The unknown is important in life. If there were no mystery, life would be very boring. However, most of us want to know what is to happen in the future. To put it in Shakespeare’s terms, we want to ‘look into the seeds of time.’ Nature does not want us to know much about what is to happen but we want to know. Nature doesn’t want us to know whether a boy or a girl will be born to a pregnant woman. But we want to know. Nature does not want us to know when someone will die. But we want to find out the time when that will happen. Nature or Providence wants to unfold things only when the right time comes. But we want to know more than is permitted to us before the ordained time.
Astrologers, palmists, and other diviners are so valuable because they claim to know what will happen to a particular subject whose horoscope or palm they have in their hands.
Experienced people similarly are important because they can tell what is likely to happen from experience. A parent who is fully involved with their child will largely know what the future of the child will be. A teacher can often predict which of his or her students will be ahead of the rest. Of course, these predictions can go wrong but they involve us because of the human desire to find out what is to happen.
A mystery novel is so interesting because the writer is able to put us on the track of wanting to know what is yet unknown. Who is the murderer, for instance? Other kinds of novels are also interesting because they keep back something from the reader only to reveal it later or in the end. Films and storytellers work on this formula: keep them guessing and keen to know what happens in the end. We all prefer to leave behind the actual course of time that we would take to get to know things. We latch on to an alternative course, which may well turn out to be wrong. We chose the imagined or predicted and reject the real.