Forget fundamental answers, let's talk about fundamental questions

In our society, we tend to emphasize fundamental truths, beliefs, and answers, but recently, I heard someone suggest that there are no fundamental answers, only fundamental questions. I’d never considered this viewpoint before, and it got me thinking, wondering if I’ve been looking at it all backwards?

We know reality is not fixed, but rather, an ever-changing landscape, shaped by our increasing knowledge and shifts in perception. In fact, when one truly considers the nature of this reality, change appears as the only constant we can rely on. This perpetual state of change seems to be in the business of falsifying those things which we once held to be true. Indeed, if we are impermanent as people-constantly evolving-how can we rely on answers that served us yesterday to serve us in the same way again today? The implications of this perspective are profound, and from this viewpoint the concept of “truth” itself is found to be impermanent and subject to evolution, just as we are.

So, what if questions are the true imperative? Fundamental to human nature are questions such as, “why am I here,“ or “what is my purpose,” and these questions may, in fact, serve as evolutionary tools, enabling us to draw forth a never-ending stream of “truth.” With each sincere posing of such a question, our intuition-assuming we’ve done the work required to hear it-may meet us half-way, providing us with a different, slightly more “evolved” answer, one that better serves us in this, the “now moment,” as opposed to that which served us last week or last year.

Looking at our history, we see many questions whose answers have changed as we've matured as a species; questions of slavery, torture, gender, and class have received widespread attention and have been the subject of immeasurable discussion. The answers to these questions are still being asked throughout our world, just as they are here in the west. In retrospect, we're able to see just how much the answers to these questions have shifted throughout recorded history, and they are continuing to do so today, perhaps at an accelerated pace. 

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.
— Martin Luther King Jr.

Could it be the case that life keeps asking us, again and again, “what do you think?” Having been asked, we answer as people, as societies, and as a human species, and as long as we keep giving the same answers, we can expect relatively fixed results. However, if truth never stops evolving, our failure to adapt eventually lead us to a point where the answers we’ve always relied upon become inadequate for the problems we currently face. This being the case, we may slowly but surely begin to feel off balance, suspecting that which previously served us now fails to do so.

So, what’s a person, society, or species to do in the face of crumbling, impermanent answers, ones that no longer ring true? I can’t say for certain, but I don’t suppose it hurts to ask the question, does it?


Americana Singer Songwriter Ed Dupas’ lived-in melodies unwind with reflective lyrics that speak to the current state of the human condition. Soothing where possible, agitating where necessary, and calling for change where appropriate. Ed Dupas creates and shares well worn wide awake music.

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