"not to know".
When the MH370 flight went missing I heard people who must love conspiracy theories claiming that the Chinese wanted someone on board so they had hi-jacked the entire plane load and were holding them hostage in the Himalaya. There were other wild theories as well, some of them aired in the media.
At the same time there were families who kept waiting and waiting and waiting. They hoped. They hoped the conspiracy theories were true and that the plane would miraculously reappear.
They will probably go on hoping even after the debris which has been washed up on Reunion Island is proven to be one thing or the other. It is human nature to hope for such things.
It is likely that the debris will be the plane but it may never be possible to work out what happened. The plane was so off course that something either went catastrophically wrong with the controls or it was deliberately brought down in an act of suicide or sabotage. At this point it makes little difference. Lives were lost.
But, people want to know. We know what happened to Flight MH17 too but people, understandably, want to know "who".
There are people unaccounted for in all sorts of natural disasters too. It is something that is rarely talked about. People go missing under a wall of mud or a giant wave washes them out to see or they get buried in rubble that is never fully cleared away.
And some people simply disappear. A disaster may give them the chance to move away and start life afresh somewhere. Other people simply walk away from everything they have known never to return. Often they do it without saying anything at all, leaving other people, even family, to wonder "what happened to...?"
I wonder what drives people to do this and how those left behind react. I have been wondering all this because someone I don't know very well complained that searching for the aircraft was a "waste of money". His neighbour is distantly related to someone who went missing on that flight. His neighbour is aware of how, in his words, "not knowing is eating the family up".
And then he said, "Knowing is important."
Yes, it is.