Mysteries

by lisa st john

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all

true art and science. –Albert Einstein

The massage therapist has little hands coming out of the wall on which to hang clothes. There is a ceramic hand—palm up—on her desk where she keeps her business cards. There is a smoldering hand holding incense and a pair of hands holding up books. I am so grateful that urologists and gynecologists do not decorate their offices this way. I don’t know if I want to hang my bra on a penis or take a business card out of a vagina. Odd the things that make up functional art.

Mystery machine cartoon version

And are artful functions the same thing? How long did it take us to put wheels on coolers or cup holders on strollers? A mystery.

Art and science, fact and fiction, truth and belief. These dichotomies keep me up at night1.

Other functional mysteries raise the following questions: Why don’t all winter cars come with retractable plows? We use liquid helium (at a temperature of NEGATIVE 452.4 Fahrenheit) to cool the superconductivity of a magnetic field in order to see inside the brain, but we haven’t figured out how to see if I have cervical cancer other than a (frighteningly medieval) speculum?

Sad mysteries include the fact (yes, a mystery can also be a fact—hence my confused brain activity) that over 60% of African elephants were slaughtered from poaching between 2002 and 2011 and China accounts for nearly half of that population killed each year. Apparently, however, we need to strengthen our economic relations with them.

A true mystery is why even after all the scientific proof says that homeopathy is a scam, the United States alone spends 34 BILLION dollars on alternative medicine. Tim Minchin’s lovely, animated diatribe on this subject is certainly worth watching.

An exciting mystery is that both light and matter can be either (OR BOTH) waves or particles. WTF squared, that’s what I think about that.

Some Hollywood mysteries that never occur in real life (yet I am fond of) are listed below.

I want:
… an envelope delivered to my table at an outdoor cafe that has a ringing cell phone inside of it.
… to get stuck in an elevator for hours at a time alone with some hottie.

to jump through a large glass window and roll out onto the sidewalk.

to beat the shit out of someone trying to attack me (preferably kicking a weapon out of his hands in the process).

And finally, should we not leave the artistic mystery of the creative process alone and just let it (like the poem it produces) “not mean, but be?” More on ars poetica and sifting through the currently trendy quantification of artistic genius another time.

p.s.: Is it any wonder that Scooby-Doo was my favorite cartoon? It was always the guy in a mask–real monsters don’t exist.

1Not literally; I sleep like a rock thanks to the miracle of chemistry. These ideas do, however, keep my mind alive at inopportune times.

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