Sunday, September 29, 2013
It started way back, when I was quite small
I would simply ask "why?"
one question, that's all.
I would wait for an answer,
sometimes it would come
"Because," "I Don't Know,"
"Ask your father or mum"
But it never stopped there
The questions kept coming.
And answers were lacking,
adults kept "ho-humming."
It would start out quite simply
and then get all muddled
I'd ask just one question
and end up befuddled.
Why is the sky blue? or
Why are plants green?
Why are they poor? and
Why is he mean?
Why should I be good?
Who put you in charge?
My mind would start racing
as questions loomed large.
Why are we here?
What ought I do?
Is there a rhyme, or a reason, or two?
Can it be learned, can I learn it, from who?
Will the answers be certain, or guesses, who knew?
My mind was unsettled, my brain never rested
But everyone moaned
when their answers were tested.
I meant them no harm, I truly did not,
But I wanted some reasons for
"why," "which," and "what?"
Their moaning made sense
when I learned that adults
Although bigger and stronger, respectable folks
Were confused just like me,
but had stopped asking "why?"
They just didn't care,
so they just didn't try.
Or maybe they cared
and that's why they had ceased
When you care about answers,
doubt leads to unease.
The questions I asked
were very unsettling
And unsettled folks
don't appreciate meddling.
But questions are things that are meant to be asked,
Meddling's our nature, unsettling's our task.
When I got older I went off to school
To college to learn from professors who knew.
I learned about dinosaurs, classics, geology
African poetry, gods, and psychology.
But philosophy, that was the first course to show me
That questions, not answers,
are how we keep growing.
We ask them because we're inquisitive beings
We're naturally wonder-full, curious things.
I decided that asking is what I should do
And I'd help others get good at it too!
A philosopher, that's what I wanted to be
I'd never leave college,
I'd stay here and teach.
My parents were less than excited, you see
College for them was about a degree
And degrees are just things for getting good jobs
And good jobs pay lots, oh yes money in gobs.
But philosophy isn't that kind of position
It won't earn you fame
and there is no commission.
And some don't think
teaching's a worthwhile job
"Those who can't do..."
say the ignorant mob.
For people like this life is just about stuff,
Having more than your neighbor and never enough.
For these types of folks
it's all about fortune and fame
What pays off is good,
what does not is lame.
So they don't, and they won't,
and they can't understand
It's wisdom, not money that makes a life grand.
So I kept pondering year after year
Up to this point with me sitting right here
A professor, philosopher, questioning type
Seeker of answers, asker of "Why?"
For questions are things that are meant to be asked,
And answers are things
that are meant to be passed...
Passed on to the next generation of Why-er
Passed by when they're old, outdated, and tired.
I've met many strange birds
as I've traveled this road
And some of them helped
write the book that you hold.
These doubters and Why-ers
these fabulous scholars
Address some big questions
and offer some answers.
We begin with a huge, spectacular query
One for which all thinkers have their own theory.
The meaning of life, now we are talking
A question so big it leaves everyone gawking.
A question so big it can't fit in one mind
So I've gathered a few to help with this bind.
But the number of answers is too great to count
And the answers we've counted
are too great to mount
In the pages that follow,
you'll just have to deal
with a brief introduction
to a very large field.
Ancients and moderns, Greek, German, and French
All play the game,
no one's left on the bench.
They'll tell you to flourish,
live well free of pain.
Or perish and suffer,
and struggle in vain.
They might be quite playful or doleful and dry
But at least these dear fellows do give it a try.
We have theories and guesses and tries by the oodle
Enough twisted fellows to twist up your noodle
And when thoroughly twisted
we'll keep right on going
We'll ask about knowledge
our minds over-flowing.
"What can I know?"
And why does it matter
and how does it go?
This stuff is important for one cannot travel
The road of the wise if one can't unravel
The true from the false, the sense from the babble
The solid and firm from the dribble and drabble.
And once we can begin to get smarter on smarts
We can move ourselves on to the ethical arts.
There's so much one can think
o'er the good and the bad
And so many dear thinkers
and thoughts that they've had.
We'll do our best to give you a view
A snapshot or a glimpse
o'er a theory or two.
We've got Greeks once again,
and our German friend Kant
As well as a Scotsman,
thats more than you'll want.
We'll do all the theory,
apply it as well
To issues like nature
and business pell mell.
We'll give you a history
as well as some praxis
And then we'll move on
to grind other axes.
It's off to the realm of political thought
Where it isn't just personal questions of "ought."
Now we will wonder about our relations
How people should be
and what of their nations.
Contracts and property,
how to divide it
all the ways to contrive it
And once we've wound
through these odd wiggled roads
we will find that our story has not all been told
there are questions
that still have yet to be asked
but this book isn't big enough for such a huge task.
Clearly one blog can't hold all the big thoughts
So we haven't discussed
all the whys, whats, and oughts.
This book offers a glimpse
It's merely one look
If you seek understanding
you'll need more than one book.
is fantastic read
for those who like to think,
it's fun and witty,
and over in a blink!
Sometimes the questions are complex,
the answers simple,
but reading this book
will leave you with plenty of examples.
You'll enjoy the ride,
the words and the inevitable Bang-ups,
following paths toward deeper understanding
and life's invariable Hang-ups.
There's a reason that Dr. Seuss's
Oh, the Places You'll Go!
is popular among scholars,
teachers and people you know.
It speaks right to us,
straight to our hearts,
and requires that we contemplate
the BIG IDEAS by using our smarts.
The places you'll go
while you're reading this book,
will have you returning
for many a look.
I found it funny, drôle and persuading,
the ideas, the concepts,
the thoughts left me contemplating.
How does one review a book
with such grand meanings,
with a rhyme or two,
my thoughts kept leaning
Back to my studies,
back to my thoughts I thought in school,
the ones I keep revisiting,
the ones which I now use as tools.
To decipher stuff like this
and make it my own,
to tell others about it
and that by reading this book
they can get into "the zone"
A place where we think and don't let go,
of the things we know
and the places we can go.