Granted that my experience does not appear to jibe with that of your other
correspondents, I will nonetheless aver that I do not find mysteries like
"the Force" aesthetically pleasing. To the contrary, implausible phenomena
detract from my enjoyment of fiction. I thus found the latter-day
"explanation" of the Force annoying only for its utter failure to convince; a
better explanation would have delighted me, as it would have made the stories
I enjoyed as a youth all the more real to me as an adult. By the same token,
the swords-and-sorcery stuff that I inhaled as youth bores me now.
I trust, Damien, that you will not chalk this up as one of the "dozen rants"
you expect about why "why *knowing* is better than *nescience*." By the same
token, I trust that no one will trot out the claim that I've become a
hard-assed, unimaginative fogy incapable of wonder. I'm capable of wonder.
Rather than passively "ooohing" and "ahhing," however, wonder makes me want
to find an explanation.
Why, then, do other (typically more youthful but always, I think, more
credulous) people dislike explanations? I think they do so because they hope
that unexplainable phenomena point to an easy out from the hard job of
living. As a kid, I got a thrill out of the Force because I thought that I,
like Luke, might come to enjoy incredible new powers by way of mere belief.
Like most kids, I had a lot to learn about the realm of plausibility.
Wonder still excites me, but it does so because it offers the chance to
figure something out and, in the process, perhaps to find some new and better
way of thriving. I suppose that on that count some explanations could
disappoint even me--but only if I first had a pretty unrealistic expectation
that a mysterious phenomena revealed the possibility of a new good and
thereafter only if I found the actual explanation revealed nothing new at
all. As few explanations have that effect on me, however, I regard most of
them as better than nothing. And since mere potentials offer no gain, I
regard all good explanations as better than ignorance.
In a message dated 11/8/01 7:30:10 PM, email@example.com
> I now expect to read
>a dozen rants explaining why *knowing* is better than *nescience*, and
>more satisfying, and more deeply numinous than nay-saying ignorant
>but the fact is, it often isn't experienced that way. We might need to
>take this into account.
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