Musings

Questions ― 3 min read

Easy questions

Some questions are easy, for example - "what did you eat for breakfast this morning?".

Not so easy questions

But even "what did you eat for breakfast this morning?" is a bit interesting in that it tacitly assumes you did eat something for breakfast this morning. Maybe you didn't, in which case you might answer "I didn't actually eat anything for breakfast", or just simply "nothing".

What if someone asks me what my brother's name is and I have no brother?

These questions seem to have false assumptions in them. If the assumption is true then they are easy to answer, but if it is not true then the questions are flawed.

Harder questions

Some questions are not so easy - "What does the color blue look like?" Could you answer that question if it was asked by someone who was born blind? Blue obviously looks like something to those that can see it and talk about it, but answering the question about what it looks like is not so easy!

We have other questions that intuitively would seem to have answers, but those answers are out of our reach. How many grains of sand are there in the Sahara desert? We can guess, but noone can possibly count them. We can make the question significantly harder if we ask how many grains of sand there were 1000 years ago.

Nonsense questions

Not all questions are well-formed or make any sense:

"What is the answer to this question?"

"What's the answer to the next question I'm about to ask? What's the answer to the last question I asked?"

These questions are reminiscent of the liar paradox: "this statement is a lie".

Deep questions

We've looked at questions that can be answered easily, questions that have false assumptions and therefore no answers, questions which seem to have answers but we have no way of knowing them, and questions which don't really seem to have answers at all.

What kind of questions are the so-called deep questions? Can we even answer that question? I think what we're beginning to realize here is that there is sometimes more to a question than meets the eye.

"Who made the world?"

"What is our purpose here?'

"What should I do with my life?"

"What happens to me after I die?"

"How do I know what is right and what is wrong?"

"What is the one true religion?"

"What is the meaning of life?"

"What is life?"

"Why do I exist?"

Answering questions

Imagine investing all your time and energy into discovering an answer to "What is the answer to this question?". Imagine it was the most important question in the world. Can you see how that might make you incredibly anxious and end up being a massive drain? Where is the answer? Where do you have any hope of finding it?

What if the classic question "What is the meaning of life?" is not all that much different from "What is the meaning of clouds?". Of course countless religions all have answers to many of these deep questions, but what if it turns out the questions are flawed in the first place?

This musing has been too long and analytical and has asked too many questions! Sometimes the wisest thing to do is to let these questions go, walk outside and feel the breeze against your skin.


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