Wednesday, October 16, 2013


In science, we read fancy titles like 'causes and consequences of so and so..'.

Some people are more interested in why something has happened. Others are more interested in finding out the course of things thereafter now that that something has happened.

The consequence part allows you to find solutions on the things that have happened. They lead us to think about the future course of action.

The cause part leads us to trace steps that have led to an incident.

I incline more towards the causes part. So, for example, if climate change makes a species abundant, and another species rare, someone may want to investigate what happens thereafter. Does this mean the first species spreads and the second species goes extinct and if yes, how soon, spread by how much?, etc.

My response is mostly why are there such differences between the two species? What is it that makes the first species more resilient and the second more fragile?

This is in parts because of the training I received during PhD where we answered the questions pertaining to causes more than the consequences. We answered the 'why' questions more than ' what'?

But this is also a manifestation of my basic nature. If I think about it, everything I plan is unplanned. I go by gut as far as my future is concerned. But once the ball is set to roll, it's fun to think, 'why am I doing it?' It is not the result of unsureness which gives rise to lot of whys too. This why is different. For example, going back to Auroville after PhD was a whim, and I did it without any plan. But for days together then, and even now, I think 'why did I go there?'. The answer could be as simple as because I liked it the first time and wanted to be there again, but obviously there are more layers to that answer, and it's fun to see within yourself, within others and the situation that paves the path for you. Analysis of a process make the hidden patterns to emerge, from which comes the insight which can impact the future. Or not.

So..I like the 'why' questions. I wonder why.


rathchakra said...

AGREE ....and you keep lecturing me on how the "why" is an exercise in futility! :)

A said...

There are differnt whys, many of which are indeed futile. There can be a lot of whys which may sound important and interesting but don't get to the level of questioning a process. I don't remember in what context I lectured you :)

Taking a hypothetical 'why': Why are bad things happening to me? Or for that matter: Why am I so blessed? These questions don't come out of curiosity to understand the cause-effect relationship, but from sadness and joy respectively, and the why there is more of a rhetoric.

rathchakra said...

Yes, know what you mean. But I also appreciate that the importance of them is subjective, so it really is beyond anyone to tell anyone which "why"s are worth pursuing and which ones aren't. For your example, there could very well be a reason behind "why are bad things happening to me?"...coz there could have been things that I could have done which caused the bad things to happen to me (example: I got lung cancer, coz I smoked like a chimney). So really the "why" each one pursues could have multiple layers and hence cannot be discarded willy-nilly. But I do get what you are saying - the usual bad luck kinda bad stuff doesn't really demand much of "why" finding. But who knows, maybe there is something to it, maybe there is a reason to every "why", we just haven't figured it out yet.

A said...

No one is telling anyone to stop pursuing anything. But if I am to be a party to someone's thoughts, I do get a say in what is a reasonable pursuit and what is futile. Moreover, it is my point of view, not a universal one.