turns into awakening? When the nonexistent becomes a clear and present reality? Imagine shaking up an unopened bottle of soda, vigorously back and forth until the bottle is rock hard with expanded guess. Then take the top off with no concern for the direction it is pointed in. I'm sure you know what happens next. Someone loses an eye, or a new shirt, or both and a friend to boot.
That's what happens when ignorance morphs into awakening. It's like a wild rush of emotion, that left undirected or misappropriated, bursts forth and consumes all in it's path. Is one better then the other? Guess that depends on whether you are the ignorant or enlightened. Ignorance is bliss in my opinion. You can't really miss what you don't know. Now enlightenment, that can just be a motherfucker. The pauper who wins the lottery is far different then the one who gets to spend a night in the Playboy mansion and then back to his hovel the next morning. The former does not get to experience the pain of the reality that preceded the change. The latter unfortunately does, and it is that defining moment that says if there ignorance was bliss or not. Get sour and resent what they merely got a taste of. Or, harness that moment and decide to be ignorant no more.
Nothing in life is easy, and that which is makes us no stronger. The real reward is not in choosing between ignorance and enlightenment, but rather knowing what the difference is and learning to use it to become a better person.