How Do We See the Unknown?

Mysteries of the UniverseGlobal Beat

A cold, dark hallway in the night. The only source of light is your torch. You have no friends around. Shining the torch ahead, you see a bend in the corridor. You can’t see beyond it. How do you react?

How about this: You are in your room, laughing at a joke a friend just made. Everyone is in a good mood. It’s just after noon and you all have met up for a play date. The doorbell rings. How do you feel?

Or this: You are sitting on a bench in the park, melting with the rain because you feel broken. None of your friends are talking to you. You need them, but you can’t let them see that. You hear your name being said. What do you do?

Most of us react in different ways according to the situation. The unknown can make us scared, curious, or indifferent, depending on the setting. Even when there is no prior knowledge, we still view the unknown in different ways depending on our orientation. Task-focused people may see it as an obstacle or a catalyst, while imaginative people may be fascinated and feel a sense of adventure.

But put any of us in a situation and we will experience it as the setting has made us feel. That is the beauty of the unknown: you never know what it will do to you.

Meesha Chotai, 12, is an avid reader and likes to write poems, create art, play music, and dance (ballet). Her current ambitions include becoming a stage-performer and re-reading all her favorite books.