What am I doing, what should I be doing, why am I here? These questions never really worried me one iota for fifty years of my life, if they ever did cross my mind they were subsumed quite quickly in the everyday, in working, in being a family man, in doing stuff. I never really stopped to consider any of those philosophical questions, more than that I scoffed at people that I came into contact with that did ask themselves those same questions, I pigeonholed them as having too much time on their hands, namby-pamby fools, diverted from the reality of life, because I knew, life was something you just got on with, end of story.
I find it very funny that over the last three years I have become one of those people I once took the piss out of. I have spent a bloody lot of time trying to work it all out, perhaps I should have thought it through, after all finer minds than mine have spent whole lifetimes looking for answers to the big questions, nobody as far as I am aware has come up with definitive answers.
This became clear to me along the way, somewhere I realised that, there are never definite answers, however hard you look for them. Perhaps I began to understand this with myself and through the people I’ve met, those invested in an idea are always the ones that are focussed, motivated, who appear to have worked something out, they are in some form of practice in which they find their reason, for some it is religion, some it is building or creating – a fat bank balance, property, power, for others it can be the idea of enlightenment, of spirituality, or of a family. There are like grains of sand on a beach innumerable ways of finding reason. But then as I have seen those reasons can, given the vagaries of life crumble into nothingness in an instant, where do you go then, when the business goes bust, when you get ill, when a family disintegrates, what happens if the thing you invested in ceases to be? Maybe the thing to do then is just to hitch your wagon to a new horse? But then what if that horse you discover is an old nag, played out and going nowhere? Do you just find another?
I still want answers, but I know in my heart of hearts that they are elusive, even transitory and they are ultimately fallible. I am reminded of conversations with my son when he was little, so many of them, they began with a Why, Why does X happen? I would reply, then there would be a pause, (you could almost see his brain ticking over my reply), then a moment later another why question would follow, this would be repeated over and over again, at times it felt like an endless conversation, every question he asked me to which I gave an answer was followed by another pause and then another Why? There was something really striking about those conversations, the endless whys, enthusiastic, searching, seemingly endless, after a while I would give up, I couldn’t keep coming up with answers, I closed down the conversation with a because that’s just the way it is. This was my get out, but I have to say I missed the point back then.
The answer perhaps lies in the question, a child grows and finds reason through asking questions, so to we move and we grow and learn in exactly that same way, sometimes we lose sight of that and we forget to ask why. We may never find definitive answers, in a way that doesn’t matter in the slightest, because for each question we ask we find something, some form of response, some sense, there is always a reply somewhere waiting to be unfolded, then we find another question, and another, to ask of ourselves or of the world. I think that’s the thing, to keep asking questions and to look for answers, in what you see, what you think, in those you meet, in the world you live, and if you are lucky, very lucky you may just find the answers.