Shahriar Shahriari

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Message of the Month

August, 2003

What is the Question?

As I was driving, I saw a bumper sticker on the car in front of me that read, "War is not the answer". And that took me back to the time of Gulf War. Obviously this was someone who was making a statement at that time, and the sticker had remained there, perhaps unintentionally or perhaps otherwise.

While I was thinking about this, even though I agreed with the statement, something else occurred to me. Suddenly I asked myself, but what is the question? Is it a question of peace? Or security, or freedom, or control, or certainty? Perhaps war was not the answer to any of these questions, but I was not sure what exactly was the question.

I realized that although the passage of time often brings clarity through the wisdom that we acquire, at other times, it actually creates more uncertainty and opacity – perhaps precisely because of the wisdom that we acquire.

Perhaps because of the our acquired wisdom, we come to realize that the real question is not "what is the answer?" but the real question is "what is the question?"

It is said that a good question contains the answer within itself. But the converse is not true. A good answer does not contain the original question, but leads to many more.

So perhaps real clarity is not in how we perceive and understand, but in what perspective we choose and how we question…

© Shahriar Shahriari
Los Angeles, CA
August 2003

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