Thursday, February 21, 2013

Answering the Unanswerable...


"He explained to me with great insistence that every question posessed a power that did not lie in the answer" ~ Elie Wiesel

Some time ago, I came across a question that really made me think: Would I want to live in a world where everything could be explained? I pondered the question for a few minutes. I am a very inquisitive person, so by nature I am a “seeker”. I'm frequently ruminating about questions that I know I’ll never find the answer to. What’s the meaning of life? Are we alone in the universe? Nature or Nurture?  Or both? Is mankind inherently good? Do we have free will or is everything pre-destined? Is there a Santa Clause (kidding)? What's up with Dane Cook (not kidding)? Etcetera…etcetera…etcetera.

After a few minutes I realized that the answer was really quite easy for me…I would not. It was one of those moments where your own answer surprises you, if that makes sense. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that life’s unanswered questions are probably unanswered for a reason. What is that reason? I have no idea. That’s a little above my pay grade. But what I do know is this: I love knowing that there are questions that I will never know the answer to. That may sound odd, but for me it truly adds to the magnificence of life.
What about you? If you were able to have all of your questions answered, would you want to?

147 comments:

  1. Me neither! It would take all the mystery out of life!

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  2. i ponder these things all of the time! sometimes it's best to just wonder, but great and thoughtful post!

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  3. sometimes there is beauty in the unknown, and the answers to wonderful questions are base and crude. I wouldn't want to know.

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  4. No no... a thousand times no. If all questions were answered that would mean I had no freedom to think for myself. Also means I would have to accept ideas of others, who could be schizoid, psychos or just plain weird. We are products of that anyway by our genetic background from birth but most families allow us freedom to think.
    A stunning question, Keith. Are you getting a little rain in your neck of the woods?

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  5. I totally agree with you ;

    I think that some questions are meant to be unanswered
    And some words are to be left unsaid.
    Life is meant to be this way, overall.

    Amazing post ;

    Take care, my friend**

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  6. i could not...i love the mystery of life too much...i like being surprised...its not always easy or unmessy....but surprise is one of the things that makes the world that much more exciting...and what would we do without the quest to understand...smiles.

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  7. I can't tell if you really want an answer to this question.

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  8. As a writer, I always want to know why - why my characters do this or think that, etc. I do that in "real" life, too, but I'm learning that I don't always get to know why...and I'm slowly figuring out how to be okay with that. :)

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  9. If we got answer for every question there won’t be space for quest. But over thinking or questing won’t let life at peace.

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  10. Even if all the answers were provided for us we would always wonder if they were the right answers...thus....we would continue to wonder and to seek. It is our nature.

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  11. I think I would want some of the questions answers but not all of them. Some things are best left unknown.

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  12. Nope! I would not want to live in a world where everything was explained. I imagine it would be boring like in beginning of the movie Equilibrium. There would be no excitement and curiosity. Actually a good example of why it would be bad to know everything is the TV Show House. At first it's exciting and your curious what crazy ailment these patients would have but once you find out the pattern and nothing is secret and literally at every 39th minute mark in the episode what they thought was the illness is not. It was predictable and I lost interest. I'd never want to lose interest in life... Leave me in the dark because I want discover and learn! =)

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  13. Some questions are never answered and I THINK THAT IS BETTER than knowing the answers.

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  14. No. That would be boring. Why be bored?! I love life and all its facets...well, make it MOST, not all!...

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  15. Life would be ultimately meaningless if we knew everything. Plus, it would suck to be a scientist 'cause everything had an answer!

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  16. Curiosity and thirst for knowledge(mankind's best traits) would atrophy and die if there were no unanswered questions.

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  17. Hmmmm I'd want to know somethings, like the truth behind some conspiracy stuff haha but yeah for the most part no, wouldn't want to know everything. Although the cat already thinks he does.

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  18. A mystery can be entertaining, but I like knowing things as well. Quite the conundrum. The question you pose is in and of itself a riddle that does not have a simple answer.

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  19. I agree with you. It would be terribly boring and predictable to have all the answers

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  20. I get very upset with people, who simply have to have an answer or a reason, for everything. Why? Why can't some things just be? Without a blueprint??? :-)

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  21. Even if we knew all the answers would it change anything?

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  22. To me it's easy, i love searching for the causes and consequences of everything, i love searching for the absolute truth of everything, but what's interesting is that there's a lot of questions where each one of us has to want to build an answer, or simply not searching to answer anything, there's a lot of questions where there can be as many answers as there are people on earth, it's just a matter of interpretation, because even if i believe that an absolute truth exists for everything, it's sometimes totally impossible to reach it, so then hence you decide to leave a blur or you build up your own theory.

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  23. I would not...I enjoy unlocking the mysteries and learning along the way. :)

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  24. Not a chance! Expansion and wonderment are my joy. I don't want to live a day when I don't learn something.

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  25. Oh my god! This post sounds like... me! haha
    I spend so much time thinking about these great questions. But in the end, I realized that is this lack of answer that give meaning to life. If we knew since ever "what's the meaning of life", "what happens after death" and "everything we are expected to do" would be like mechanize our lives. And then... life loses its purpose.

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  26. Heavens no!
    I'm curious. About everything it seems! I'm observant and meditative and I ask a lot of questions. To myself mainly. It's more fun to imagine and make up your own scenario. Knowing the answers to everything would seem too scientific and I live in a dream world!! (Not kidding ha!)
    Very cool post.

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  27. There's too much excitement in not knowing. And it feels good to know something that others may not haha

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  28. The charm of existence is filled with mysteries, questions, and quandries. It would be boring to live in a world where all was explained and all was known. The result would be that people would have a complete lack of motivation.

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  29. There are some questions I would like answered like, "Why is the 15 minutes of fame not up yet for the cast of The Jersey Shore"? But otherwise, I enjoy the mystery of life.

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  30. I would rather save some for myself :) Great post!:)

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  31. I can wait until I get to Heaven. And I bet even then, I still won't know all the answers.

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  32. For me it's not so much that I love unanswered questions, but that I can't and am not supposed to know every answer, but only God does.
    I am excited to have my questions answered when I get to Heaven though!

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  33. Well, if we would know all the answer would there be still a drive to achieve things?

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  34. i think i would like the peacefulness of it. :)

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  35. There are many questions I would LOVE the answers to just to be able to say, "Ha! I was right!" Kidding :)

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  36. Talking to God helps me find some answers, btw have you read "The Secret" is an awesome book, give it a try :)

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  37. I don't think I want to know all the answers. The unknown makes for great conversations!

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  38. I've thought about this quite a bit lately actually. I wonder where life will take me and what I will be doing in the future, if I will have kids, etc. But part of the fun is the journey and seeing where life takes you. I don't think I would want to know :)

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  39. I agree with you. I would NOT want to have all the answers. I, too, am very inquisitive, and I love to ask questions, but for a lot of questions, I know I'll never have the answers, and that's OK.

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  40. I am a person who believes in the power of faith and with everything being known I don't think I'd need faith. Faith has always built who I am as a person and I value that.

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  41. I love the mystery. I love the adventure. Imagine if there was nothing to seek? Nothing to ponder? Nothing to wonder at? I agree. Keep the mystery alive.

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  42. I so agree with what you've written. To stop seeking, is to stop living.

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  43. I would love to unravel the mysteries myself rather than lead a boring predictable life !!!

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  44. Gosh no!!
    I would find life incredibly boring if I had all the answers to all mysteries.
    I live for the mysterious!!!

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  45. No. I would not want all the questions answered. Some things are better left unknown, others are more intriguing when there is no answer. And still others are more interesting when you seek answers. I find that life is much more exciting that way.

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  46. Hi Keith. In answer to your question, it would be difficult to find a purpose for life if everything was answered for us.
    You know you have started us all thinking here, which is a good thing, and it just dawned on me that when we die those 'answers' just may be answered in a flash and it will all make some sense. Maybe that is 'heaven'.

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  47. Even if all my questions were furnished with answers, I'd want to know why they were.

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  48. There are some questions I would like answers to: Why we're so cruel to each other, why are children starving, why aren't health care and education a given?

    But, why we're here, what's the meaning to it all, what happens when we die? Unanswerable in our here and now...

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  49. It is rather enjoyable to come up with those unanswerable questions while philosophizing, trying to solve the worlds problems. If i had all the answers i couldn't be a philosophical heathen. It's what i live for.

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  50. I have a friend who has the answer for almost everything. I'll send her your way! :-)

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  51. I love knowing the answers...but the beauty is searching for them ~

    Good one ~

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  52. I am fine with not knowing everything. More worrying is the people who hazard a guess and use that guess to judge others. Think its called religion.

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  53. Good question. There are things I would love to know. Mysteries of history and such. I suppose the thing I would love to know the most is: what if anything, comes after this life? It's still quite nice though, that some things will forever remain unknown.

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  54. I don't want to know everything... I don't need to know... my answer shocked me too... just a little... I always thought I would want to know:)

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  55. If we knew the answer to everything we would simply lose all of the 'human' qualities that make us what we are today.
    We as a species would be so different it doesn't bare thinking about.
    I enjoy your musings Keith, they make me think!

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  56. I hate to say it but I think my tendancy is to want to know all the answers. I have the curiosity of and am analytical like a scientist. I like math because in equations there is an absolute answer. I think there is something really beautiful about "faith" though and I wish I had the soul of those who find it easy to believe without seeing.

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  57. Elie Wiesel is a favourite of mine :)

    NO,no, no. I would hate to know all the answers - how boring would life be?! I live to experiment, to experience new things, to get lost wandering about and find interesting places, to have hope. It's the not knowing that keeps me going, that keeps life so interesting and worth living. x

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  58. No way! No sir ree...bob...I would be so bored if I knew it all. However...at times I like to pretend I do. But I really do appreciate those who discover to share the truth about what they have found. That I would like to do also.

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  59. I think I'm with you. I don't need to know all the answers, I don't even need to know all the questions. That would be exhausting. But that doesn't mean I'm not open to new knowledge and discoveries. I find learning things fascinating, I'm just not desperate to know it all.

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  60. Don't think I could handle knowing it all but I'd like to know a bit more than I currently do :)

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  61. I think the choice has been made for us, whether by God, or nature, or accident. We simply don't know everything, and probably never will, but, the quest to know, lives within us and leads us on. We were created to know the truth, and the truth may be that we can never know everything.

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  62. It would be nice to know all the answers, but on the other hand would I want to?
    Thank you very much for stopping by at my blog and for your nice comment on my artwork.
    Enjoy your weekend.!

    Eva

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  63. No. Because not knowing drives us to find ways to learn - if we knew what the moon was like, we'd never have needed a rocket to travel there!

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  64. I agree with you. Some things are better left as a mystery.

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  65. I think it is necessary and important to ask questions, even though asking too much can embarrass many people. There is no guarantee that we will find the answers, but curiosity has a reason for existing. Some people out there will give you answers to questions that don't have answers. Let me quote Bertrand Russel here: "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubts".

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  66. I wouldn't want to know everything either. My opinion of why we don't know is because God doesn't want us to know. He wants us to trust and rely on him.
    I believe one day we will know all the answers - when we meet God. : )

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  67. Hi Keith,

    I don't need a few minutes to think about that. I wouldn't want everything explained. Besides, the curiosity of the what if or whatever, is much more interesting to me.

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  68. Nope, nada, uh uh. Way too many instances come to mind that would be ruined if everything had an answer I could find.

    I like the thought pattern... and I laughed at your Dane Cook instance. :)

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  69. I think would be pretty darn boring if we had all of these answers!

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  70. I agree with Jill. The world WOULD be a very boring place.
    But I really would like to know the attraction for all things Snooki.

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  71. Yeah not a chance, if I had all the answers I couldn`t question myself and deny knowing.

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  72. I like that each morning brings a day filled with "unknowns" before me.

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  73. I wouldn't want to live in a world where there was nothing new to learn. Learning makes live worth living!

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  74. It´s tempting to say yes, I am always wondering about the reason why this or that thing happens, so it might be great to have all the answers. But this would mean I will stop wondering, and probably this will make my life more foreseeable, but less interesting. So definetely NO.
    Anyway, I am not sure we are here to get some answers (I am not sure these answers even exists), I think we are here to find some kind of wisdom and maybe it doesn´t lie in answers but in uncertainty...

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  75. It would be a terribly boring world if we knew all the answers. I love learning new things, but also love the mystery of life and the universe. Contemplation is much needed. I enjoy your questions, good prompts for contemplation :). Primroses is such bright spots of spring and sweet-smelling too!

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  76. Can we pick and choose? No? Well then, I wouldn't want to know - I might not like the answers.

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  77. well when you put it that way...I might have to agree with you! Great post!

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  78. I agree absolutely! This reminds me of a quote that I love by Andre Gide: 'Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.' :o)

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  79. Hmm that's a hard question! I think I would for sure want some things answered but probably not all. I think I would be let down by some things that I once thought were exquisite before I knew their "answers".

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  80. I agree and I'm with you, but I do believe there are some questions that will be answered when we die.

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  81. No, probably because I would hear the truth and have to be accountable for things!

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  82. Nay, it's the journey to seek your own answers to the unanswerable that help make us who we are :)

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  83. Me either ... though it would be nice to know WHY cockroaches?? :)

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  84. "I realized that life’s unanswered questions are probably unanswered for a reason."

    YESSS!!! :)

    And I don't think it's odd at all. I totally get what you're saying. (I don't think we'd be here if we had all the answers.)

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  85. No, I think it would make life less interesting. Beautiful photo.

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  86. i don't think so. because, where's the adventure and mystery in that? and i think some things are meant to be unanswered for now so human will keep looking and motivated to find answers

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  87. My initial response was , " You bet your sweet bippy I want the answers!" But I have scrolled through all the responses and , yeah, I can see where mystery is a good thing. I like to think so playing with wonderment is a good thing. Interesting post.

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  88. I choose to believe Santa is real. I just do...

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  89. Yes and no. It's kinda like how they gave a reason why people could use the force in Star Wars (in Episode I). Some things are better left unanswered.

    But I guess it's better than when mankind didn't have almost any answers. So they made up their own answers to life's inevitable questions.

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  90. no way.. i love doubting, searching, questioning.. life would be too dull, if everything was explained... We need its mysteries..

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  91. I do have questions I think I'd like answers for surely, but I don't think I need to have every mystery stripped away.

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  92. I am not a 'question mark' generally but there is a question that irks me and has been haunting me since childhood days...'What lies beyond this universe ?' ...i know its crazy n so dumb ...but it has been living n flourishing in my brain for years ...n ll for years to come coz i know that i wont get an answer to it till i die and travel it myself..lolz

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  93. I agree with the guy who commented that not only does he not want all the answers, he doesn't even need to know all the questions! I think it's much more interesting to just sink into all the mystery of things we don't have answers to. And here's a thought...what if you don't like the answer? No going back, is there?

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  94. Got me thinking of a bunch of different things here. First, ever see that movie with Ricky Gervais about a world where nobody could lie and then how he told the first lie ever and it snowballed from there…that popped to mind, and also, that old joke/scenario where a guy gets an audience with God and is given one question that God would answer, anything at all, and the guy comes up with some really stupid question like, you'll really answer any question and God says yes, and that was his question.

    Personally there are some things that I would love to know, but everything, nah, no way, half the fun with philosophical ideology is to be able to think things through and come to your own conclusion, test it out and keep going from there, where answers are available it really negates the overall thought that any person regardless of who they are, could have the answer. Also, how boring would it be if we knew everything. Great post as usual. Thanks, you always get me thinking here.

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  95. I am really comfortable with not knowing the answers. So comfortable that I don't even bother with most of those questions: why are we here, what happens when we die (who cares, and probably nothing). I spend my time wondering why wombats poop in cubes and how hummingbirds know where to migrate to.

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  96. I have too many questions to be answered in one lifetime. Maybe some questions don't have a satisfying answer. But I have asked them all and keep asking as I think of more. Yes, a fellow seeker. But, if we knew all the answers, we would not have the magic and the mystery. And that is what I love about life.

    (I love your blog)xx

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  97. I believe a soul can't die, I believe that when the Soul leaves the body and returns home he has answers the answers he needs to know. I also know that there is reason why we can't know nor should we know. Because I believe in reincarnation, I believe that if people knew and remembered everything...how could they live knowing intimate details like your wife in her past life was a Nazi or a child a child molester, I believe we live to do the best we can and make up for whatever we did within knowing without acting out only to appease. But Loving everyonw against all odds. No one should have answers about everything, we have too many feelings, as opposed to sentiments. We can't know everything without the proper environment, the one that teaches us who we are today as a result of all that we've been in the past. I know that today I am the sum of allmy lives. And I have to be ok with that!

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  98. when I was a kid I thought if I died I'd ask god how stonehenge was built....!!

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  99. Interesting that so many great thinkers of faith have thought this and now it seems they are joined by many of no faith.

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  100. I think I'd have to agree with you there... there's so many complexities, but that creates beauty in its way.

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  101. i like the way you answered this. i think the questions and the thinking and the ruminating are all part of the wonder of life. there would be no surprises or revelations.. and what would be the fun in that??

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  102. I find pleasure in seeking (and sometimes finding) the answers to my questions.

    Would I like all my questions answered - no, for then I would never feel the joy of discovery.

    Anna :o]

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  103. Agreed. How boring would it be if we knew all of the answers?!

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  104. I don't mind not knowing the answers now because I believe that someday God will reveal them to me. I can wait!

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  105. I feel exactly as Dana.
    Have a great weekend.
    JB

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  106. Nice blog! In my work singing with groups of seniors, we sing the song, "Que Sera, Sera" --which is all about this topic.
    "Que sera, sera
    whatever will be, will be
    the future's not ours to see
    que sera, sera."

    This song almost always leads to a discussion like the one here on your blog. Would you want to know all the answers?

    Me--I did as a child but now I see that it is much more fun to embrace the mystery each day.

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  107. I accepted the reality of having a finite mind in an infinite universe a long time ago, so I understand that there are many things I will never fully understand in this lifetime. However, that doesn't stop me from picking at unanswered questions like a kid with a scab, because the day I stop seeking answers and learning new things is the day an important part of me dies.

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  108. I don't think I would. I think everything would be far too simple and boring if we had the answers.

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  109. sometimes knowing why can bring closure, but the randomness of some sad endings can bring victims together and feel a part of a group. we band together and help each other move on.

    knowing all answers is like living in a perfect world, no comparison or appreciation. we need mystery & surprise as well as disappointment.

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  110. I love that quote.
    Thank you for your kind visit.
    Like you, I would not...without a bit of unknown we gradually will lose curiosity and excitement and many more things...happy friday to you

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  111. This is wonderfully expressed. I agree with you. I wouldn't want all the answers. It's the questions that keep us going. Sometimes I would like to turn off the thinking for a bit though. ;)

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  112. Love this post (like all yours:) is true!
    Life is a mysterious ...and is amazing!
    Love some things I would like the answers.
    But now Im so quiet and happy the life is a mix
    and I love all days like something special, like a gift!!
    xo

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  113. i feel the same way, and wouldn't want everything to be explainable:-) x

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  114. That's a really good question, one that I had to think about but yes, I think I would. I don't like having unanswered questions left behind. I like things with an explanation, an ending, an answer.

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  115. No I would not Keith. I think the reason I am always painting paths, tracks and roads is while wanting to discover where they lead I will always find another path. If we know everything our purpose here would be over would it not?

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  116. Hi and thanks for visiting my blog today! I do think that mystery is part of what keeps us going and adds excitement to life, so I agree with you totally! I love your photos!! By the way, one of my husband's first jobs was working in a small grocery store. And to this day I insist on bagging my own groceries...maybe a control thing, but they are MY purchases!

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  117. i like not knowing everything, and i really think it's impossible to know everything, even if we wanted to (which i often do!) :) it makes it more fun and exciting to make discoveries that way.

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  118. The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know squat.

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  119. I'm hoping that all these questions will be answered after death.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

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  120. I have to agree. I think we'd go a little bit crazy if we knew all of the answers.

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  121. The more you learn, the more you realize you don't know. I think I would be bored if it was possible to learn everything.

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  122. I would love to have all of my questions answered, but after pondering the answers for awhile, I'd just have more. Knowledge is not finite - there's always something more to learn and discover. But for now, I think it's also important to live with a bit of faith in your life. I think it's important to have faith in certain things, even if you can't absolutely prove it. Many times, the knowledge of something in your soul makes you stronger than if the answers were handed to you outright. Spiritual strength doesn't come from scientific proof.

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  123. I have to say I would not want to know all the answers. Sometimes it is best not to know, sometimes it is the fun in learning or the search.Love your photo, have a great weekend!

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  124. I love mystery, or rather the sense of some things being forever impossible to fully explain. It's the same in life and in literature....

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  125. I would like some historical mysteries explained. Things of the PAST... But there are some things (mostly of the future) I would not like to know. I would not like to know, for examples, about the times and reason for death of myself or people I care about. Better to live each day with hope, not having a dark cloud of knowing the future hanging over a person.

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  126. Absolutely not! I've had some of my deepest questions answered and I didn't particularly like the answer I got. Sometimes ignorance is bliss and the learning you get while seeking the answer is most of the fun.

    Well...sometimes.

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  127. No way! A lot of the mystery would be gone. It's kind of like the question, would you want to know what day you'll die. That one, I'm not sure about. ;<)

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  128. I agree. Although i think in part that's because I just don't see how it could possible to answer every question. There are too many and their too varied :)

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  129. Some of them, but not all of them; for it might scare me to death! haa haa.. have a great weekend!

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  130. Since I'm a dog....well....I take one day at a time...and from my POV...the mystery of life seems to constantly dog me!!

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  131. Holy cow Keith, 134 comments? That's gotta be a record. Anyway, there wouldn't be much mystery would there if everything had an answer. I believe that someday all our questions will be answered though.

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  132. The answer is within. Just look a little deeper and you will find it :)

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  133. No. But I dont think I'd mind if people could accept mystery for what it is, rather than as evidence for things that they want to to be true.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  134. Heck no. If all of our questions were answered, we (or at least I) would inevitably find something else to wonder about constantly. What else could there possibly be left to ponder, if everything we question now, was answered? Is the questioning that drives us to learn, travel, read, explore, and seek out firsthand experiences. In questioning there is innocence. At the very least, I'd love it if we could hang on to that.

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  135. No, not all at once. "Line upon line, precept upon precept" is very good... :)

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  136. PS. Thank you for your thought provoking blog... :D

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  137. I love a mystery. :) Scooby Doo comes to mind. Good for our curiousity and learning experiences in life to have questions.

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  138. I completely agree...
    What lessons would there be then...
    Great post...

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  139. Not at all! I love the mysteries in life.

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  140. I believe life without mysteries would inhale oxygen with great force.

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  141. I don't think so. I reckon many questions in life do not have an answer. That is why I don't believing in the quote that says that everything happens for a reason.

    Sometimes life bring more pain than we can bear alone and we have no strength to stand on our own. Something suddenly breaks us forever and we ask ourselves why, but sometimes there isn't an answer because we don't need one. It's just something that happens.

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