The Uniquely Human Question: Why?

Scientists are generally occupied with questions of how phenomena occur, while philosophers want to know why. But whether he is a scholar learned in logic or a simple native whose school was a lifetime of experience, every human being goes to his grave wondering, “Why?”

First he blames his experience of the world on unseen, but all-powerful gods. Then as he learns the “how” of many of the things that occur, he attributes less and less of his experience to supernatural beings and learns to work with natural laws. Yet the question “why?” remains. It separates us from all other conscious forms of life. Animals want to know, “What is that? Where is it? How do I get it?” They may even wonder, “When? What happened? How long?” But an animal will not wonder why. Whatever its condition, it simply is.

Humankind wants to know why s/he is here, why s/he is perhaps ugly, awkward, disabled, a slow learner, poor, sick, or prone to misfortune. If s/he gets cancer, the first question is, “Why?” If his/her home is destroyed by a storm, s/he asks, “Why?” If s/he fails to win or achieve what s/he desires, s/he asks, “Why can’t I do/have it?”

This question is the source of most of our pain and suffering. It implies that there is a reason for our being here and for what happens to us, but it is a huge secret that we are never supposed to know as long as we live. Now, in hindsight, we can often see that if some misfortune had not occurred, we could not have moved on to the better position that we are in. We can see that if we had not needed help, we would not have met a person who became a lifelong friend. And if we had not failed at our first career attempt, we would never have discovered how to make use of our real talents. But this still has more to do with “how” than “why.”

The way to finding peace is to understand that there is no answer to the question, because there was no reason, no script that we were “meant” to follow. No Almighty Creator “put” us here for a purpose known to him only; we are not “supposed” to be here in order to do some pre-ordained thing. The universe and all that is in it is the visible expression of Pure Being, the First Cause, or God. And humankind, being capable of reason and abstract thought, is the highest expression that we know of so far. It is we who must create purpose within our lives because as human beings we need meaning, order, and significance to be happy. As gods in potential, we create our own world, flawed as it is by our lack of understanding. As expressions of God, we will never cease to be, but only be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

No need to look outside ourselves, asking, “Why?” The answer is within us, waiting to be expressed.


Author: b4i4get

I am a 68-yo retired Physical Therapist Asst. living in Texas. Currently I have ~5 dozen webpages, including 3 homepages, an e-novel, and 1 blog. I love cats, writing, and thinking about the big questions. I am also a singer-songwriter, though no one has heard of me--yet.

2 thoughts on “The Uniquely Human Question: Why?”

  1. A very insightful post! I found your last paragraph particularly meaningful to me, as I am a big believer in personal strength and growth. I’ll be back for more, and thanks for stopping by to comment on my site also.

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