On the Nature of Responses to the Question “Why”?

The answer to the most fundamental of questions, “why”, may be very enlightening concerning a person’s fundamental cognitive programming.  Among the diverse potential responses, two are very brief, precise and telling.  They are “why not” and “because.  Seemingly similar, they are introspectively very different, one is passive, “why not”, shifting the burden of response and leaving all possibilities open, and the other is active and aggressive, “because”, an exclamation point implied, shutting off debate.

Of course, the answer may be a long, complex and complicated discourse, also enlightening, but making it almost impossible to summarize the diverse parts of the cognitive spectrum on which it may fall, and, again of course, the lengths, complexities and natures of possible responses are almost infinite, say infinity divided by ten, for arguments sake.


“I don’t know”.  And “I don’t know is frequently, perhaps, the most honest answer but one most people are not secure enough to consider.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  However, he is also fascinated by mythology, religion, physics, astronomy and mathematics, especially with matters related to quanta and cosmogony.  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

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