Life is full of mysteries.Is life mysterious to you?  If you have everything figured out about life, please explain it. If not, tell what you do not understand about your life, or life in general.

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Now, that is a writing prompt! 

I am 62 years old, and life is still mostly mysterious to me, if, by "mysterious," we mean unpredictable and inexplicable.  It would be dreadful to me if it were not thus, because that would imply utter predictability. There might be some that would like to know what is going to happen to them for the rest of their lives, and certainly, I do like knowing the sun will rise tomorrow and my grass will grow.  But for me, the mystery is what makes life worth living.  Life is meant to be an adventure, a journey to new places. 

This subject raises some interesting questions about issues like pre-determinism and free will.  For those who believe in a divine "plan," is life more mysterious because a divine plan must be inherently unknowable?  For those who are strict self-determinists, does that leach all the fun out of the journey, thinking that one makes choices that put one on a particular trajectory, with little in the way of surprise?  My own experiences make me want to tend to straddle the line, knowing full well that some choices that should have led me logically to a particular place have not always done so, and also having experienced some sychronicities and serendipities that seem inexplicable without some plan in the universe.

There are, of course, those who are of a strictly scientific bent, who think that everything, including us, is a collection of atoms, driven by laws of science and nature.  If that is the case, then the term "mysterious" takes on a different meaning, seeking to solve mysteries by learning those laws, but still mysterious.

Einstein(1949) managed to reconcile all of this, I think, saying,

The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is.

Having said all that, I also am aware that we have a human need to look back and try to take the mystery out of things, to impose a narrative on our lives that provides an explanation for what we have done and what has happened to us, to make connections that give us cause and effect and a means of going forward more knowingly.  But time after time, in spite of my having done this, going forward still remains a wonderful mystery.





belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I recently had a minor existential crisis; I had the fleeting thought that if there is no God and no afterlife, my life is finite and when I die, that's it. It's over. Flat boom, nothing for me to know about the future. Naturally, since I can't let thoughts just go, that idea consumed me, making it hard to function without distraction.

The concept terrifies me. Even writing about it right now makes me shaky and nauseated; I hate hate hate the idea that death is a stopping point beyond which the Ithat makes me an individual can be utterly destroyed. However, as I grow older, I see less and less evidence that there is any sort of spiritual world; I consider myself agnostic, but I'm not taking time to follow any religious pathway. For me, life itself is not mysterious, but the path of intellect and individuality is; is there a purpose beyond living and trying to leave a better world? What purpose is there if my self is destined to vanish completely at death?

In a way, even if they turn out to be wrong, I envy those who have a firm religious faith; they are not worried about the future and can fully enjoy their lives in the knowledge that they have an afterlife. I wishthat I could be that sure of my future. I hate the thought that I will be completely annihilated, but at the moment, I can't bring myself to think that I fully accept any sort of spirituality purely because I can't see evidence for it.

Anyway, that's that; the mystery for me -- and I so wish I could have a firm answer one way or another -- is the future of my individual personality. Too bad we can't copy the mind into a computer; I would do that in a heartbeat just to avoid the void.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

@Bullgatortail my condolences and I completely sympathize with your thoughts.

Life is, indeed, full of mysteries. Aside from sudden death, my biggest enigma is: how come bad things can happen to good people, and vice versa?

I have had some of the most vindictive, insecure, micromanaging, and lacklustre supervisors throughout my life. As professionals, they were mediocre. As human beings, they were pathetic. Yet, honors, respect, and money never failed them. I am not one to wish ill upon people's good fortune, but then there is the other side of the story.

My current employer is the kindest and most motherly person one can imagine. Yet, in less than 5 years she has had tragedy after tragedy strike: the death of both her parents, a daughter diagnosed with (and thank GOD able to beat) breast cancer, and a number of petty grievances caused by ungrateful and malignant employees that simply dislike her because of her race. Imagine a Southern environment ran by a foreigner! Anyhow, I am one to say that every tear that she has shed has been quite unfair. She deserves better. Where is the angel of justice, or even God, to even out how the goods and evils of life are distributed.  Some speak of Karma as the socialist master of fate. I do not see how Karma applies to this specific situation. I really do not.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Despite--or perhaps because of--extensive religious instruction and having read Paradise Lost and other such works, it yet remains a mystery to me that evil prevails so many times. What is this lure that evil has in even the most trivial situations?  For instance, so many times students lie about something when telling the truth will not get them into trouble and the lie will not serve them in any way.

For some, it seems, evil is exciting--even seductive--whereas good is not.  They engage in illegal activities for the same reason that people go on ziplines or climb mountains:  there is an extreme rush and thrill that comes afterwards.  Mysteriously, people will risk death even when unnecessary.  Maybe they do not have the satisfying feeling that others do when they act charitably by working in soup kitchens and such. Who knows??? (Perhaps, I should consult Bernie Madoff on the seduction of evil).


mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator
What an unusual prompt! Show me anyone who has everything in life figured out, and either God has shown her human self or we would be looking at an arrogant, egotistical human. I am 64 and still at times wonder what I want to be when I grow up. Having taught 37 years, I learned much about the human condition and about myself. Sometimes I still don't like what I see in me, but I keep trying to fix it! The mysterious part for me is if we are ever done with trying to be the person we want to be--at least parts of it. Students have challenged me by their examples to try, but final achievement eludes me. I watch hard things happen to people I love, and the mystery is why them? I would gladly take the burden for my children; why can't we switch? Questions with no answers abound in my mind, and for now, I guess they will stay that way.
Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The biggest mystery to me is how I can go to the doctor and doubt their diagnosis and advanced medical training and be completely overrun with fear about the slightest pain or symptom in my body.  Medical anxiety is one of the biggest mysteries in my life, and I have no idea why it bothers me so much.  A doctor can check me out, run tests, and pronounce me fine but doubts still linger; however, the slightest pain can send my thoughts racing a thousand miles an hour. 

On a more humorous note, I've often wondered why the sterilize needles for lethal injections.  Additionally, I've always wondered why our political system has never developed a viable third party.  We've had lots of different political parties, but only two at a time usually maintain the power.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm in my late 50s, and I am still filled with wonder about how life can take such dramatic turns. My step-daughter's best friend (19 years old) died earlier this week, apparently from a sudden cerebral brain hemorrhage. No symptoms, no signs, just a headache before lapsing into a coma within a few hours. One of the most wonderful girls I have ever known, her life snuffed out at such a young age. My more religious friends insist that God must have had a plan for taking her, but it's hard to imagine that the world of the living could possibly benefit from such a tragedy.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would like to know why hot dogs come in packs of 10 and buns come in packs of 8.  Think about it.  You most likely are only going to eat a hot dog bun with an actual hot dog.  Shouldn't it be the other way around?  You’d have to buy an amount so that both are equal.  Does anyone really want 40 hot dogs?