Runcible Blog

Why ask why?

I always wonder why people ask me why I do this or that. The latest question is, "Why do you have a mohawk?" Well, geeze, I don't know why. Does anyone expect a profound answer? "I want to get in touch with my Native American roots." Nah, sorry. There's no profound answer.

More often than not I've found that the question "Why?" is actually meant as a statement -- "I disagree with you. Explain yourself." Other people, I think, reflexively ask "Why?" when they see unusual things or behavior. As a result, I tend to give bogus answers whenever the question arises. I should apologize for being unresponsive to anyone who honestly wants to know why. I've heard so many people ask questions without listening to the answers that I just assume nobody cares.

In defense of "Why?", I find myself constantly asking that question. Everything I do at work -- "Why? What's the point?", when playing music -- "Why play it like that?", when reading the news, etc. Every time I put the camera to my face I ask "Why?". What am I trying to show? Why would I capture this moment? It's a very serious process.

So I shouldn't be hard on people who ask why. After all, doesn't the question point to the ultimate quandary -- "Why am I here?", or "Who am I?". Asking others why they do the things they do leads us one step closer to asking ourselves why we do what we do and one step closer to understanding.

And if "the unexamined life is not worth living", then what more meaningful question exists than "Why?"