The Beautiful Unknown

Lyndsey - Santa Barbara, California
Entered on June 11, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in the beauty of the unknown. I believe that everything beyond our knowledge, particularly our underlying purpose as humans, should not be overlooked or feared. On the contrary, we should embrace the fact that we know not of our purpose or our reason of being, and appreciate the unknown for the marvel that it truly is. Much of the human population live their lives without even pondering why they are on the earth. Is the idea of the unknown so terrifying that it causes a conscious and even subconscious blockade from the mind? For most people, the answer is “yes.” So let us lower our spectacles, set down our fine wine, clear our throats, and say what men and women all across the world have been afraid to say since the beginning of time: We do not know why we are here. There are many different theories, which usually spark into various religions, but when have we been provided with solid proof of our sole purpose on the earth? Never. But rest assured, an optimist like myself cannot make such blunt and unsettling statements without any form of relief to follow. So I’ll let you have it. The unknown has forced us to cling to what we do know. We go through life trying to find the meaning of it all, and, more importantly, the meaning of ourselves. We scatter under this search, in this search, running in all different directions to find the truth. We are enlightened by this search whether we want to be or not. We experience love, rage, passion, sadness, anxiety, and every other wonderfully strange human emotion ever to fill our lungs and pierce our hearts. It is in this way, you see, that we experience life.

None of these ideas or concerns, of course, can be understood without first addressing and accrediting the unknown. As previously stated, many humans go through life without even pausing to think about their underlying purpose. Their only sense of reality and truth lies in their daily rituals. Didn’t I hear you say that whole milk is better for the digestive system than soy milk? How many AP exams are recommended to ensure my acceptance into Suchandsuch University? I heard that Betty’s daughter wasn’t invited to the party and now Betty is thinking of calling the mother to express her concerns. How can any of this be reality without first realizing that we know no reality? One might argue that God has provided them with all the answers needed and therefore has no time for the ridiculous ideas I am proposing. Another might argue that we are all here to die, and that I will die too, and would therefore ask why we are even discussing such matters. For all we know, they may very well be right, and if God damns me to hell for writing such an essay, then so be it. I have to wonder, though, if even these individuals have ever questionned their own beliefs? If so, they must have hesitantly played with the idea that everything that believe in may not exist. That is all it takes, really, for them to open their minds to what the unknown has to offer.

Each in their own unique way, the literature we have read in my English class this year consists of a main character trying to find a particular meaning and purpose. Sometimes this meaning or purpose is to life in general, and other times it is narrowed down to an idea or an individual. In All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, Paul is trying to find humanity in a war that is completely dehumanizing. He sees and experiences a kind of horror and brutality that no one should ever have to face. In all the chaos, however, he finds his purpose and sees life in an entirely new, enlightened light. If we were provided with all the answers to our questions, what would there be left to discover? Would Paul, or any other characters in the books we studied, have been able to have any life changing experiences? If experiences could provide nothing but confirmation of an already given truth, would there be any purpose to life at all? I think most would agree with the idea that life’s lessons and experiences are what make life worth living. How could we learn or experience anything if the facts of the universe had been embedded in our minds since the day of birth? We simply could not. The unknown provides us with infinite possibilty, therefore having no limits as to what we experience or believe.

Wrapping your mind around vast ideas and propositions such as these in such a short amount of time can be considered a marvelous feat, so I congratulate you if you have caught up thus far. It has taken me months of revelations and internal debates to grasp what I am trying to enlighten you with in just a few pages. All it really comes down to though, is that we, as humans, should not hesitate to question why we are here. Once the idea that no one can really know is presented, we can let that idea lead to something. That something is the soul of our experiences. It is the warmth of our laughter and the salt of our tears. Our experiences and our lessons learned are everything we have and everything we will ever need. The wonderous unknown has provided us with our individual quests for truth, in which we are able to find life and experience its entire phenomenon.