The Positivity of the Unknown

The Positivity of the Unknown

Updated: Aug 25, 2019

Good week to all followers and contributors.

Recently I read a very philosophically-interesting book, that was translated in my native language as “The Library of the Dead”, even though the original name is “Secret of the Seventh Son”, written by Glenn Cooper (an author I never heard of previously). Before returning it to the local library I will give to it my philosophical attention.

What if you knew when exactly and certainly will die, regardless of the reason? What if you couldn’t prevent the time of death, but couldn’t delay nor hasten it, either?

These are the three questions that lay the foundation of the book’s plot; three questions whose answers could destroy the order of the world as it is, and thus the answers are kept secret by a small amount of U.S higher-ups, since the revelation can deteriorate humanity at large.

Think of the implications of a world where everyone knew exactly when they will die, regardless of what they’ll do. People would take fatal risks with minimal-to-no fear; others will become more apathetic to the question and usefulness of their existence, and corporations such as insurance companies would have a higher likelihood of making money off the deaths of people, and the worth of people might be equivalent to that of a modern-day, replaceable product that has a clear date of expire.

Hence the chaos that might occur in the world by the organization and revelation of pre-determinism, in a world that become organized due to chaos and uncertainty.

And indeed, the logic of this book can conclude that one’s opposite can occur thanks to that opposite - chaos can lead to order as order can lead to chaos, and that isn’t necessarily a paradox. Thomas Hobbes himself stated that society was built in the name of certainty in an inherit world of social chaos, and thus people traded their individual freedoms in the name of the contract of authority that will significantly increase the longevity of their existence.

And thus another insight can also be concluded from this book, of which I named this article after — that the unknown is sometimes best kept unknown, not only because of the fun and wonder that can come from mystery, but because a life of omniscience will quickly become de-valued due to the regularity of determined certainty, by the person themselves and from that person to existence in general.

Therefore the unknown, even if we fear it, is actually very functional in many ways to the way we live and to the way of which we view life. Perhaps this was the ultimate meaning in the cliché saying of “ignorance is bliss”.


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© 2019 Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosopher