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The Power of Mystery

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posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 03:01 AM
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I just have been running into this topic a lot in my life lately. I would love to read anyones thoughts and reflections on it.

I am constantly faced with a very big cultural difference each day- the french have a preference for guarding a sense of mystery around things- as if that enables them to keep a bit of power and pleasure. They abhor when one is succint, direct, speaking "in first degree". They prefer that all be expressed in a side way, indirectly, with subtle suggestion, or simple action.

Being from a home of psychologists, I am very unfamiliar with this. I could not understand why anyone would prefer to yell "Hey, what are you, an idiot??! " rather than "I feel angry right now. When you do that, I feel like...."

With time, I began to see that it is true- when something is being consciously acknowledged, it has been "outted"- it has been relieved of some of it's power to influence and manipulate subconsciously.

We americans prefer this- we don't want to be swept up in subconscious movement- we want to be conscious and make a choice about it. We like to take some of that impact off and let our individual will feel "in control".

I discussed this with a collegue, who had seen a report on fraternities in the US and their whole process of initiation rites, which he said was strange... until I pointed out that we do the same at our work, as in most environments where team work is necessary. It just isn't outwardly acknowledged. Everyone just follows their instincts and natural social reflexes. He was really troubled by having that come to light and become obvious.

As he said, "When you point it out like that, you kill it. It cannot continue."

I don't know if that is literally true. But it certainly describes a feeling of loss of power.

This conversation is what lead me to finally understand (maybe) another thread here, in which it was asked- considering all we know now about the physiological source and mechanisms of emotions, does that mean they do not really exist. That love and happiness are illusions??"

Perhaps that is what they mean- we actually find out exactly what is going on and acknowledge it, so the power of love and happiness... or at least it's power to overcome our individual will, seems to be gone then.
It is no longer something we are individually powerless against; we are not "swept up" by love, nor "fall into " it.

But is it really, or is that just an illusion in itself?

Lightening used to be perceived as a supernatural phenomenon, and then we found out exactly what it is and how it works. But that didn't stop lightning from happening, it only allowed us to choose to build Faraday cages or put lightning rods on our homes. But not everyone chooses to, and the actual power of the lightning has not regressed.

edit on 28-7-2013 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 05:21 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 


The power of mystery will not regress. There is nothing more misguided that attempts to introduce more mystery into things than is necessary, to preserve mystery. Human beings, even with the peak of our science and knowledge, and fundamentally clueless in the big picture. Better to be as clear as possible, and let mystery arise - as it inevitably will - naturally.



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 08:31 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 


Well written OP. I concur with you totally on the 'power of mystery' idea. Mystery, subtlety and
'side-stepping' have all but disappeared from American culture.
It's like everything gets presented to us with the subtlety of a sledge hammer.

I read a brilliant review of the recent remake of "The Great Gatsby". The reviewer explained how the whole point of F. Scott Fitzgerald's tale was that in the glitzy, garish and crazy Roaring Twenties, there was still subtlety, mystery and symbolism. (Incredible and mysterious symbolism). The Gatsby remake is loud, lavish and crazy.
The reviewer went so far as to say the film is a perfect example of "the death of mystery". The rapper Jay-Z helped produce the movie. Rappers don't seem to be into subtlety.

One very intriguing concept of mystery in our lives was explained very well by the shaman Don Juan in the famous Carlos Castaneda stories. Don Juan sternly commanded his apprentice to stop telling people everything about his (the apprentice's) life. He said when you tell people what you do, where you go, and how you live, that people will take you for granted, and your life will lose its power and mystery.
He said that when your life is mysterious, you are free, but when people know all about you, they can pin you down with their thoughts.



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 02:10 PM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 



This is a great topic. Thanks for writing it.

I think your friend meant that your statement is a conversation killer. You were to the point and clear, but so much so that nothing more needed to be said about it. But I love the insights you pulled out of it.

Your idea is the juicy part: "when something is being consciously acknowledged, it has been "outted"- it has been relieved of some of it's power to influence and manipulate subconsciously." I'm going to guess that this "something" is actually an abstract idea, as you've used the ideas of love, happiness and emotion in your examples. This is actually a very important principle of my own, and an underlying theme in some of my preaching here; that by rather not abstracting things, by thinking concretely, we eliminate the power some abstract ideas have over the content of our thought, and in the process we realize our power, become more creative, and further unchained.

You aren't talking about the human body in a continual flow of arousal and reaction, but of "emotion", "love" and "happiness", which it appears are abstractions of the human body. In order to do so we must abstract. With those words we have named imaginary states, conditions, modifications and modes of the human body as it constantly reacts. So in a sense, when we talk about abstract thoughts, we are simply talking about the content of our mind.

You use the lightning analogy, but I think lightning is an actual phenomenon whereas "emotions", "love" and "happiness", are conceived phenomenon. They are thoughts about other humans or themselves in various conceived states. They are inferences. Lightning can shatter a tree. So I don't think love or happiness retain any power as they had none to begin with. But what does retain its power is not the symbolic interpretation of reality or human nature, but what we are interpreting when we use words such as "emotion" or "love"—the human being or ourselves reacting to the environment, the fundamental relationship between ourselves and not ourselves. We do not lose power when we abstract ourselves, like lightning doesn't lose or gain power when we imagine it to be something else.

Psychologically, I believe there is a sort of will to mystery, where one wishes to disguise the cold-hard chaos of the world under a costume of language and symbols. A personal stamp of approval. Maybe at bottom the human desires intellectual comfort or freedom from the difficulties of thinking entirely for oneself by creating an air of mystery around the brutal facts of sensual experience.



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 03:35 PM
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It is no longer something we are individually powerless against


i see it as a good thing, the powerlessness.

i never thought about it in terms of robbing us of our ability to feel love, but i am reminded of a thread i wrote (not hijacking your thread, i promise) in which i pointed out that if you tell a child that they are funny, they almost immediately will become UN-funny.

this is related to the old tradition, similar to the french behavior, called the "evil eye". it is believed that if you use a covetous eye toward someone, or even simply pay them a compliment, you must immediately reciprocate with an insult. otherwise, you will suck that trait right out of them.

"you're so beautiful, you friggin idiot."



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 01:06 AM
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Originally posted by tridentblue
reply to post by Bluesma
 


The power of mystery will not regress. There is nothing more misguided that attempts to introduce more mystery into things than is necessary, to preserve mystery. Human beings, even with the peak of our science and knowledge, and fundamentally clueless in the big picture. Better to be as clear as possible, and let mystery arise - as it inevitably will - naturally.


Good point. I guess I don't feel like calling it "misguided", but a preference? It is not an attempt to introduce mystery, as much as guard and keep it as such. Keep that which is subconscious below awareness.



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 01:30 AM
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reply to post by ColeYounger
 


Really enjoyed reading that! I haven't read "The Great Gatsby" nor seen any of the film versions, I am ashamed to say. But that description certain touches on exactly what I am trying to point at here.

Don Juan's observation is worth considering too... I think of all the people I've known who were very discrete and how that made them project an aura of power to others.

Though a part of me suspects there might be some truth to the power of thought, even just in very down to earth terms, when people know everything about you, they are going to behave in specific ways they wouldn't if they didn't know all that. That introduces a lot of social complexities to consider......



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 01:58 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


We absolutely share the same preference for wanting to uncover and abstract, because of the self empowerment it allows.

I disagree with your ideas about love and happiness, but then, as I realized in the thread on that subject, I think I may be used to using those words in a different way for a long time now and forgot that it is not common.

I have long used the word "emotion" to refer to physiological states and changes in the body, in response to exterior stimuli. So I can have emotions happening and not know it- it can only be recognized through a blood test or technology used for testing such things. Much like the EM spectrum- there is a level of emotion which we can percieve (and individuals may vary slightly in how much that is) and there is other levels that we may not percieve directly, but can recognize indirectly, by the effects they have.

So to me, emotions are very concrete and real, verifiable phenomenon. Love and happiness are productions of specific hormones, and that can be conditioned to be associated with specific cues or objects/entities.

Perhaps this is influenced by the work I do with horses, which are extremely emotive and I use these principles to train.

On this topic, when speaking of emotions that one could choose to try to keep an aura of mystery (as in" love is a magical unknown powerful force") This allows the knowledge of what love REALLY is to be a "secret knowledge" that can be used to "train" those kept in ignorance!

You can make someone "love" you through many ways- sexual intercourse, use of certain foods, drinks, drugs (chocolate, alcohol, coffee....) , and various verbal manipulations. You can make someone happy, or unhappy using methods they won't recognize as purposeful attempts to do so.


To people like you and I, that might really sound undesireable. What I noticed in the french culture is that it is not only part of their culture because people want to have that ability to manipulate others against their will,
but because many people want to be manipulated against their will.

It takes away accountability and responsibility. The act of being seduced into infidelity from your marriage is a lot less fun if you are acknowledging you made the choice, for example.

I have nothing but distaste for that part, obviously, as self empowerment is so important to me. But on the other hand, I must recognize honestly that this refusal to abstract allows for natural social animal instincts to have full rein and nurture interdependance and group solidarity. There is some value that could be applied to that.

I sometimes feel like a domesticated dog in the midst of wolves- while I am thinking they are acting like aggressive ignorant savages, they are thinking I am retarded because i cannot interact in the most natural and common ways.



posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 02:17 AM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 


That is a very good and interesting observation!

My first thought is that, to express things in this way, acknowledge them outwardly, objectifies them.

It separates observer from the event, and make it something observed instead of what the observer is.

Like when people get into describing the act of talking about ego, claiming that "frees" them from the ego (which I don't agree with, but acknowledge that it can seem so, even if all behaviors and evidence visible to others on the exterior do not support that conclusion)

Or in psychology, where for a long time it was considered that in simply talking about painful events or memories, the emotional charge they carried is relieved, or in acknowledging a problem, it will then fade away and cease to be. This may have some truth to it, but certainly is not always.

Like in psychology, the patient may have sense of being changed, healed or relieved of the conflict.... and yet behaviors observable to others suggest otherwise. As so many people have wondered - why are shrinks just as crazy as everyone else ??? (or more so, in some cases..)

Some philosophers have noted that as soon as you are conscious of feeling a certain way, it immediately becomes no longer the case. So the preference for keeping certain ideas in the dark and unacknowledged could be linked to desire to prolong the experience.

(LOL- I just had a very funny image in head as I wrote that- like there is nothing so mood killing as being in the throes of making love and having your partner say, very matter of fact, "So... are you enjoying this? Is it the right pressure or speed for you? Are my genitals of ideal size? I see from the vocalizations you are making and the facial contortions, you are experiencing pleasure...!" Ugh. Not anymore.
)



posted on Jul, 30 2013 @ 01:06 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 



I disagree with your ideas about love and happiness, but then, as I realized in the thread on that subject, I think I may be used to using those words in a different way for a long time now and forgot that it is not common.

I have long used the word "emotion" to refer to physiological states and changes in the body, in response to exterior stimuli. So I can have emotions happening and not know it- it can only be recognized through a blood test or technology used for testing such things. Much like the EM spectrum- there is a level of emotion which we can percieve (and individuals may vary slightly in how much that is) and there is other levels that we may not percieve directly, but can recognize indirectly, by the effects they have.

So to me, emotions are very concrete and real, verifiable phenomenon. Love and happiness are productions of specific hormones, and that can be conditioned to be associated with specific cues or objects/entities.


My negation of these concepts is a product of my eliminativism. I do feel these concepts are misleading.

I see only one thing that is concrete, the source of these emotions, the "what is" in what is happy, or sad, or lonely. The body doesn't have emotions, it does them. The body doesn't have an ego, it does it. Something must be in these states, and that is what is concrete, what exists. My objection to these ideas is purely based on grammar and semantics.

Anyways, sorry to stray off topic with that.



On this topic, when speaking of emotions that one could choose to try to keep an aura of mystery (as in" love is a magical unknown powerful force") This allows the knowledge of what love REALLY is to be a "secret knowledge" that can be used to "train" those kept in ignorance!


A real danger for sure, one that I would argue is used by rhetoricians quite regularly. And that is why we should perhaps expose them for what they are.

You're right. Making a mystery out of an idea does hold some sort of romantic seizure on the minds of those who are willing not to see things as they are. Maybe we're all to naive.



posted on Aug, 2 2013 @ 05:58 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 


I like the way you said that, it really brings things to light.

When things are said directly and things are kept simple it is easy to understand and see what is going on.


"Hey, what are you an idiot!" > "What you did made me feel angry".

You can simplify it even more:

"My body feels anger because of what you did"

"My mind is confused by what you said"

"My body needs to release" (Instead of : "I have to use the bathroom")

*MY* mind, *MY* body, *MY* this, *MY* that

My body FEELS [emotion]

or maybe get rid of "MY" altogether and just say "THIS".

"THIS computer" instead of "MY computer"

"THIS body" instead of "MY body"

I wonder how would our perception of the world would change if we thought in that way?

It would take all ambiguity and mystery away and only allow us to see what is here instead of abstracts of the mind.


edit on 2-8-2013 by arpgme because: (no reason given)



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