Fallout: Answers are easy, questions are difficult

Emanations of the Philosophy of Life Instinct

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Philosophy is a subject I have long been interested in but not given enough time for a full and proper study.  In the last year or so of trying to do something about it by reading the great philosophers, one thing that stood out is how they found the right questions to ask.  It’s probably true for great scientists too.

Their questions contained the germ of the answers they found.  Whether we agree or disagree with the answers, we can certainly see the great treasure in the questions they asked.

Finding an answer to a question is relatively easy, especially as there is a question to answer in the first place.  In some ways, an answer is like an effect, and a question is like a cause.  Originating a cause is what brings about something really new, isn’t it?  But how can we create a cause?  How can we cause a cause?

How do we find a good original question?  The first source of questions is sensory data, and the second is rational thought.  The former has become trivial after many millennia of human existence and inquiry.  Unless we get extra senses, the number of new questions from sensory data will probably reach zero soon or have already done so.

But thought should still have considerable potential.  In wading through seas and oceans of thinking, one may be lucky enough to stumble upon a good question.  It can be a question about the self, others, work, the world, ethics or any matter or subject that deserves great new questions.

I doubt one can hit upon a good question through sheer luck.  It may not even make sense to call such a question a ‘good’ question, for the seeking could be essential to the goodness.

For most of us, the questions we ask don’t have to be world-changing.  They can just help with being happier.  Looking back over my own insignificant life, I could credit the moderate success I have had in work and family to finding a few good questions now and then.  I am hoping to ask myself a few more good ones in the journey that remains.

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