My Philosophy on Mystery
Updated: Feb 12
One of the things that keeps us intrigued by something or someone is the air of mystery that surrounds them. The fact that we may not know something can be fascinating, because there is something quite exciting about being left in the dark, even though we may be tempted to know more.
This is why many of us hate spoilers for stories. We choose to stay in the dark on purpose, regardless of whether or not we will get the answers we are looking for.
Of course, deliberate ignorance is the conscious choice to not know something, for whatever reason. In this case, it's for the reason to feel something that is more unusual. Recognizing this term is imperative to understand this article, and philosophy in general.
What we get in return for mystery can be hope. Hope that one day, we may know. Sometimes, we may never know how or why, and the answers will forever stay in the dark. I have such a mystery from a certain story that has remained unclear for 20 years. There is something attractive about not knowing forever, what are the causes for some effects.
My deceased grandfather was a mysterious man. He might've been an autist, like me, but he was never diagnosed, so none of us can ever know. I almost know nothing about him, by the way, and so doesn't my mother, his daughter. Thanks to him, I'm part Soviet. His childhood remains a mystery.
So, I think we can rest assured that some of us desire mystery for the intrigue that it may make us feel. Wouldn't you say it exists in romance, as well? The secrets of the other person, not knowing completely who they are, exactly the person we are attracted to? Their past, their heart and mind? It might be especially true nowadays, where we may use the internet to communicate, not fully knowing who is the person on the other side of the screen.
The philosopher has little to no desire to remain in deliberate ignorance. Even if the aura of mystery leaves them fascinated, they will sacrifice that feeling in favor of knowledge. For the philosopher dares to know. They dare to exit the Platonic cave, even if the outside world will be very disappointing. Why? Because reality often crushes fantasy, remorselessly. Reality disappoints, and shows us the true nature of the things and beings we once believed to be greater than they actually were.
There is something ruining in the philosopher's experience. They don't seek "magic", they do not seek naivety. They seek reality, as in reality, lies the truth. And no matter what the truth is, they seek it, and only it, in their endeavor for wisdom.
They may overwhelm others with the truth, as well. The non-philosopher may have a smaller capacity for it, for honesty. The philosopher, on the other hand, probably has the biggest capacity for it, than anyone else. For philosophy is the study and pursuit of the truth.
And while the lady who smokes mysteriously may be fascinating to many, along with any other visual data, the philosopher looks at them deep in the eye, and overcomes the alluring barrier of mystery, should it be an obstacle.
Many people seek to feel, to experience emotion. The philosopher seeks to understand reality beyond said experience. Impression might not commonly be a good indication of reality, no matter how good or charming it would make you feel. Because if you are a true philosopher, you will shove aside even the obstacles that make you feel good and charmed.
And thus, the pursuit of philosophy is like the loss of humanity within you. Not of compassion, necessarily, but of enticement. Of the joy of experience, be it good or bad. It is almost... like becoming an undead. Almost like a point of no return, should you, like me, desire nothing more in this reality, but philosophizing. And that is why the philosopher is the lover of wisdom, for they put their pursuit as superior, if not, above all.
You might realize that this is one of the reasons as to why philosophy isn't as relevant as other fields of life. It seeks rationality above emotion, all because emotion may be the inferior indication to reality. Compared to the rationale, that aims to understand, while it destroys fascination in its wake. That might as well be the trade-off of the rational man or woman: The reality of the sun outside Plato's cave, and not the entertaining shadows of the bonfire, within his cave.
Prepare to be disappointed. Prepare to be upset. Disillusionment, especially of mystery, may do that to those who give up illusion.
And this is exactly why I do not like fiction anymore, even though it used to entertain me a lot. I no longer desire to escape to fantasies. Hence why I've not been writing about them as much as of late. Even though I believe we can learn from fiction, it is a poor substitute of reality, which means that reality should be preferable to any honest philosopher.