Friday, July 17, 2009


Why are some questions “enduring” questions, while others are “settled” questions?

Is it that enduring questions can never be settled, or just haven’t yet been settled?

Are there some questions we can raise that are impossible to answer, yet we persist in trying, however futilely?

Are some questions durable because they are very hard, and no one has yet succeeded in cracking them to everyone’s satisfaction?

Or do enduring questions endure because, over time, their answers change? If this is so then perhaps enduring questions are questions to live with and grow into, as Rilke advised: “Live the questions.”

Or are they abiding and perennial questions that all inquisitive people encounter in due time and wrestle with, perhaps for all their lives, which makes their course of life not merely a course but a quest?

This last perspective is, I think, the most useful—that of abiding, perennial, recurrent questions fundamental to our concerns as human beings, concerns of various kinds: personal, societal, cultural, natural (scientific), cosmological, philosophical, spiritual, and sapiental (we being, after all, Homo sapiens sapiens).

Each person, each generation, gets to grow up to and into these kinds of questions, asked afresh and maybe answered anew, since each generation, standing on the shoulders of their fathers and mothers, sees from a different vantage and sees some things, perhaps, more clearly.