But why?


Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.  Bernard Baruch

“But why?”

Kids ask this question sooooo often. I remember when my son was young he regularly questioned things. What things?  Well, just about everything, all of the time.  I can still hear his little voice asking “But why?” or “How come?” Once answered he’d ruminate for a while before prattling on with various explanations and theories of his own. At other times he’d go in search of the answer himself by consulting books, asking teachers and other family members. It was frustrating at times, the constant ‘but why’s’, yet fascinating too how interested he was in the world and the why of things.

I was reminded of this intrigue when I met with a health practitioner this week who, when I asked a ‘but why’ question, responded with “They never told us”. ‘They’ being the university lecturers. How odd, I thought.  Here was an adult, established in his career for many years, who has never been curious enough to investigate the reason, consider theories of his own but simply content to accept that it is so.

My very own ‘Judgemental Judy’ came out and sat on my shoulder but before I got too far in condemning someone else I wondered, do I still ask ‘but why, how come?’, do I still investigate and find answers to things that puzzle me? Do I still hypothesise, probe and query? I wondered if adults remained curious or if this was something lost in childhood. Had we really seen so many cats killed that we stopped being curious?

After some introspection, I am pleased to report I still have a healthy sense of curiosity, that I continue to seek answers, often to very mundane and trivial questions though also, to the bigger questions of life, work and the world.  What I didn’t identify were the words ‘but why?’ being asked ad nauseam and I guess that’s the adult in me not wanting to sound precocious and annoying, all of the time.

As if in response to my questioning, I was delighted to read a post by Sue from Travel Tales of Life that confirmed that adults can still be curious and have fun with the wonder of the world (she was investigating an unusual discovery on a beach on Vancouver Island).

Are you still curious? Do you still ask ‘but why’, ‘how come’? Do you still theorise, investigate, probe and delve deep into life’s mysteries?

Have fun with it!