Monday, June 8, 2015

The Answer

Often, you hear people say things about looking for – or finding – “the answer.” What they mean, I suppose, is that they are looking for – or believe they have found – the answer to life.

Christians, for example, like to say that Jesus is “The Answer” – with a capital ‘T’ and a capital ‘A’, of course.

This is fine, I guess. Many people believe they have found “the answer” – whatever it is to them – and I don’t really want to take that away from them.

But, at the same time, when people talk about looking for or finding “the answer,” I can’t help but wonder:

What, precisely, is the question?

Again, what they want is the answer to life, I guess. And yet, life isn’t a question, is it? It doesn't start with a "what" or a "why" or a "how," and it doesn't end with a question mark.

Rather, it seems to me that life is an experience.

The problem, then, is that if we treat life as though it were a question, we are taking something away from it. We are turning life into something semantical, trying to turn it into something more knowable than it really is.

Joseph Campbell once said, “God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying ‘Ah!’”

There is no tree, of course. And, according to Joseph Campbell, there may or may not be a god, either. Rather, what he means is that “God” is something that is meant to be experienced.

Life is the same, I think. If we spend our time assuming that life is a question, then we can’t help but try to understand it. That’s what you do with a question, right? – you try to know it, try to find out its answer.

But maybe the point is to spend less time trying to understand life, and more time just doing life.

Certainly life has many mysteries that are worth unraveling. But it seems to me that – most probably – the only way to really unravel life is to just experience it. It’s not that we shouldn’t wish to understand life. But of all things, life certainly is something that you can’t know until you try.

So try it.


Scott Downing said...

"life certainly is something that you can’t know until you try.

So try it."

I like that.

I think that the question that so many try to answer is not so much just Life? but What is the purpose/point/meaning of life? Why am I alive? What is my purpose/point? What is the meaning of my life? Does life have significance?

These are all answerable questions, and the answer that you come up with has drastic implications on your experience of life.

From a Christian perspective, yeah, I believe that God is "The Answer" because I believe that Jesus is "The Life," and therefore, if I truly want to experience life to the fullest, if you want to truly experience life to the fullest, it must be within Him, because He is the answer to a different question, What IS life? and within Him is pure unadulterated life.

"...I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance." -- John 10:10

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