If I asked you to name the first Bob Dylan song that comes to mind, what would it be?
See what I did there? Nothing like a little bit of conditioning to make you think, eh?
Seriously, if you did not answer “Blowin’ in the wind” you likely lied. Or fixated on a different song. Or you are unique.
Welcome back everyone,
I posted an Aldous Huxley quote on Facebook last week, and in the comments, I received a recommendation to listen to a certain podcast (details at the bottom of the post). Listening to about half of it (Hey, it was late) I received some reinforcement to my pre-existing belief. The belief that thinking it’s possible to understand everything is simply wrong.
I’ll let you read this latter piece again. Ready? Let’s go.
Early in the movie “The Matrix“, Neo meets Trinity in some party and she engages him. Here’s what she says to Neo:
Trinity: I know why you’re here, Neo. I know what you’ve been doing… why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you sit by your computer. You’re looking for him. I know because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn’t really looking for him. I was looking for an answer. It’s the question that drives us, Neo. It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did.
Bob Dylan says “The answer, my friend is blowin’ in the wind” and Trinity says “It’s the question that drives us.” In two short lines, they summarize all there is to know.
What makes us get out of bed in the morning? Is it the necessity? Getting to work so we don’t get fired? Not looking like a slob? Is it simply the fact that our body needs motion? Is it even an option?
I’d submit that it’s the search for an answer. An answer to questions like “What is this day going to be like?” or “What’s out there?”. Questions like “Am I going to experience something enjoyable?” or “Am I going to meet someone interesting?” and many others.
Do you know that feeling of finishing a book and having a bunch of questions running in your head?
Do you look at nature and can’t stop wondering how this or that may be possible? Have your kids ever asked you to explain some of those very things?
Are you religious? Do you wonder about the divine?
To me, as it relates to the questions above – Getting out of bed, finishing such a book, observing nature and thinking about the divine IS the answer.
See, the answer might be blowin’ in the wind. But it’s the question that drives us.
A good book is one that makes you question, makes you think about a dilemma, a conflict. A writer once told me something I fully agree with. If you answered every question raised in your story, what will the reader have to answer? It’s part of the reading experience. Why should a writer rob the reader of it?
Would any of us bother getting out of bed if there was nothing to answer?
What about science? I have a problem with SOME scientists and science enthusiasts in that they shove the “if we search enough, we will find all the answers” argument down my throat. Now, I’ll leave the validity of the claim aside for now. My argument is that whether or not that’s true, science would not be practiced, scientific achievements would not be made without the question mark. It seems trivial but it is not.
People (my younger self included) throw this at religion. How can you just accept anything as “God’s will“? Or blame them for being “lazy” for not questioning.
However, this is flawed. At least in Judaism (and I assume that it’s true to other religions, I am just not familiar enough) the study of the religion is a very central piece of the puzzle. Not only do people hold endless debates about every word in the Torah or the meaning of every prophecy, they are (some, not all) questioning the very existence of god. How many scientists are doing the same about core laws of physics for example?
This is not to start a theological debate. Not at all. This is simply to show that we are all driven by the same thing – Questions.
Are we ever going to find the answers? Well, the answer, my friends, is blowin’ in the wind. We may (and likely will) find some answers. We will likely never run out of questions.
And how important are the answers?
Can I live without ever getting all of the answers? I think, if there’s one question that was answered beyond a shadow of a doubt – it is this. Yes I can. I can accept that some answers will not be reviled to me.
I also know a couple of other things.
Where do we find answers? I’d submit that the majority of the world’s population get the answers from not more than a handful of sources. The media, The internet, encyclopedias and other literary sources, Other people (including what we call professionals), governments and governmental institutions.
The problem is right there though.
We get the answers to many of our questions without questioning the source. Or not questioning enough at best. Remember how I started this post? Is it very different from the way newspaper are edited? Is there a huge difference between this trick and how we watch the news casts on TV? Does the fact that doctors got a diploma really make them the highest authority with regards to our health? Does our government provide us the information we really need? All of it? Is it legal? Constitutional where applicable? Who wrote these entries in the encyclopedia? Who built that website?
I guess these are questions I don’t have all the answers for. I do believe one thing though. These questions always need to be asked. Including about me, as you read these words. And sometimes, we can only do so much. But one thing we should not do is stop asking. We may not get the answer. It might be answered sometime in the future. It may never be answered. But it would be kind of boring otherwise wouldn’t it?
Thanks for stopping by again. I appreciate it.
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