The fallacy of “why” questions has been discussed frequently throughout the website. It is said that you can only answer a “why” question with another “why”, such as: Why does it get dark at night? Why does the sun go down? Why does the earth rotate? Any “why” question therefore creates an infinite loop in the brain which goes on and on and on.
The mental picture given was a “little pointer” that goes from brain cell to brain cell looking for the answer and the brain cell says, “I don’t know”, so it goes to the next brain cell and when it has completed the whole brain, it starts over again.
Recently I ran across a little more explanation of the “why”, but also what one can do to circumvent the infinite loop.
See below as Dr. Bob answers a “why” question.
(Bob, why do I find it necessary to continually ask why questions.)
You’re looking for an answer to come from the past because you assume there is a hidden “cause” back down there in the past that’s gonna bite you. All “why’s” ask for blame. All blame must have been before this moment. The question is unanswerable in its present form.
Asking a question in a proper way brings a question/answer immediately. The “why” question is out of time.
When we say “what” such as “What is going on” or “What am I doing” – one asks for information; and when you use those questions, you will notice that there is information in present time. Either of these questions could be answered.
It sounds like a very simple little thing. It sounds like you’re nitpickin’, but the human mind is a very delicate instrument; and a hair in it can throw it off like a hair in a fine watch can. So this can be a very worthwhile experiment to keep in mind when you’re observing self.
I decided to try the experiment of using the question of “What’s going on?” and/or “What am I doing?” on a recurrent why question in the mind; and lo and behold, I did get a different answer.
Last year I lost a once a month gig that I had been doing for years. I could get no explanation from email or phone call as to “why” I was cancelled. I got lots of guesses from within, but no facts. The “why” came up with – there wasn’t enough funds, the woman who hired me quit, I played a song or songs that offended a resident – like the wrong religion, too silly or simple, etcetra, etcetera.
If the “why/blame” was her, I was angry.
If the “why/blame” was me, I felt guilty and didn’t know what to feel guilty for; and started questioning any material I sang.
If I didn’t know what to blame I was fearful. I began to think that I would lose all the other little monthy gigs.
The point is that the “why” question would continually come to mind any time there was any kind of association come up in the mind.
So when the record began replaying yesterday, I rephrased the question to “What am I doing?” The answer came up immediately in present time with
“I am tormenting myself over something I cannot get an answer to or change in any way.”
I wonder how many other why questions are in there that I’m not aware of. Now the quest is to remember, remember, remember!