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Why ask, ask why?

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By John Pawlak

There’s a classic story about a philosophy professor who presented the students with a test asking a single question — “Why?” As the story goes, the only person who received an ‘A’ was a student who submitted the answer, “Because.” Another version of the story has the student answering “Why not?”
The story is of course an academic myth, an allegory promulgated on the premise that philosophy defines its own worth and that the value of questioning the questions is itself in question. Myth or not, the story does underscore a related question that merits answering — “Why ask why?”
Why should anyone seek an answer if there is no obvious value to having the answer other than simply to have it?
Why is the sky blue and the sunset red? Why does a refrigerator get cold? Why does a stick of butter float in water? Why you should never mix bleach and ammonia?
If curiosity killed the cat, does a cat that never questions anything live longer? Why are people so willing to accept what they’re told and not ask why?
If we stick our heads in the sand and cannot see the things we fear, are we safer? If ignorance is bliss, you would think that this world should be a much happier place.


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