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May 13, 2011 at 3:13 am #140318StryseParticipant
It’s a question we hear often… especially from younglings.
My answer of choice is “Why Not?” What’s yours?
So the urban legend goes… A philosophy professor administered a final exam that was a single essay. For the essay he wrote the topic on the board. It was simply:
The students worked laborously to answer man’s greatest, and oldest question… all save one. A confident young student who astonished both professor and classmates by taking no more than a few minutes to complete their essay, before rising from their chair, placing it on the professor’s desk, and exiting the classroom.
The student had written only two words in response:
The student, so the legend goes, received an A.May 13, 2011 at 8:52 am #159793PelarParticipant
From the Shadow discussion forum in the FA:
“Why?” – No other word better expresses our primordial search for meaning.
A fundamental necessity of human existence, according to some, born of our need to bring order into an otherwise chaotic experience. A basic requirement of survival. It’s a question we ask again and again from the moment we can, seldom stopping until some form of an answer can be given.Quote:“Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life.”
— Victor Frankl (“Man’s Search for Meaning”)
For many – the answers for the “whys” are instinctual. Almost pre-programmed, or at least derived from a previous programming. We ask the question because we must, then embrace a solution to quiet our discomfort. “Why X?” “Because Y”. Few go far enough to ask “But why Y?”…
Think about the questions we ask: “What”, “When”, “Where”, “Who”, “How”… “Why?”… Even if they are difficult to discover sometimes, the answers to the first four are relatively simple. “How?” is a bit more complex to answer, as it requires us to understand and describe not only the players, but also the relationships between them. The working mechanism.
But “Why?”… “Why” ponders the very essence of the subject at hand, rendering its very existence questionable. This is why we have to answer it. This is what gives it its power as a motivator in life. Our need to comprehend reality predominates everything else, and we’ll casually hide, lie and cheat ourselves to satisfy it, if necessary.
Those who do go beyond their comfort zone, and wonder at the endless “why” and “whys” of all things may soon discover that at a certain point our “why?” goes smack against a solid barrier, or maybe just loops back upon itself. The reason this happens is that our meanings are perceived… That they’re artificially formulated and imagined by us as a way of dealing with our subjective realities. This wall, I believe, should interest us because it marks the limits and boundaries of the human perspective. Nature has no “Why”. The Force has no “Why”. Outside of human interpretation – there is no “Why”. There’s only a “Because”. Things simply are.
“Because”… That dreaded answer which we’re taught to automatically discard as kids. It’s poison to the entire quest for meaning. The end-of-the-road for our attempt at “Verstehen“.
Or is it?
In a way – it is. It’s the furthest reach of logic. The border/edge of our very self. To go beyond that wall or loophole would take us to a place of no rules, no order, no self, no other, no reason and no “why”. A place beyond expression by spoken language – by words and definitions – where things are and is and am.
but is this an end? Or is it maybe the ultimate understanding?Quote:“And soon it does not matter. Soon the why and the reason are gone, and all that matters is the feeling itself. This is the nature of the universe. We struggle against it, we fight to deny it, but it is of course pretense, it is a lie. Beneath our poised appearance, the truth is we are completely out of control…
Causality. There is no escape from it, we are forever slaves to it. Our only hope, our only peace is to understand it, to understand the “why”. “Why” is what separates us from them, you from me. “Why” is the only real social power, without it you are powerless.”
— The Merovingian, “Matrix Reloaded”
But why “Power”? Why “Society”? Why “Life”?
BecauseMay 13, 2011 at 9:28 am #159794Brandel ValicoParticipant
It depends deeply on what the subject the question is asked in context with. But my usual response is to shrug and say “Why ask Why” Or “You asked I answered. You must find your own why”May 13, 2011 at 10:52 am #159795SetanaokoParticipant
Because the Universe didn’t give us the ability to be omniscient, omnipresent and/or omnipotent-thus Why arose to further our understanding….That and *nonchalantly speaking* because I can.May 13, 2011 at 11:58 am #159796Anonymous
Oh man… I hear that all day long… Why?
I usually say, “Why what?”, so the “why” has to be clarified.
It also drives people crazyMay 13, 2011 at 3:10 pm #159802JaxKeymaster
I’ve found that while why is the first question, it is rarely the correct question. Finding the correct question is the key to finding the answer.
But I’m still constantly wondering why initially, so… lol it’s a learning process.May 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm #159803StryseParticipant
Precision questioning! One of my favorite ‘continuing work education’ courses that they put me through.
Now if only I could figure out how to get a youngling… say that four year old that frequents my house… to think outside the ‘why’ box. Of course at some point its no longer about seeking, but a game to play with grown ups.
Sigh. I hate that she keeps reinforcing that I’m now one of the ‘grown-ups.’May 13, 2011 at 3:23 pm #159804JaxKeymaster
Oh well, now you’re asking for miracles. lol Have you tried asking her why she wants to know. That might make her pause, if but for a moment.May 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm #159806StryseParticipant
No, but I’m going too next time… If nothing else, her response will entertain me.
Gotta say, I love seeing the world through her. Really drives home that we, as a society, tend to greatly underestimate our children.May 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm #159810jdmcowanParticipant
… and overestimate ourselves.
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