Post number 20 of 33 in The Ganymede Progression.

When I started this response, I had to take a while to understand the relevance of both elements to my Jedi path. We have a kind of Socratic teaching method, here at TOTJO, which implies a wide range of questions and answers. The Master sets a question; the student answers it. From there understanding grows. So to start with, that’s the kind of question/answer I’ll explore.

Questions allow us to interrogate either others or ourselves. They enable us to pull apart what we perceive and inform our understanding. Questions can be used as a tool to lead someone else to an understanding they lack, whether we have the understanding ourselves or not. The right question can offer a window or a mirror; they are “empty” and that is what makes them useful. What the question reveals to us about ourselves, about others, about the questioner, too… this is valuable information.

Answers are different, in that not every question has an answer. Plenty of answers exist for some questions, each with a differing degree of validity. Answers are tricky beasts, because they ask us to solidify our opinions or feelings into a single, crystalline moment. They rely on language (as do questions, to be fair) to communicate something which may not be, itself, linguistic. They ask us to make concrete assertions in some direction.

Returning to the teaching method here at TOTJO, the Master sets lessons (questions), and the student answers them. The student may have questions themselves. It is a poor Master, in my opinion, who gives “answers” to these questions. The business of what we do here as Jedi, engaged in self-reflective study, in the cultivation of self-knowledge, and the genesis of wisdom, does not deal in “answers”. The mystery cannot be meaningfully contained in them. The mystery asks more questions, falls deeper, and it is in that repetition of questioning, that endless cycle of shifting understanding which exemplifies the Jedi approach to learning and growth.

In life, some questions do have very firm, solid answers. 2 + 2 = 4. It’s something we can try a billion times without variation, and get the same concrete response. Those kinds of questions are valuable, in a “knowledge” sense. They ask us “What’s there?”, knowing full well that something is there – there is a goal, a destination. An end.

In metaphysical matters, questions are “ends” in and of themselves. What is the meaning of life? There are a million answers (in fact, many billions). Why does something exist instead of nothing? Again, many millions of responses. The point is, many important questions (and arguably all metaphysical ones) do not have definite answers. Asking questions like this “creates” something conceptual in another person’s mind. When I say “Does God exist?”, you can’t know the answer for sure. You can have strong feelings one way or another, but you can’t say with certainty. But what that question does, is create a “God” in one’s mind. An omnipotent, omniscient being.

So metaphysical questions call on our imagination. Even considering the Force, whilst I can perceive it all around me, in me, of me, I can’t “introduce” the Forcely perspective on the world without asking questions of the unity, without picturing the totality (which I can only see part of), and without forming some concept of what the Force really means. I might be wrong and reality might be fundamentally different from how I understand it, but this question is another question without an answer – as I type it, I try and imagine what that would mean. A universe of more than one “universe”. Antimatter? The Yin to this universe’s Yang? Perhaps the Yang to this universe’s Yin? Who can say?

Questions lead us into some interesting areas. So what of answers? It’s unfair to write them off as metaphysically “stagnant”, because some of the “answers” led me to understanding the question “What is the Force?”, “Does it exist?” and “Is real world Jediism something worth pursuing?”. Answers just need to be handled carefully, understanding that each person handling a question will bring their own answer, and that will be “true” from their perspective – true of their path, of their experience. Answers tell us who a person is, questions show us where they’re going, perhaps.

I am philosophically minded, and questions fascinate me. I like the idea that for each question, there is a personal answer. I think again of things like epiphenomenal qualia, that for instance even the 4 in 2 + 2 = 4 means something different and subjective for me compared with your concept of it. Questions acknowledge this. They are humble; they are wise. They always say, “look again”.

As Jedi, we are wise to do so.

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