The secret to living a satisfying life is determining the perfect ratio of questions to statements. There’s that wonderful, wonderful period at the beginning of your existence when you don’t know anything, so that everything you learn, everything you do, everything you try satisfies the insatiable desire for experience that lies at the foundation of existence. When you’re young, life is nothing but questions.
The problem is that the more you learn, the more you know, the more things you pick up — the more locked down your life gets. The more answers you have, the harder it gets to find questions that haven’t already been asked. Questions that don’t seem simply like new variations on what’s been asked and answered already. Questions that become statements when you realize that you’re only adding to the sum total of what you already know, not discovering something you never knew before.
When you understand a thing for the first time, it carves itself into you. The first time you try to understand the nature of god, death, love. All the big questions. The first time you hear that particular band, read that particular book, see that particular sunset that changes your life and makes you ask what it means. All the little questions. These first things leave their mark on you, tattoo their names and their images, their sounds and scents into your flesh, your marrow. But then the second time, the third time, the tenth, hundredth, thousandth time, you come up against experience that’s really only shades of the same colors that have already marked you. You feel the shadow of understanding, but the magic isn’t there anymore. The grooves that first knowledge carves into you become worn with the passage of time, and the later knowledge begins to seek the established channels where the flow is familiar to you.
We all begin as a single question. We ask ourselves who we are.
We all fight the inertia of statements by constantly reminding ourselves of that initial question, and of all the other questions that need to be answered before this particular exam is done.