Understanding, not answers

​You think the entire purpose of asking a question is to get an answer? Maybe in science. 

But we ask some questions expecting not to get an answer. Questions like, “who am I?”, “what am I supposed to do?”, “why?”, “where do I go from here?”

These questions are philosophical. They don’t deal with the operation of the physical universe. They deal with the human condition and the art of living. 

They are questions we ask to find understanding, not answers.

I’ll give you an example. 

First question: What is 12 times 177? All you need to get an answer to this question is a basic grasp of multiplication. Or like me, a device with a calculator app.

It’s 2124, by the way.

Second question: What is love?

We’ve been searching for a definitive answer to that question for thousands of years. Some of them have been great, many of them, well, haven’t.

But we don’t need an answer, because we understand what it is. Even if we can’t communicate it. 

Everybody knows what love is when they see it or receive it.

But if we cannot find an answer, why do we continue to ask? One reason is the tantalising possibility that we might just find one. But a second reason, one that to me, seems more likely, is this:

We hope that by asking, we can move closer to understanding the puzzle that is life.