Keep on Asking Silly Questions

When I was younger, the world did not make very much sense to me. I asked many silly questions, but would seldom receive any adequate answers or even an honest ‘I don’t know’. This made me feel very inadequate, as though there was some fundamental truth that I was just not getting. Then I thought, alright, they don’t know, but they’re OK about it because they know that there is at least someone who knows. The people in charge must know.

As I grew older and older and met more and more people, it became increasingly clear that no one knew all that much and that the proverbial emperor had no clothes. It took many years for me to fully come to terms with this and to rediscover the self-confidence to ask silly questions.

More broadly, as a young man I expected to find such things as perfect wisdom, perfect virtue, or perfect love in the world. But these things simply do not exist in their perfect, absolute, and ideal forms—or, at least, not outside our unique and very peculiar imagination.

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Author: Neel Burton

Neel Burton is a psychiatrist, philosopher, writer, and wine-lover who lives and teaches in Oxford, England. He is author of Hypersanity: Thinking Beyond Thinking, The Meaning of Madness, Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions, and other books. You can find Neel on Twitter and Facebook, and at www.neelburton.com

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