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June 22, 2009


Isn't the statement, "Life is about discovering the right questions more than having the right answers", seem like an answer itself.

It could be posed this way. If someone asked, "What is more important, having the right answers or the right questions?", the reply "Having the right questions" would be an answer. So obviously there is at least one answer that is more important than a question.

It seems a little self refuting.

It's hard to tell from the description Greg gives what the challenger means. Maybe Greg got a clearer description from the emailer but failed to pass it on to us. Maybe the emailer got a better description from the challenger but failed to pass it on go Greg. Maybe the emailer failed to get a good description from the challenger - that is, maybe the emailer failed to ask What do you mean by that?

Some questions are not well posed. Some have no answer. You can ask a bad question and still gain knowledge but usually we go about inquiry trying to ask questions that have answers.

This is clearly exemplified in math. You sometimes ask whether a problem (question) has a solution (answer) prior to trying to solve the problem (asking the question itself). If the answer is NO, there is no point in asking the question (looking for the solution).

Thanks Greg.
Love GK Chesterton's quote...

The problem I was having that is a little truncated in transcription was this (is this - the proponent still holds the view)

His assertion is I'm completely narrow minded for having any answers, or believing there may be any correct answer to any question at all.

Now having run thru the tactics and asked what he meant etc we came to an impasse - I wasn't able to get an answer out of him in regards to "what he meant by that?" because it was about the question - not an answer.

So basically he answered with a question and not an answer. Very unhelpful and all... And frankly what I was doing to him but at least I was trying to go somewhere with the questions.

Honestly - what are you supposed to do with it?
It was silly really.

I stayed calm and didn't suggest his brains were going to fall out because his mind was so open (as attractive as that come back is...)

I simply posed a question - "if there are no answers worth knowing why be interested in questions in the first place or at all?"

He couldn't really go anywhere with that but came up with the pat:

You just have to BE. Not do.

Well answers appear to be the highest form of do so, "like, don't ok? (man)"


If you know there's fish in the pond you cast until you get one - right?

but what if you don't know there are any fish in the pond?

You cast until you are reasonably satisfied there is no point casting any more.

It's like this for asking questions - sometimes there's point to finding out if there's anything to it. Eventually you get a take or you decide there's no point casting because the fish are either not in there or not interested.

There was no point asking anymore questions in this case because I'm positive there are no fish in the pond - or in another's words he's chosen to have his brains slip out for a bit.

I take solace in at least he's asking questions - hopefully, eventually, he'll remember why we do that.

This is a common statement. I don't know why people seem to think it's something so profound. It sounds nice on the surface, but really, it doesn't make much sense when you think about it. As Greg said, what good are questions if you never learn the answers? (Especially if learning the answers means the difference between eternal life with God and eternal death in hell!)

This is simply one of those statements we hear tossed around that we are supposed to just accept without thinking it through fully.

Michael -

Your question to your friend was a good one: "if there are no answers worth knowing why be interested in questions in the first place or at all?"

His "spiritual" sounding but ultimately meaningless response shows that he really doesn't have an answer to that question. It's possible he's never really thought about it that deeply. After all, those types of slogans are what we hear in the culture all the time. They sound so profound, but if you take them apart you find there is not much there of substance, just... flowery sounding words.

I'm sure it was frustrating and you felt you weren't getting anywhere with him at that moment. But it's very possible that this question of yours will stick with him and he will do further thinking upon it. And when he does, don't be surprised if he comes back to you for a further discussion!

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