Asking “Why?” is just a way to drag our feet

I was in a meeting with colleagues recently, and we were discussing a situation that clearly irritated most of us. There was much hand wringing. A good bit of teeth gnashing. The crux of the conversation centered on why the situation had occurred, and no one really had a good explanation. There were lots of suggestions made, to be sure. But there was no agreement on any of them. After about 20 minutes of this, one of our number so eloquently said: “I don’t need to know why it is. I just know that it is, and that’s good enough.”

We humans spend a lot of time thinking about why something happened. We’re meaning making creatures after all. Everything has to have a cause.

  • “He must hate me, so he did thus and so to me”
  • “She just wanted power, so she threw me under the bus.”


  • “I told you this thing wasn’t going to happen if I didn’t step in.”
  • “They should feel lucky to have me. They would have failed otherwise.”

We put an awful lot of stock in our own selves, when most of it is actually just luck (good or bad).

But you know what we don’t do very often? We don’t simply accept the reality that this is where we find ourselves at this very moment. We don’t take the situation for what it is and work with it. We spin our wheels and drag our feet, as if knowing the why would change any of it*. And that takes a lot of energy. Too much if you ask me.

*Clearly, I’m not talking about injustice. That shit needs to be deconstructed and blown apart.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Once upon a time, I thought I was the cause of everything. Then I learned better, and wrote about it in my book.

2 thoughts on “Asking “Why?” is just a way to drag our feet

  1. Why is also sometimes placed in opposition to action, like if we don’t fully understand the cause of something we can’t respond effectively to it. Witness arguments against gun control.

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