Growing up, I was always one to ask, "Why?" And I was always getting the answer, "Well, Julia, that's just how it is." But why? I have always had a strong curiosity about anything I did not understand. I think as a writer sometimes I try myself to answer my questions, but often I come up with more questions.
Here are 20 questions I never received proper answers to, and I'm still searching for them.
1. Why do good people suffer?
When my grandfather passed away, it felt as though a tornado had ripped through my family. I was angry and upset. I wanted to know why he passed away so suddenly when he was surrounded by people he loved and who loved him back. My grandfather was devoted to his parish, and to God. I wanted to know why such a good person who wanted nothing but the best for his family was in so much suffering and pain. I still don't understand.
2. Why do we hurt those we love?
Sometimes I catch myself intentionally saying something hurtful to people I care about. I let anger and hate take over. But if I care so much about these people, why do I let a darker part of myself — a part I know can hurt — come out and hurt someone I love? I don't want to hurt people I care about. I hate seeing anyone hurt; it makes me sad. Divorce, cheating, lies, etc. can all hurt the people we care most about, so why do people still do these things. Why is it okay to hurt those we love?
3. What happens when we die?
Religion was always a difficult thing for me to wrap my head around. I have always hoped that there is something or someone. But I can never bring myself to fully believe it, and it even makes me disappointed in myself. I want to believe there is a heaven. I want to believe that when my grandfather passed away he was at peace eating some type of sweets. But what if that isn't the case. Is what we do during our lives in preparation for what happens when we die? Or is that an illusion?
4. Why do people suffer at all?
Why is it necessary for people to suffer? Why do we lose those we love to a monster like Cancer? Why do young children suffer? Why do countries fall victim to groups who rely on suffering and fear? We watch movies about suffering, we read about suffering in books, we listen and watch suffering on the news. We go through suffering. But why must people feel the sad, deep, uncomfortable pain of suffering?
5. Why can't we save everyone?
I want that little boy living in the Middle East to not suffer the same fate his sister did--killed by a suicide bomber. I want that hungry mother who gives all the food she can find to her children to eat. I want the women who are held captive and raped to be free. If there has to be suffering in this world, it seems we cannot save everyone. But why can't we save everyone from suffering?
6. Should we save everyone?
Even if we could save everyone from suffering, should we? Do we have a moral obligation to save people from oppression, genocide, poverty, hunger, disease, abuse, and other injustices? I think we should care about people who need to be saved, but does that mean if we can save should we? Okay, maybe if we could save people we may not be able to save everyone. But some people? Should we save some people?
7. What is the definition of love?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines love as the following:
Love (noun) \ˈləv\
Simple Definition of Love:
: a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person
: attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship
: a person you love in a romantic way
Full Definition of Love:
1. a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests<love for his old schoolmates>
b : an assurance of affection <give her my love>
2. warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea>
3. a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration <baseball was his first love>
b (1) : a beloved person : darling —often used as a term of endearment (2) British —used as an informal term of address
4. a : unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others
b : a person's adoration of God
5. a god or personification of love
7. the sexual embrace : copulation
9. capitalized Christian Science : god
- : holding one's opponent scoreless in tennis
- : inspired by affection
...So which definition is right? What is love?
8. Is love the truest, purest, most raw emotion? Is it an emotion at all?
We refer to love as a feeling or an emotion that is often hard to describe. We refer to love as being a true, pure, and raw emotion — parents who love their children, a love an idea, a love for music, a love for a partner — but is it an emotion? By definition an emotion is a state of feeling, but a feeling is an emotional sense... so how do we really define what love is and if it is the most true, pure, and raw experience our conscious can undergo.
9. Should our lives be defined by our successes?
A. A teenager in Africa is uneducated in the academic sphere, but his father taught him how to labor, how to survive.
B. A teenager in American is attending a low-performing school in a neighborhood high in poverty. It is unlikely he will graduate high school let alone go to college. He tries to stay off of the street and keep busy, but is worried his environment is too severe.
C. A teenager in Europe attends an elite boarding school, his highly educated parents pay enormous funds to educate him. He has a private tutor, has great grades, and is set to attend one of the prestigious universities in the world.
In example C, it is hard to argue that, by our understanding of success, that this teenager will be less successful than those in A and B. He is set up with the foundation to award him with what we think a successful person deserves. But if we let our lives be defined by success, does that mean the lives of the other two teenagers are not as important? Does defining our lives by our successes take away from the parts of us that make us human? Does it take away from the other parts that make us who we are?
10. What is success?
We consider success money, aesthetics, material items, vacations, family, memories, Christmas cards, a good education, a good job, a nice home, etc. But can we be successful without the accumulation of wealth or having multiple aesthetics? And if we define our lives by success and many people don't have a lot of money, cannot accumulate wealth, or cannot own the high-brow aesthetics on the shelves, are their lives less significant? Do they matter less? Do people who are considered unsuccessful even matter?
11. What should define our lives?
If we were define our lives not by our successes, what should define our lives? Happiness? But happiness is a feeling. So then what should define our lives? Should we make it something more attainable for everyone in the world instead of wealth?
12. What does it take to be a good person?
Someone who plays by the rules, does what they're told, respects their elders, doesn't question authority, doesn't break the law, studies hard, loves their family, is nice to everyone they meet, goes to church on Sundays, prays, eats well, exercises, goes to bed early, etc. is what we know as a "goody-two-shoes". But does doing all of these things and checking the box really make people good? Maybe I don't go to church every Sunday and pray, or maybe I don't go to bed early. Am I now a bad person? Who gets to determine this?
13. Are all people good?
It can be said that we all have an innate "goodness". But does that mean all people are good? Because we can look back at history and the indisputable facts that some people don't act entirely good. If we are all good, then someone who was elected to power should not have ordered the extermination of over six million people based on their religious beliefs. People should have not hijacked two planes and crashed them into two of the most symbolic and inhabited buildings in one of the most influential and heavily populated cities in the world. If we see such human imposed suffering and atrocity, how do we say all people are good? Maybe we do not have an innate goodness, so are we innately bad? Are we innately nothing? What is the nature of people?
14. Are people naturally bad?
But is it fair to say that people are naturally bad if there are examples of people not being good? We could say some people are good, but can we say some people are bad? Or should we say that human nature is dark and bad, but we suppress that side of us because of laws and rules against letting the darker sides of ourselves out? Or are people not naturally bad and instead are changed because of experiences? Is it too cynical to think that people are naturally bad? Or is it just realistic?
15. Why do we make bad decisions?
We have a conscious. We can think through our possible decisions and what their effects would be if we were to follow through. Since this is the case, do we knowingly make bad decisions? Or do we make bad decisions unknowingly because we don't think we think them through? If we make bad decisions knowingly, do we make them because we know we are not supposed to, or because we don't care about the repercussions? Or do we simply make decisions because we think they will turn out differently?
16. Is there a God?
Is religion true? If so which religion? Is the religion that my parents raised me to believe a lie? Is God in the way I have come to understand him true? Is this God really real? If my God isn't real is someone else's God? If their God isn't real, or true, is anyones? Is there a God, or do we tell ourselves that because it is comforting? Do we just use "God" to explain what we don't understand? If people don't believe in God, are they valued any less?
17. What or who is that God?
If there is a God, what is the definition of God. Which religion has the right concept of God? Do any of the main worldly religions have the right concept of God? Or is God merely hope? Can people have different ideas of God and still not be wrong about who or what God is? Should we accept other ideas of God, maybe not as true, but accept nonetheless?
18. Will we ever know if there is a God?
Is there any way for us to figure out if there is a God or there is a savior or that nay religion is pure facts and complete? In whose lifetime will we figure out if there is a God? Will that time ever come? And if it won't does that mean that there is no God?
19. What defines freedom?
The United States of America prides itself on being a country in which all people are ultimately free. We are free to speak, to write, to worship and believe, to tolerate or not, to agree or disagree, to come and go, to spend or save, to read, to educate, to train, to be ourselves. But which "freedoms" are more important? Which freedoms are critical to the definition of freedom? If we leave any freedoms out does that mean the definition we create is not a true definition of freedom because the definition itself is being constrained or restricted? Are people free? Naturally free? If not, why is freedom so desired?
20. Do people have the right be free?
Do people have the right to be free? Some sure don't. Many people are oppressed, kept illiterate and uneducated, silenced or killed if they have a dissenting opinion or belief. Many people are restricted in what they can and cannot do. Should people have the right to be free? And if they should at what cost? Should all people be free? And if all people should be free, what about those who intentionally kill others or intentionally want to cause harm to one another? Should we not allow them to be free? Where do we draw the line then? At good or bad people? But what defines them as good or bad? Their successes? Their religion or concept or God? But what about those who are unsuccessful or don't believe in God; should they not be free? And what about those who suffer? They don't seem to be free from restraint. They are restrained by their illness or their suffering. So people who are ill, they don't have a right to be free? But they should be free. Right? Shouldn't they be free? Are they still free?