From sailors exploring uncharted waters to the viewing public avoiding spoilers for their favorite TV show, people love the unknown. But why? What is it about not knowing something that makes it interesting, and makes us want to explore or discover?
Why are we fascinated with the unknown?
Related questions: Why is it better to watch a sporting event live rather than recorded? Why is change so unsettling? How important is intuition? How do we know what we don’t know?
I’m amazed by things big (like the universe) and small (like an heirloom seed). One is 13.8 billion years old and dying very slowly. The other is sitting in dormancy until the right conditions allow it to give birth to another version of itself.
What amazes you? All answers — grandiose and / or commonplace — are welcomed.
Related questions: How can we maintain wonder? What is important? Why do we like what we like? Why are things amazing?
We all do things that we know are bad for us, for our individual selves or for our society or for our environment. And yet for one reason or another, for pleasure or convenience, for personal ease or peer pressure, we do them anyway.
What do you do that you know you shouldn’t?
Related questions: How much of our thoughts are our own? What are our responsibilities to others? How do you define success? When is it useful to fail?
Public speaking is a common fear. People, it seems, are afraid of embarrassing themselves in front of a large audience, and losing public approval.
Why should that be? If someone speaks in front of a large group of strangers, why should their reaction matter? Setting aside an instance, say, like a job interview, where a stranger’s impression of you has something to do with your future, what difference should it make whether complete strangers, who we have never met before and will never see again, should like or approve of us?
Why do we care what strangers think of us?
Related questions: Where do our fears come from? When is embarrassment a good thing? Why do we behave differently alone or in large groups?
Live sporting events have a certain thrill that comes from not knowing what is going to happen. Each year, the Super Bowl has a huge TV audience during the live broadcast, but outside of fans of the winning team, there is much less desire for recordings of past Super Bowls.
Why should that be? Where does that thrill come from? Why is it better to watch a sporting event live rather than recorded?
Related questions: What is time? Why are we fascinated with the unknown? Why do we like what we like? Why do people like games?