Answers and certainty, that’s what I like, what I want.  Perhaps that is why I don’t care for the word “mystery.”  At best it seems like a cop out, a deflection, a way not to answer the question, as in “It’s a mystery!”  At its worst, “mystery” seems like an admission of failure, the shorter equivalent of “I don’t know” which can be understood as “I couldn’t/can’t figure it out.”  And, damn it, shouldn’t I, in this Google-age, know or at least be able to figure it out, whatever “it” is?

In her essay on “Mystery” Rachel Remen approaches mystery from a different perspective:

“Perhaps real wisdom lies in not seeking answers at all.  Any answer we find will not be true for long.  Any answer is a place where we can fall asleep as life moves past us to its next question.  After all these years I have begun to wonder if the secret of living well is not having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.”

Elsewhere she notes: “Mystery requires that we relinquish an endless search for answers and become willing to not understand.”

In all this it occurs to me that if I can come up with answers for all of the questions I have, then I should consider asking some different questions.  Knowledge may be found through the Google search engine, but not wisdom.

But I do like that thought, “pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s