In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.Bertrand Russell
“Question everything!” was supposedly a slogan of the rebellious 1960s. At least, that’s what my dyed in the wool conservative mother always told me. I wonder what she would think if I told her it was actually an ancient Greek playwright who said it several centuries before the 1960s? For her, to question everything was synonymous with question authority and that was something terrible to be avoided. But that presupposes that whichever authority one might be questioning is omnipotent and always has the good of everyone at heart.
I don’t know about you, but all the humans I know are exceedingly flawed, often ignorant, sometimes stupid, and are rarely 100% altruistic.
Children are naturally curious and question everything from a very young age. I like to think I never outgrew that “but why?” phase. To question is to acknowledge that I don’t know everything and thank heavens – life would be super boring if I already knew everything! And human authority should be questioned. It’s when we stop questioning that life gets either stagnant or dangerous or both. And as I mentioned the other day, our memories are fluid and hazy things. If we don’t question our ideas or beliefs now and then, we may end up believing some very wrong things.
Fake news or the use of media to propose a false idea has been around as long as power hungry people have lived. And propaganda is a terrible political tool but everyone uses it. So it’s good to be wary and question everything. These days it’s so much easier to just click the share button without doing any personal investigation. Because that takes time and who has time to go down a rabbit hole of information?
Oh, we do. Since we’re at home all day now.
I’d like to say that my memory is still like a steel trap and I remember what Euripides said in one of his plays (the actual quote is “By arming them with fine-edged/rules and versicule-contractors/To mark, see, understand, and twist, make love and/try inventions/Suspect and question everything.”) but I wanted to make sure exactly where this quote came from. So I did about fifteen minutes of research. Not that everything I wonder about takes that short amount of time to research but it is time well spent.
It must also be remembered that when questioning something, it is always good to stay humble in one’s search. Experts have their place and unless you are willing to go back to school and obtain a degree in virology or molecular biology or any other -ology, questioning something and stubbornly holding on to a contrary belief simply because you don’t like the expert or you don’t agree with their politics is not a sign of wisdom and questing after truth. It’s just fear wearing the mask of incredulity. And fear almost always leads to bad decisions. Truth, however, is always worth searching for, even if it leads to pain and suffering.
So suspect and question everything, but remain humbly open to learning the truth.
During the month of April, I’ll be participating in the Blogging A-Z Challenge.
A member of the Water Street Writers, Mikaela D’Eigh is a writer, poet, gardener, mental wellness advocate, and a lover of Scotch, K-Pop, and KDramas. She writes about anything and everything, using all the crayons in the box. Currently, she lives out in the country with two Egyptian gods disguised as cats, a herd of cows, and the occasional flock of wild turkeys.