Unboxed Life

Boldly existing outside the box through conscious living and constant learning.

Questions Without Answers Are The Only Ones Worth Asking

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”


editors note: This post has an inordinate amount of question marks in it so if you don’t like squiglley punctuation it might not be for you, I’m just sayin’.

The fact in life remains, whether we are aware of its presence or not, that who we are in this world, and perhaps even the next, will be determined by the questions we choose to ask or not ask ourselves. In religion, society, school, work, social settings, and in all parts of the life we live the asking of questions is often discouraged. We are not supposed to ask, to probe, to doubt or to seek clarity. We are to accept. Conform. Ignore the impulse to question. Unboxed Living is not just about our outward relationships with other humans, but it is equally about the conversation between the soul, heart, mind, and body. To question the things that we perceive as truth or have accepted as fact is the single most powerful tool in the journey to an expanded mind and sense of our purpose on earth.

There is a lost art in our society that has stripped us of our inquisitiveness. This is the art of contemplation. To leave the material world behind and drift aimlessly through a land where the questions we ask do not require answers but in the asking of them is found their value. But what are the questions that we should think on? Well that is a loaded question in and of itself and one that can only be answered by you. As we seek to open our minds free from the blockages of selfishness, close-mindedness, and limited understanding the contemplation of questions will lead us to a new level of enlightenment.

Below are 9 questions that might be able to jump-start your Unboxed Thinking and contemplation time. Granted, since I am writing this, they are some that I have spent considerable time (some might even say far too much time) thinking over and generally getting lost in. That doesn’t mean you will or should or should try to. The idea is to find questions that pique your interest and give you the sense that you are learning, broadening, and finding a higher level of connection with the mysteries of life.

What is the meaning of my life?

This is one that i think it often miss-stated “what is the meaning of life.” To try to assign a generic meaning to all the expanse of life is utterly limiting and the most damaging form of placing barriers on the human spirit. Instead let us all think on what our individual purpose on this Earth is. In this way we begin to shape our legacy and our destiny by seeking out the answer to this question. Without it we will constantly be followers and never find the path, no matter how contrary it might seem, that is where our heart and soul are most in tune.

Do I have a responsibility to others in the world?

As sub questions: Are my actions mine alone or do they effect others in the world? If I do have a responsibility to other living people, what is it? This question begs us to contemplate the social, moral, and ethical relationships between ourselves and where we exist in the world and the station or position of others. Why does the immense inequality in the world exist and how am I contributing to that? I really believe that until we can come to some semblance of understanding of our own place in the world we will be unsuccessful in our attempts to affect positively the world we live in.

If today was my last day on Earth, what would I do with it?

…Yeah, let that sink in. As you do, and start to have some ideas write them down. Now when you have this list of hypothetical actions, ideas, or habits think of this: Why am I not doing them? Now go and do them.

If I knew I would live forever, how would I live life differently?

Immortality has historically driven men to do insane, evil, courageous, and legendary things. The idea of a never-ending life has a romantic aura and sounds like a true gift. But is it? If you knew you would never die what would that do to your idea of living? Does everlasting life mean an Earthly life? If there is an afterlife is it really after life, or is it just extended life? What if… yeah, see how that works.

What is love?

The act of meditating on love has proven many times over to bear little fruit in the effort to define it. Is love a feeling? Or is it an idea? Or is it the way the hair on your arms stands up when you touch a loved one. The warmth that comes with a perfectly written song or an exquisite piece of art. Does love live inside of us, or does it thrive when it is poured out? Can we see love? Can we touch it, taste it, smell it? Does love exist even in the presence of the utmost evil? I can say this, that I have found that love makes room for itself whether we choose to recognize it or not and love is the only thing that is truly universal, the single idea that does not adhere to the laws of nature or of man. Do we really want to know what love is? Doesn’t the pursuit of it make it even sweeter?

How do I know that what I see with my eyes is what everyone else sees or what is actually really there?

The larger question for this is probably what is reality? Is what we see with our eyes reality, or are there unseen things that move through the world that exist beyond the scope of our limited understanding? How do I know that when I see the crystal blue waters of an alpine lake against the power and fury of a mountain that it looks like it does to you? Is green the same green to you as it is to me? Can I access the other things that exist in our world if they are there? Thinking about how our perception of the places we live in helps us to have an appreciation of the complexities of life. That we are not just here to live solitary or for our own gain, but that we are part of an intricate mosaic of life, one connected to another through time and space.

Is there a line to be drawn between acceptance, tolerance, and open-mindedness and ignoring the spread of destructive ideas?

In our society we value personal freedoms and the ability to exercise those freedoms to the will of our hearts and desires. This is a great thing and something that we continue to require work in on many levels. The question comes in when society begins to not discern between tolerance and acceptance, and the proliferation of our own destruction as a people. Who gets to decide when this is happening? Does there exist a consensus on when open-mindedness stops being a virtue and starts being a flaw?

Can money buy happiness?

If you had unlimited funds, or some amount that seemed unlimited, how would your life be different? Not different in what you have or can do, but how it feels? We all could use some extra dough, but does the possession of money have the ability to alter our mental and psychological makeup? What would you do with more money? And be honest with yourself, you are the only one listening?

What things make you who you are?

Is it my car? My job? My money? My haircut? I’m kidding of course, those aren’t it. This question, more than any other, will lead you to places you may not want to go but where you will find the power to achieve your purpose in this life. Without a strong sense of self and the truthful pondering of what and who we are as people we can never expect to give that self to the world or others for their benefit. Truth in life is somewhat arbitrary. Where real truth lies is within each of our hearts. The truth about who we are is the only one that matters in the end, and with that truth we can do impossible things.


8 comments on “Questions Without Answers Are The Only Ones Worth Asking

  1. kolena
    September 13, 2012

    wow this is a great one so many questions that i need to think about thank you for asking them ….

    • Tanner Colton
      September 13, 2012

      Thanks Kolena, I needed to ask them for myself more than anything. I appreciate the comment and I hope they help you expand your mind in some way.

  2. The Professor
    September 13, 2012

    This is beautiful. Great post. I think Einstein said it another way: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

    Mark Blasini

    • Tanner Colton
      September 13, 2012

      Yes, I love that quote. Thanks for the kind words Mark, hope all is well with you. Been reading your stuff a lot lately, going back and reading some of my favorite posts. It is crazy how words can have such a different affect at different times in our lives. Thanks again.

      • The Professor
        September 13, 2012

        Thank you so much Tanner. That really means a lot to me. Likewise, I like going through your posts because there are so many gems of wisdom in them. As a writer, I try to keep the mindset of writing for the future, for months or even years from now, and not the present. If a person can keep coming back to them, then I know I’ve done my job. Hope all is well with you, too!

  3. Angel B
    September 14, 2012

    Great post Tanner! Great questions! You always write such thought provoking stuff! This is one I will definitely need to come back to often to revisit and reflect on. Thanks again!

    • Tanner Colton
      September 14, 2012

      Thanks AngelB, I always appreciate your insights and comments here. Talk to you soon!

  4. Mary
    September 16, 2012

    Hey Tanner, great post! I don’t know that religion condemns us for questioning, we all need to find that testimony of what we believe inside ourselves, which takes questioning ourselves and if we accept and act upon what we learn. I also think that there are eternal laws and truths that operate whether we ourselves believe in them or not, but coming to know those for ourselves will affect how we live our lives and how we operate in others’ lives, how we treat others. Because I believe we can all live forever, that makes me question and hopefully improve my interactions with those I love, and in fact the whole human race. You always make me think, and I enjoy that. You are right, sometimes I get so busy I forget to take the time to just be still and listen.

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This entry was posted on September 12, 2012 by in Inspiration, Unboxing Tools and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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