How You Have Learned to Ask Questions as a Way of Avoiding Answers

To Ask or Not to Ask

To ask or not to ask–we have learned to ask questions as a means of not receiving an answer; we have learned to respond at times as a means to avoid answering. What is it we do when we ask? Is it the question to question? Asking and questioning are not one and the same. To inquire might have separate connotations; what remains connotatively different must not occlude the likeness and similarities between or among the synonyms. The lack of absoluteness in any synonymy must also never preclude us from understanding where and when they are interchangeable, these words that share a limited synonymy.

I can say that I like asking questions, have always liked asking questions, had never had much fear about asking questions, different kinds of questions of course could be asked depending on the situation or circumstance. I also had what I would call a sensitive understanding of the inappropriateness of some questions; there are always questions that come to mind that are inappropriate. There are questions the media should be asking power that are uncomfortable, but not inappropriate. Although today, these are too few and very far between. Now, what I should avoid asking, I understand clearly. What to avoid when and where and with whom, to whom–these are clearly drawn in my mind. Again, there are always questions you do not ask people; you have to remember the questions you never asked your grandmother, questions you never asked your father, never asked your best friends beautiful girlfriend, questions you would never have asked any teacher, even your favorite teacher, but might have thought about how you should not ask these questions, or how you could imagine asking these questions although you knew you were never going to ask them.

There are a thousand what ifs that are appropriate for pondering that must never cross our lips to another’s ears. All of this sensitivity is at least what I had assumed was a sensitive understanding, what I imagined was carefully employed nearly always. I had impeccable timing for my questions as I did for my humor–at least I thought so, and I do say that I have been a fair judge of my talents and skills. I am not given to delusion about them, not in the way American cultural norms almost demand. I could go on here about how I loved to question ideas, question assumptions, question the meaning or the significance of events, or just the simple questions asked when questioning authority, something I did not do in the reflexive ways my generation had assumed either necessary for purposeful social corrective or simply as a birthright that needed exercise otherwise it would wither and die and thus so would democracy.

Going on about this might be interesting, would fit the opening, but no, I will not go on about the questions I could ask, would ask, might have asked but did not and why. Questions always beget more questions; questions leading to questions after answers especially. I have always suspected that the reason most of us do not answer the questions we are asked and only respond to them is that if we answered, a new question would be asked and the force with which it would be asked would put greater stress on the next answer being delivered. Only responding actually stlalls the process by getting stuck on a question that needs to be asked again because responses in themselves are not answers.

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