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To find something that is given, one must first be looking for it. To understand an answer, one must first have asked the question, otherwise the explanation will sound like a foreign tongue, or like empty silence.

— Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word, Vol. 1.  <link>

Did you feel you were tricked
By the future you picked?

— Peter Gabriel, from “Down to Earth”  <link>

Is that a path or a rut?  <link>

The first person asks, “What time is it?”

The second person looks at watch and replies, “Now.”

First person ponders for a moment and then says, “That’s a pretty boring answer.”

Second person retorts, “Is not. It’s the least boring answer imaginable.”

— Randall Munroe, xkcd  <link>

Answers and Questions

You can tell a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.

— Naguib Mahfouz  <link>

What is essential is not the answer but the questions; the answers indeed are the death of the life that is in the questions.

— R.H. Blyth  <link>

In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened.

— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin  <link>

Rabbi Zusya said that on the Day of Judgment, God would ask him, not why he had not been Moses, but why he had not been Zusya.

— Walter Kaufmann  <link>

Why Is There Something, Why Not Rather Nothing?

All my life I have been contemplating a question of Heidegger’s that has always struck me as strangely profound: why is there something, why not rather nothing?

Have you ever thought about that? We take our life, we take life, we take existence, for granted. We take it as a given, and then we complain that it isn’t working out as we wanted it to. But why should we be here in the first place? Why should we exist at all? Why should anything exist at all? Really there’s no reason for it. Why not nothing rather than something? Nothing would be simpler.

— Norman Fischer, essay titled “Gratitude”  <link>

The Question of Why Evil Exists

The question of why evil exists is the same as why there is imperfection, or, in other words, why there is creation at all. We must take it for granted that it could not be otherwise: that creation must be imperfect and gradual. The real question we ought to ask is this: Is such imperfection the final truth; is evil absolute and ultimate? The river has its boundaries, its banks, but is a river all banks? Or are the banks the only important aspect of the river? Do not these obstructions themselves give the water an onward motion? The towing rope binds a boat, but is the bondage its meaning? Does it not at the same time draw the boat forward?

— Rabindranath Tagore  <link>

A Matter of Questioning and Struggle

We too often forget that faith is a matter of questioning and struggle before it becomes one of certitude and peace. You have to doubt and reject everything else in order to believe firmly in Christ, and after you have begun to believe, your faith itself must be tested and purified. Christianity is not merely a set of forgone conclusions. Faith tends to be defeated by the burning presence of God in mystery, and seeks refuge from him, flying to comfortable social forms and safe convictions in which purification is no longer an inner battle but a matter of outward gesture.

— Thomas Merton  <link>

The Really Interesting Questions

[Suppose] we just finished poisoning the earth and everyone was dead in a hundred years. Then what was the point of anything? Art, beauty—all gone—the Greeks, the Constitution, people dying for freedom, ideas. None of it meant anything? What about religion? Do we give up on God too?

I realized science couldn’t answer any of the really interesting questions.

— Dr. Chantilas, from Red Planet  <link>