SoCS: why?

“Why (this, that, or the other thing)?” is a question I try not to ask.

When I was a kid, the answer to “Why?” was often “Because” which could lead to a succession of “Because whys?” which were meant to be taken as a joke, but were really just frustrating.

“Why” questions are often unanswerable. I’m thinking of questions like “Why do people suffer?” and other existential things like that. Maybe “Because” is the appropriate answer. Because that is the way it is. Because this is reality. There isn’t really a reason or logic involved. It just is.

Sometimes, people use why to introduce a questioning of someone else’s motives or behavior. “Why did they do that or say that or think that?” The questioner often seems to not want an answer as much as voicing disapproval.

Where “why” questions seem most helpful to me are in fields like science where they can spur research that leads to actual answers. Most of our understanding of the universe started with asking why.

Now that I’m thinking about it, another useful realm for “why” questions is introspection. Unlike someone else questioning or speculating about my motives, I find it helpful to ask myself why I do or think or say certain things. The better that I can understand myself, the more likely I am to be able to learn and improve and be of help to others.
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is start a post with the word “why.” Join us! Find out more here:

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