Sunday, July 14, 2013

Do you collect questions or answers?

Here's a brilliant cartoon that a friend forwarded to me that I really enjoyed reading and dwelling on for days! I see it as another way of articulating my previous post 'The Flame of Discontent'. 

Questions = the flame of discontent
Collecting questions = letting oneself be consumed by the flame of discontent 
Answers that readily leave our collection box without much fuss = our temporary resolutions to base our actions on
Collecting answers that settle down comfortably refusing to leave = putting out the flame of discontent

When we say 'Ignorance is Bliss', we are collecting handed-down 'answers that bully their way into our collection without being invited by any questions of our own'. These answers instead 'seek the questions that fit them'. But once we step out of the comfort of such answers, toss them away and decide to ask our own original questions, we realise what a burden enculturation actually has been. When we start questioning, we begin to experience freedom from the burden of unworthy answers. For 'The only way a question can prove itself unworthy is by attracting a better question. You're never empty handed. What does an unworthy answer leave you with?'


*enculturation: being influenced, conditioned and shaped by the dominant culture around us, without questioning or challenging it. Here, it means 'answers that we tend to accept just because they've been lying around long before we came along... we accept them just because they satisfied the questions of so many before us...' 

1 comment:

Rajesh K said...

Not all 'enculturation' is bad. Culture is something that we have developed over the centuries due to collective knowledge/intelligence. People enforce it on others in order to ensure some degree of order and security. In short, we trade security for freedom (to some extent) and we learn from the collective wisdom, irrespective of what 'constraints' we have been put through.

The point is: Our survival instinct is stronger than our happiness instinct. That's not always bad. We need to survive, in order to be happy, right?