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I'm the mind swaying silently from behind observing the kind of timeless rhyme ancient cultures perceived divine
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    Conserving A Sense of the Mysterious


    Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges writes:

    "...the solution of a mystery is always less impressive than the mystery itself. Mystery has something of the supernatural about it, and even of the divine; its solution, however, is always tainted by a sleight of hand."


    Though it is clear to us that in many ways we all need a sense of closure, there is also a certain aspect in revelation that seems anticlimactic; where an opportunity for infinite speculative possibilities are suspended, if not entirely terminated, due to the logical conflict resolution of let's say, a story. We might be introduced to a mystery or a plot twist and initially await its reason for being, perhaps even being annoyed for its unhurried solution. But imagine for a minute the experience of astonishment this mystery effected on you, the feeling of suspense, the seeming impossibility in the nature of the twist, or even the shocking turn of events it cascades towards possible outcomes, futures, or even inviting us to re-contextualize our previous notions. Your mind is captivated, or maybe even initially unperturbed, but since we are wired for order and structure, we begin to make sense of what we just experienced. Our mind wanders, journeying along logical and even intuitive roads, gathering reason and ingenuity; an inner monologue of creative solutions we entertain, even if they turn out being wrong in the end.

    There can be a secret delight in these mental exchanges, where our subjective self becomes a part of the story with our own unique anticipations. Where in a sense, if only for selfish moments, we become co-creators of the story with our imaginative musings. We are not quite at the denouement yet, not near the revelatory finale. Yet the fun is in the possibilities, and not so much in the official endgame. Solutions can in certain cases be an anticlimax where in dissipating the mystery exhausts the story's interest for us, an interest in speculative reasoning that the mystery empowers. It's the same reason why most of us don't bother with learning how magicians perform their magic tricks - part of the fun is in the feeling of amazement it gives us. To learn their secrets, we would lose that sense of wonder. Yet we are liberated in our ignorance. This is why we love mystery, because we fall in love with the mystery itself, in the freedom it gives us. Our minds, our imaginations, are free to roam wherever they take us.

    Famed producer J.J. Abrams shared his thoughts at a TED conference in March 2007 entitled "The Mystery Box". He echoes the same sentiments a Borges or a Chesterton would feel concerning the idea of conserving a sense of the mysterious.



    The idea of mystery has been as excruciating to me as much as it has been a mentor. It's like nature's way of tough love, a reminder that we can never know all the answers because we are limited. But within this realization there is a license for humility as much as there is a sense of freedom, for our imaginations to wander, for our minds to wonder, and even for our hearts to hope, despite the impossible.

    "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all 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




    Tue, May 19, 2009  Permanent link
    Categories: mystery, imagination
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