“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”- Albert Einstein
So much of life is a mystery. What’s our purpose in the world? What are the ramifications of our decisions? Who shot first, Han or Greedo? All questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis. Do we really want answers to these and many of the other mysteries of life? I would argue no.
Consider the movies and books that entertain many of us. The horror and suspense genres wouldn’t be nearly as exciting if we knew what was coming. Romantic comedies would lose a great deal of their flair if there wasn’t at least a semblance of doubt regarding the fate of the romantic players (though I will concede this is genre that seems to have become more formulaic over the yeas). Finally, every blockbuster from Star Wars to Iron Man leaves some doubt regarding how things will end up in the end. (Perhaps, this lack of mystery is why the Star Wars prequels were so mediocre… or maybe that is just what I tell myself to drown out the images of Jar-Jar Binks haunting my dreams). In all these cases, once the mystery is revealed the end is soon to follow, because without mystery, what are we waiting for?
Then we have the excitement that comes with dating. The butterflies in our stomach and heightened emotional state we feel is a direct result of the mystery of meeting a potential partner. The beginning of every relationship seems so wonderful, because everyday brings about a new revelation peppered with further enigmas. At some point however, the unknown of the romance gives way to a dampening in emotion. While not necessarily a bad thing, most of us would have trouble arguing that things don’t lose their initial intensity once the mystique is removed from the relationship.
This longing for the unknown continues into our professional lives. While many of us are passionate about our work, that passion is no stronger than when we are still new to the position and learning a plethora of new skills. Furthermore, in order to maintain this zeal we need challenges that may not have a clear outcome. Above all else, the mystery surrounding what a new job will entail is far more enticing than merely completing the same task day in and day out.
The list of things in our lives that are enhanced by the unanswered questions is seemingly endless. However, most of these mysteries come to an end. However, there will always be those unsolvable riddles in our lives, continuing to excite us. If one day we were to wake up and be completely bereft of any bewilderment, what would drive us forward? While knowledge may be power, its pursuit is the life blood that drives us forward.