I have a beloved relative, a thoughtful and philosophical person who, even now at 94, is still asking questions about life. This Thanksgiving holiday was an opportunity to spend some quiet time with her and hear her reflections about people she loves, people who’ve passed, people she misses; she took the time to wonder whether she really understood the people she thought she knew. Had she missed important aspects of people she thought were friends? Were they really as nice as they appeared to be on the surface? Did she really know her own parents? And, especially as one grows closer toward the end of life and physical pain increases, why is life still worth living?
These are big questions, important questions, which got me thinking, not just about people I know, but about the choices people make, their impact on each other and the world each of us is involved in creating. This has been particularly on my mind in recent days as I see so much unnecessary anger on social media and wonder why people—when it really is people and not bots—devote so much energy to attacking others. I wish I could ask and receive a real answer to the question: Really, why are you so angry? In turn, there are others I’d like to ask: Why are you so indifferent at a time when your engagement could not be more important?
Maybe all this is a lot, even too much, to think about. But I hope it might evoke your thoughts on questions worth asking. Perhaps it’s to someone you know and love but never had a chance to question beyond the surface. Maybe it’s a question to a politician or someone else in public life. Perhaps it’s a broader question you’d like to ask about life or society, for example: Are we Americans ever going to regain a sense of unity—and how?
So here we are for this Saturday: What question do you want to ask? And why? I’m always intrigued to read what’s on people’s minds here, but I’m especially curious to learn what this prompt elicits and what we may learn from each other. I hope it strikes you as a worthy reflection, a valuable follow-up after holiday feasting. As always, please do be respectful.
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