This is a performance pice, i.e. written for the spoken format, but since I’ve been getting some requests for the text I thought I’d share it here in written form.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. And those of you who fall between these categories. My intention here tonight is to be pretentious. I would like to share with you some insights I have made through a series of nervous breakthroughs using the method of questions. I intend to proclaim questioning as the origin of knowledge. The ONE thing that keeps us from repeating new versions of the same old mistakes over and over again. What makes us move on. Allows us to reach new insights, gain new and deeper knowledge. Only through questioning can we identify bad ideas and false assumptions. Questioning is the only cure for prejudice. What prevents us from getting lost in a labyrinth of dead-end ideas. Hardcore, old school critical thinking. Questioning.
So let’s question together. Let’s mangle our assumptions with questions, let’s watch them disintegrate under the pressure and see what we can learn from the rubble of our fallen ideals. Let’s apply the principle of questioning to everything. To all aspects of everything we know. Yes, the scope, ladies and gentlemen, and those of you who fall in between, is vast. I will argue here tonight that reality is just a point of view and that truth is just an opinion. I told you I intended to be pretentious, didn’t I?
So one fundamental assumption: the only reason you would not welcome questions is that you don’t want to know or that you don’t have the all answers and you don’t want to be called on it. If you have all the answers you have nothing to worry about. The answers to all the questions, not just the first one. And because I said so, doesn’t cut it. It goes: question. Answer. And then question. Again. And again. And again. Question. Until the very end. Or at least as far as we can take it. Because that’s the only way to get further. It’s not about belief, it’s about progress. The wheel people, remember the wheel. Blind faith doesn’t produce wheels. Questions produce wheels. They don’t just fall from the sky. Why would it be that easy?
For instance, why are you standing there? Why did you pick that exact spot to stand? Because you like it? Or because it’s close to your friends? Or is that why you like it? Comfort. Yes, we all want to belong. But we need to ask ourselves to what. And at what cost. Question it. All of it. Because how else will you know? How else will you ever be able to understand who you are? And why you make the choices you do? Why did you pick that spot? Do you know? And would you have picked that same spot if that person was standing here instead of there? If the situation was different, right?
Because situations do change. Even truth changes. It’s all changeable. It used to be true that planet earth was a disc. The earth was flat, that was reality. But it changed. Because truth changes. Reality is just a point of view. Truth is just an opinion. And we actually know that. All of us. But we seem to forget it. Like some collective amnesia.
We forget to question. We forget that things never remain as they are and that there is always another possibility. But if we don’t ask, we’ll never know. What is possible?
I think we settle for way too little. I think maybe we are too lazy. Taking the easy way out. Instead of creating our own identity, our own ideas, we just assume the ones that are being projected on us without reflecting on what they really consist of. Without questioning. And that, dear audience, is how you create a fundamentalist. Blind faith. A disease. A virus.
So why did you pick that spot to stand? Do you know? Why did you come here tonight? Do you know? What do you know? What can you be sure of? How far have you gone? How many of your assumptions about the world have you questioned? What is truth to you? And how can you be sure? Just how far have you questioned what you are and what you do?
We are all just figments of our own imagination. But we tend to forget that. We tend to fool ourselves into believing that reality is absolute. Unchangeable. We tend to forget that one extra layer. The filter that is our perception. We perceive the world and we use language to structure our perceptions and communicate them.
And the words carry meaning beyond the mere definitions. They are symbols of our interpretations of our perception of the world. And that’s why it matters what words we choose. Because our words are our labels. They way in which we hold on to the structure that is our reality. Our very own version of reality. And we do try to make others perceive what we perceive, try to impose our reality on them. There is a sender for every message. Nothing is objective. It matters what we say. What words we chose. Because through the words we choose we paint the picture of how we see the world. Express our beliefs and convictions. It is how we interact. Through communications referring to our interpretations of our perceptions of the world around us. And those interpretations originate in the idea of reality as we have constructed it for ourselves. And that, dear audience, does fucking matter. Reality as a point of view. Right? So what is your point of view? What reality is it that you try to impose on me? Exactly what am I getting myself into? You need to ask questions to get to know that. To understand it.
So, why did you pick that spot? What are your priorities in life? How do you perceive the world? What is your point of view?
We forget that it’s all essentially in our heads. And it’s not necessarily a question whether you are real or if I am real, it’s more a question about the experience. And the realization that my perception of what is taking place right now is in now way or form identical to your perception of the same turn of events. Our experiences are completely different. We are in the same physical location at the same physical time but our perceptions are completely different. We interpret what is happening right now according to our own set of prior experiences. And your experiences differ from mine. Everything is different. So why would we ever assume they are the same? That we are the same? How could we be? And why would we want to be? Because it would make us feel less lonely? Because it would be easy?
What is it that makes us want to forget that there is always something beyond what first meets the eye, an interpretation of our perceptions based on constructions created through pervious experiences and our interpretations of those. It requires effort, ok? Why do we assume it’s simple? Why do we assume we don’t have to make an effort to understand the world?
If you don’t ask you will never know. Why do we assume there are things that we don’t have to question? Reality is just a point of view, truth is just an opinion and if you don’t ask you will never know. Don’t you want to know? Especially about yourself? Who are you? And why do you do the things you do? Do you know? Don’t you want to know? Why did you pick that spot?