Every question has an answer.
Or, so we are led to believe. But are we asking the right ones?
My officemate and I were having a conversation the other day about a controversy on campus. Emails have been flying back and forth, forth and back. A fair number of learned and esteemed colleagues were trying to “make their points” known.
In other words they hoped their assertions existed in a realm beyond question.
I said something to my officemate along the lines of, “Everyone is forcing the question, but nobody is asking the right one.” At the time she agreed.
Occasionally, our actions force a question. Once asked, we need to deal with it and all the ramifications nailed to it.
The problem, however may not be with the question itself, but more likely the answer we offer.
And in providing answers, some truths are magically revealed.
Sometimes when the questions are more rhetorical, we know the answer will usually be no different than the last time we asked it.
Yet, we ask all the same.
It’s as if our hope is to escape the inescapable. We’ll still end up doing the thing we’re attempting to avoid — but, we ask all the same. Just in case
Questioning the question.
Today someone asked If I was tired of asking the same questions over and over.
My initial response was: Yes.
Later, I thought that answer over. You might say I questioned it; I questioned the question.
After twenty plus years as a professor I consider myself a professional “questioner”. I have pretty much made a career asking the same questions over and over.
And guess what?
I rarely get the same batch of answers twice.
I’ve basically given up hoping to get the same answers as if the repetition of identical answers adds solidity to the world. Numerous circumstances affect the ways in which we will answer the deeper questions of character, being and spirit.
Perhaps, on some level asking the same questions over and over many not necessarily be a sign of insanity, it may be a way of building a bridge towards wisdom.
If we’re careful, consistent and persistent certain patterns emerge from these questions we pursue and the answers we eventually subdue.
Sometimes the best answer to the worst question leaves us warm and cozy by the fire. Assuming we follow our gut and answer each and every question for ourselves, in our given language and on our own terms.