The Value of Questions

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he doesn’t exist.

The murders in Connecticut have left grief, anger, and compassion in their wake. I add my condolences to the sea of sorrow…

Questions. So many questions. Most of the litany can be sublimed down to why? Why would anyone do such a horrific thing? Why would anyone target children and their teachers? Why would anyone kill their mother? …and so it goes.

We, as a society, as the outside watchers of the news, think answers will help us. We think discussions about mental health policies and gun control will yield the Holy Grail of answers and offer calmer seas. We think we want to know the true nature of evil and bereavement and chaos. We are lead to believe that once a thing is understood, it can then be dissected and prevented. (…or used as a weapon, more often than not…) Humans are pensive creatures; we have a spark of curiosity that defines our species.

I posit this: I don’t think the answers are half as important as the questions and the act of asking them.

If we get the answers we think we want, then we are finished. Complete. We will have labeled and categorized the human psyche as well as we’ve color-coded our genome. We will be no more than the sum of our parts. Also, because we are individuals possessing great brains, each our own, someone will break whatever mold we create for ourselves, more chaos will ensue, and more labels will be required. We will create a prison for ourselves that will squelch pain and happiness. There will be no room for experiences because there won’t be any.

The questions, though, are powerful, visceral things. If violent people are unloved, how, then can I love my fellow man more? If there is evil in the world, how can I foster more good? What can a mother do to love her children more? How am I ensuring that my children know they are loved every single day? How can I prevent such violence in my community?

(…my personal questions are these: how can a society which considers it a matter of personal choice to murder an unborn child or euthanize the ill, be surprised when the violence reaches past the clinic doors? how can we give back the dignity and personhood that goes with being human? why must everything come down to more medicine and less God? are we so blind to the existence of true evil that we are willing to sacrifice our children on the altar of ignorance? why is it a crime to protect but a sickness to harm?)

As long as we are unsatisfied with our collective behavior, humans will continue to try and improve, to become better, more the ideal. “green and growing, ripe and rotting”… The answers we honestly want cannot be legislated: gun control, school security, psychiatric medication, etc. The answers we truly seek are found in the questions about how we can love one another more. In asking our neighbors, “How can I help you?” In asking our children, “Would you like a hug and a chat?” We objectify and angrily castigate politicians, but they are just people, too. Ask your local official, “What can I do in my community to foster love and safety? What can I do to facilitate success here?”

I am so guilty of judging my fellow man. I fail to empathize, I fail to love, I fail to forgive. I fail to see the value of my fellow human being’s simple existence. I will look on a mountain in wonder and look down my nose at the absolute miracle that is my fellow man. I’m sorry for this.

Let us console one another with questions and love. The questions are so much easier than the love part…maybe that’s why we are in this situation to begin with…

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