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I know why.

We do not do things we do not know why we do them.” ~ Red Dwyer

I say this no less than once per week. Occasionally, I say it thrice in an hour. It is my number one admonition to anyone who cannot explain to me why any action (or inaction) was taken.

Why?

Since you were a toddler, why has been part of your world. Sadly, most adults answer the question Why did you do that? with a line they learned at work: Because I have always done it that way.

*pauses to purge expletives*

Rest assured, the question is just as viable when someone does something wonderful. More sadly, the answer is often the same, except learned from a different, more responsible (ish) source.

In the course of an ASD conversation or one with a child, I will restate the question, possibly providing a set of reasoning which may apply. If this works, it sparks an answer in concert or an explanation why I am wrong, which can often lead straight to the real reason.

With non-ASD speakers or adults, I restate thusly: Why have you always done it that way? It meets with mediocre results at best. Both bad (I don’t know.) and mediocre (flawed reasoning) answers get the admonition.

Fireworks

RWB FireworksWhen the behavior I question is good, there is often a heartfelt, sincere story behind how the person learned to behave this well. We go from sparklers to Roman candles if what follows is an unprompted reason why this behavior fits into the current lives involved.

I win when the behavior was not so great, but the person does a quick inventory and correctly identifies the flawed thinking behind stacking 300-pound toolboxes on top of cases of light bulbs.

These responses save me from giving my admonition because this person will now have a more cogent answer than the one I initially received. The idea caught fire.

By Design

butterfly daisiesNo one wants to think they are traveling through life like a butterfly. We all want to feel a modicum of control over our lives and believe we live by a design of our own making. If someone has to ask why?, we are not.

When we design our lives, we begin with our core tenets, the belief system with which we coexist with all the other humans on the planet. We adapt our behavior to our situations and relationships to seek happiness. Every day holds choices where we uphold our beliefs and strengthen our situation and relationships. Every choice offers a chance to make a difference. If we choose well, no one ever has occasion to ask us, Why?

Discounting the routine disasters we encounter which briefly set us off course, our behavior exemplifies who we are. During times of strife and heartache, we often receive a pass for non-standard behavior as long as we return to the design.

Well, why?

How many rote actions are in our lives we have never questioned? Why are we doing these things? Why are we reacting to this stimulus? Why do we believe? Why did we make this design, knowing we have had to change it over time? Why do we hold this opinion?

Waiting Room

We are waiting.

The most honest answer to date: Because it is scary to think there is another way.

Not a single person reading this post wants to face the fact something they do could (and likely should) be done (faster, more efficiently, never again). No one want to face the fact something they believe just might not be true. Both confrontations bring us face to face with the revelation our elders and mentors were fallible, in a word human.


Can you think of one thing you do, but you do not know why you do it? Do you believe something because someone you (love, admire, respect) believes? When was the last time you asked yourself Why?

Hashtags: #psychology #behavior #purpose

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5 Comments

  1. I think we often get stuck in ruts and simply do not want to take the time or the energy to question ourselves or our motives. We’re probably afraid to face the truth.

    Reply
    • I am cyclically amazed at how much the human race does by rote. So very glad to see you today!

      Reply
  2. I avoid writing because I am afraid of failure. But the only standard of failure is the one I have put upon myself. I haven’t written poetry in years, and although I would like to have a completed poem to enjoy and be proud of, I am afraid to try.

    xxx

    Reply
    • Your success is quite broad. Yes, I know your standard is extraordinarily high. It is symptomatic of the artistic mind. Psst… try. <3 xxx

      Reply
  3. As you well know, this is a train of thought I’ve been riding for years, & have discussed the same issue almost daily during the days when I ranted (I’ve ceased beating that morbid equine, having tired of the futility of getting anyone to listen….SIGH)…

    Since I AM human, I’m still rooting out a number of things I still do without asking myself why; it’s a long process, as we are all inculcated with the societal version of thinking far too early for most to throw off easily…. I guess what I CAN say is, it’s a process that needs to be performed on a regular basis, lest we fall back into that habit of being less than mindful… I make a practice of spending some time each morning doing just that, with, as you know, moderately successful results….

    I’m still not entirely sure, however, why I bother, when so much of the world finds it so odd… but, I’d rather wander in my own forest, so, I keep on keepin’ on, in spite of the resultant sense of intellectual isolation from so many of my peers… Of course, peers are a bit hard to find, as well, but, that’s a story for another time….

    As always, thought provoking, for those who can think….

    Love ya….

    gigoid

    Reply

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