[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]
I know now that for a life to have any sort of meaning it has to be experienced from the point of view of having asked one big question. You may well ask, what do you mean by ‘a big question’ and I will reply, I mean such a question which, no matter how you try to find an answer for will remain unanswered. You can watch TV ‘til your cross-eyed, scour the internet, pray, ask whomever, do research, meditate, ponder. You can read philosophy, study all the greatest collected wisdom, watch Ted Talks or even play with algorithms and everything you put in that basket will fall out the bottom.
That’s it, that’s what real life is: a question bigger than anything a single life can ever answer and no one else has ever asked and given answers to. You see, a big question does not lead you in circles. You’ve all heard the saying, that doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is the definition of insanity. So think: isn’t that what our civilization (so called) has trapped the population of an entire world into doing? It’s our endless search using repetitive small questions that is bringing us and our bullshit accomplishments (again so-called) to their ignoble and much deserved end.
You may not agree and that is certainly your prerogative. You may continue to think about your traditional answers to your endless small questions and they will gladly continue to drive you to power society’s squirrel cage with their trite, repetitively useless non-answers.
If you would put an end to your personal contribution to society’s merry-go-round; if you would figure out a way to exercise your mind outside the pointless running with the herd up the forever collapsing side of the squirrel cage, try to ask one really big question.
The answer is always in the question, of course, or there could be no question, but you have to know how to ask the question if you would extract an answer from it. It takes imagination, courage, daring, commitment, dedication and I daresay compassion to ask one big question knowing that eventually an answer will begin to form to hang over your head like the sword of Damocles.
Each big question’s answer will demand your life. No, not your physical life, that is of little consequence to any big question, but your mind’s life. It will demand that you be ready to change your mind completely and endlessly – without ever reverting to simplistic answers given by little questions. Without ever going back to the squirrel cage even if you discover that you are the only one who jumped out and are standing alone while the herd frantically continues to power the spinning wheel that makes all the great evils of this world endlessly possible, or as endless as there is a world to sustain such foolish and enormously wasteful expenditure of finite energy.
Whatever your big question was that propelled you out from the thundering stampede, it now begins to formulate an answer.
You didn’t start out to go on some quest to the top of a mountain, to the jungle or in the deep desert – no, no such romantic idiocy that also brings you full circle. You just asked one big question, your big question. And only you, standing alone “far from the madding crowd” can ever formulate and hear the bits and pieces of your big answer. Only then will you also realize that it is on the formulation of that answer that you will cross the threshold into death and beyond where you will continue from one existential riddle to the next.