The idea of mystery motivates the production of knowledge, or at
least of inquiry. The mystery, an unknown object, or what Alfred
Hitchcock called the McGuffin, can be theorized and labelled as the
object of inquiry, a marker of potential knowledge. In this case,
mystery drives the investigation and plots the contours of
discourse. It determines the clues, the traces, that one follows
(whether scientifically, conjecturally, or faithfully). At the same
time, the status of mystery qua mystery lies beyond
the field of inquiry. It is that which by definition is unsayable.
It signifies the value of knowledge that surpasses human reason and
hovers somewhere beyond the limits of current human knowledge. In
order to qualify as mystery, "it" (the unutterable) has to remain
unknown—or else it becomes something other than mystery.