Sunday, 25 October 2009

Question Mark

A graceful curve, a succinct point. One flow here to a pause, followed by a simple dot. The question mark; a wonderful addition to our world.

It is not about the look of this object but what it represents. "Question everything.". That is a human birthright. What separates as from animals if not our reason? At the heart of reason is the quest for knowledge, inner and outer. Curiosity is the antidote to ignorance.
Curiosity is a question mark.
I can imagine a long queue of human beings milling along a busy city street. The view of them is from above as they walk to and fro. Over each head, a clear question mark follows like a punctuation halo. Some are as clear and bright as an oil slick, others are dulled, many have their forms nearly scratched through although the shape remains the same.

We are born curious creatures. We learn at a rate that a computer could not hope to quantify before we even understand what a computer is. Curiosity and reason are as inbuilt as love. I don't doubt that in years to come the curiosity gene will be discovered with a big "I told you so" written all over it. The truth is the gene is unimportant; exercising curiosity is what really matters.

Time seems to go so fast that we are being dragged along with it like barnacles holding fast to a speeding ship. The temptation for the human being in this state is to accept, anything. Be it the status quo, the safest option or whatever is handed to them on a plate. Sometimes all of the above.

Question everything. If you see an irrational world, question it, dig deeper than what you are told is the answer. If you yourself have an irrational thought, question yourself.

I discovered recently that the question mark was also known as the interrogation point. Like a full stop with attitude. But the "interrogation point" sounds apt. Interrogate life, question the why and the wherefores. Look behind the veneer of stated fact and ask the difficult questions as well as the easy ones.

It was not too long ago that I was pleased with an ivory tower, filled with exclamation marks and full stops. I questioned nothing if I felt it would interfere with my ivory tower. Most of all, I never questioned if I was truly happy. Difficult questions are easy to avoid because we know deep down the answer might serve as a challenge. A challenge to re-examine, change or even grow.

To grow is something adults are unused to. The mind and heart are as settled as the flesh and bones they inhabit. We remember the pain of teething and fear the same again, perhaps more acutely this time. It is a genuine fear. But we should all remember that teething was a temporary stage that passed and was forgotten like a fallen autumn leaf. We gained something new and better after it. We gained a freedom we had not anticipated but gladly welcomed.

Curiosity is just the same. It awaits, ready to be tapped into. It is everywhere and in everything. It enables us the chance to grow before we cannot grow anymore. It gives us a gift to not just react and follow, but to reason, decide and choose what we will. The question mark is a friend on the tip of your tongue.



Pamela Terry and Edward said...

To remain curious throughout life is absolutely vital. I cannot imagine an enjoyable life without curiosity. And yes, especially today, question everything!! It's much more fun!

Willow said...

People ask me occasionally if I am ever bored. I yell, "No! Never!" because I'm always curious and always interested in something, somewhere!

I have posted the Carrot Top Recipe on my blog. Just for you, because I promised.

Debra said...

Wonderful post- one that I will re-read! Please- you can email me any time. After this crazy weekend- it will be a nice reprieve.

VictoriaArt said...

I have been waiting for your next post, since I am so curious to read what you come up with next!
I am never dissapointed and I love your little excursion on questions and our human curiosity.
I am always amazed about the nature of our quests, the source of the drive to get more knowledge and our need to find out!


Lori ann said...

Such a brilliant post Clarity. Curiousity is like air to me, it's part of life to keep learning. I love this post.

Have a wonderful week ahead.

Clarity said...

Pamela, too true
Willow- thankful for that, x
Debra- thank you and emailing soon
Victoria- wonderful and heartwarming
Lori- "like air", how lovely, thank you, love, x.

Laurel said...

Wow- Questioniong a lot of the things I have set in motion lately-all done trying to figure out what I need to stand tall in my own truth. Curious is a wonderful word. It is hopeful I think. I forget often my Darling that you are young enough to be my daughter-you are wise beyond your years. I think you were that way at 2. My Olivia is same old soul. I am going to print this and read and re read. I want to really wrap my brain around it. It is wonderful.
Love you Clarity ....

OceanDreams said...

If you question things you learn so much and you learn so much about yourself! This was such a good topic to cover, thank you for that. Thanks for your sweet words about me healing up quickly, I am sure that jogging does help as well with getting rid of those stinky colds! I hope you enjoy your week, take care sweetie!

Alexandra said...

I like your blog too! looking forward to digging through your archives and future posts alike. 'kerouac' is my label/tag for 'stream of consciousness'-esque posts. as you will! haha.

Heavenly Housewife said...

What a wonderful and thought provoking post. How do you come up with it daaaaaaaahling? As for me, its much like the comment left by willow. I guess an inquisitive person is always up to something, and thats kinda fun ;) *kisses* HH

French Fancy said...

I've always been a curious person and forever am wanting to know why people do and say certain things. Some people think it is plain nosiness but I say no, it's just curiousity.

I love your blog posts.

Renee said...

I love the look of the question mark and believe in questioning many things. Excellent post.

Love you.

Renee xoxo

Jacqueline said...

I don't think that I question things enough. I'm a bit of a 'go along with things and don't upset anyone' type of person. I'm not stupid, but I don't always question people's opinions. as they are allowed their opinion, although I question things....if you know what I mean !!!!
Many thanks for your lovely comments. You are so kind and you have given me some great ideas. XXXX

Jennifer said...

About timely! Yes, yes, and uh huh. Thank you for this. I needed to think about this and need to consider it deeply. I haven't been questioning, not like I used to and need to. Hmmmm.

Phoenix said...

To be curious and question things in a world that just blindly accepts is sometimes to feel a little bit burdened.

Your blog reminded me that my curiosity and my never-ending quest for the truth in all of us, most of all myself, is a blessing.

Thank you.

Clarity said...

Laurel, it is hopeful, thank you and love, x.
OceanDreams, welcome and feel better soon, x.
Alexandra, likewise and I shall wade in that stream soon.
HH, you make me laugh, thanks, x.
FrenchFancy, lovely compliment, thank you.
Renee, love back, x.
J, about timely indeed, x.
Phoenix, love that you are on a never-ending quest for truth.

Ribbon said...

Thank you...
without question there is possibly no life?

best wishes

Corinna White Charlton said...

haha you caught me! we rarely drink alcohol, but for very special occasions I do enjoy sipping some bubbly :). and my parents have a little winery, so I would possibly be disowned if I didn't know the art of making and tasting wine.
I always am questioning, and unfortunately that got me into some trouble when I was younger. Apparently authority (teachers) don't like to be questioned much, nor parents who sometimes want to answer "because I say so, that's why!"
But I married someone with an intellectual curiosity as great as mine, so we will never run out of things to discuss!
It would be a shame not to fully use one of God's greatest gift- a curious, active, logical, inquisitive mind- it separates us from the rest of creation!

Janet said...

What an interesting post - given me food for thought! I am going to encourage my daughter to read this! Thank you for the inspiration. My - I do quite like the arabic question mark! I think it's pretty! :)

Dustjacket Attic said...

Always question and understand as best you can. Know your own mind and act accordingly.

Great post.
ps will be keeping an eye out for your book.

Dumdad said...

Great blogpost and I've learnt something new too (I hadn't realised that almost all languages used ? as a question mark).

Purple Flowers said...

You have a great ability for insightfulness and examination.
I have been questioning things since 8th grade English poetry class.
It is our right as human beings to ask the big questions as well as the everyday questions. It keeps the wheel of justice on their toes.

Excellent post, per usual!

Clarity said...

Ribbon, I quite agree.
Corinna, glad that you are so well-matched.
Janet, marvelous, thank you; it is pretty.
Dustjacket, very true and thank you for the book look-out.
Dumdad, merci, I found out myself recently too.
Purple Flowers, you are kind and insightful as per "on their toes".

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Hi Clarity...I see in one of the comments you have a book??? Is it readily available I wonder? I have never given much thought to the question mark...but I do love the way the character looks...and you are perfectly right...question everything, and why not to satisfy our curiosities...Love♥x
As to the filling for the mushrooms would you like me to email/post up the recipe? It is basically capsicum, cream cheese, basil pesto, lemon juice, seasoning, breadcrumbs and chives.

lolette said...

if Argentine she is wonderful, deberias to know it! thanks!

Anonymous said...

Curiosity is a funny thing. Funny because although it is critically important to be curious few people are. I think it's because, like all things that are important, being curious isn't easy. It's hard. And most of us tend to avoid anything that is difficult.

So I agree that it is important to question everything, but I would also add that people should ask tough questions. Truth and real answers do not come easy.

Keith said...

I'm curious about so many things. It's great to be inquisitive. I love to delve into things and learn more about them. There's so much out there that I want to find out about. That's something so special about humanity.

Couture Carrie said...

Intriguing and informative post, darling!!


Barbara said...

A lovely posting, Clarity. So nice to read your extremely eloquent treatise on curiosity and questioning.
A willingness to learn something new, attempt something difficult, or face your fears will stand you in good stead as you get older. It will keep you young. (My mother at age 92 looked at herself in a mirror, turned to me and said: "who is that old woman in the mirror?")
And yes, I agree with your comment on my blog. I feel I have found a new friend.

Clarity said...

Dear Dzintra, I don't have a new book out, yet...
Des, it is critically important hence being worth the effort.
Keith, I hope you always retain that quality and nurture it.
Thank you, CC.
Barbara, thank you and your mother sounds wonderful. Very kind, x.

Manju said...

questioning everything is the mark of a philosopher. i actually read that in some book ^^ . but you know, so many ppl don't question stuff enough. they take things for granted and settle back to see life go by passively.

Anyway, love candlelight and horses and waterfalls too ;)

and oh don't mind me, i'm PMSing insanely these days, and probably even PMSing in my dreams haha

TheChicGeek said...

Excellent post, Clarity. Asking questions and remaining curious throughout our lives keeps us young and vibrant! Life is so much more interesting and always something new to be learned. I love the look of the question mark too...very curvy and pretty :)

Have a Happy Day, Clarity!

Lauren K said...

Wonderful post. So glad to have stumbled upon your blog!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


Such a rich and edifying post. I'm bookmarking it to read and re-read and study.

I love this...perfect post.

cheers to you,

Anika said...

One of my favourite posts of all time. I love the nature of the human mind, our right to question and then of course different cultures and their take on the importance of the question. I love too your writing, I was emphatically nodding my head as my eyes flew across the page.

Curiosity makes us distinct by nature and life isn't worth living without that instinctive right to question and to gather and amass information.

Food for thought indeed. Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

hello :)

sorry its took me ages to get back to you but i've been away from blogspot for a bit.

i liked reading your post on the women who fly and about the question marks. its nice to read interesting things like that that one can understand :)

my blog is a bit scrapbookishness, its all higgeldy piggeldy. but if you have any questions about a post or something like that, please feel free to ask :)

i should really caption some stuff though because otherwise its all just pictures all the time!


p.s. i'm linking your blog on mine if that is okay.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

How crucial - to question and be curious. It saddens me whenever I see parents telling their children to stop asking questions (though it is nice to get some peace!!)

Curiosity enhances life, and also protects. It is interesting to see the channels people's curiosity takes as they grow - the curiosity of knowing how things work, the curiosity of how things look or sound in different combinations.

The Sophisticated Aesthete said...

Again, a beautiful post, Clarity. Like so many people commenting before me, I also didn't know the question mark was an universal punctuation mark. Also, I love how you link such a practical thing to the questions of life.

Thank you for the comment on my latest post, it is very appreciated. Do visit again; it is always reassuring to know what fellow bloggers think, especially such profound ones as you.

Jeanne said...

I love all you share
Love Jeanne♥

The Haute-Shopper said...

What a terrific post. I think many try to stifle curiosity these days and replace it with acceptance (and a bit of laziness as well). It's such a shame, because the world is out there to be discovered and I think humans should be driven by a quest to find answers to the questions they have. It's why I actually always admire children and think they're in some way smarter than adults. Because they know the only way to know more about the world is to ask question after question and in most cases, these questions can't even be answered by their parents, because they never bothered finding the answers ;-)

Hello Lindello said...

Cusiosity is what gets me through life!

Amy said...

Great post! One of my favorite quotes is by the great Hunter S. Thompson. It goes "Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?"

Thank you so much for your comments. I'm glad you like the photos. I have a Pentax K200D digital SLR with a 18-55mm lens. I think the depth is more through the aperture. I also think you might be onto something with the Japanese influence in my decor. I do like the simple and calm.

Hope your having a great week!

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

Dear Clarity,
I think I sometimes drive people crazy with my curiosity. There aren't enough hours in the day any day of the week. I even hate to nap because I feel as if I'm wasting time.
Your comment meant so much to me. I will stay in touch. Merci.
P.S. My word verification is 'antsa'. Antsa in the pantsa!

Karyn Bernard (French Charming) said...

Fabulous thought provoking post! I have been questioning many things as of late...being curious and questioning always pushes me to the next stop in my journey, I can't wait to see where it takes me.

Laurel said...

Stay tuned Darling friend for my Clarity pumpkin- coming soon! Love you tons!

Clarity said...

Thank you for your kind words, quotes and your own curiosity.

Whoever invented the comment box was a genius.

Anonymous said...

What a fascinating and informative piece you have here on a simple punctuation point. Interrogation was never so intriguing. As a onetime teacher of English I commend you. said...

Clarity, cherie,

Let's up it to 15 percent. You are hilarious.

I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am when I see your name. You know I continue to be in awe of you.

I swear it's true. Argh, the way you write. . .


Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Dear Clarity...I have posted the recipe fpr Stuffed Mushrooms on My Dolce Vita for you...Bon Appetit...and have a lovely weekend...Love♥x

Dustjacket Attic said...

You are right that is one hard book to find!

The Anthology said...

So interesting! I wonder what my love for the ampersand says about me...

* Kelsey

Amy said...

This is a fascinating post, filled with amazing, interesting information. I wasn't aware that the question mark is used in other cultures to mean the same thing or that it was once used as an exclamation point.
I have always believed in questioning everything, not to be rude or superios but only for the purpose of learning. Even when I think I know something I like to ask questions of the person who knows more about the subject. It took me a longer time to be okay with admitting to others that I didn't know something, particularly when it seemd I should. But I found it worse to remain in the fog of not knowing than to risk some embarassment yet obtain the anser, the information I didn't have.

I will be back to read this post again, Clarity. It's too important not to. Thank you.

~ Amy

Marie said...

Dear Clarity,

An enlightning essay written
with an excellent pen. So true,
where would humans be if we did
not question everything? Still
inside of a cave somewhere I
imagine. The question is quite
fun to form and quite as succinct
in all it says.


Rick said...

I wonder if fear is the mortal enemy of curiousity. As children, we begin to learn that "stepping out of bounds" is bad. As writers, we learn we must "write between the lines" or be judged poorly. Curiousity, once the soul of children everywhere is too soon transformed into what adults mistrust and cats fear.

This was a wondefully thoughtful post and I enjoyed it very much.

Clarity said...

Mrwriteon, oh "onetime teacher of English", thank you!

Tish, tish, 10% is fine, I'm not greedy :)

Thanks for the recipe Dzintra, very sweet of you.

Kelsey, !

Amy, gladly admitting not knowing is incredibly freeing and leaves you open to learn. Thank you very much.

Marie, I appreciate that.

Rick, I agree, very true. I left out cats as they've had their say. Thank you for your kind words.

indigotangerine said...

i agree questioning who we are and what we want is an integral part of humans. I love question marks, such a graceful, beautiful shape.

karen said...

Hi and thank you for your visit to my blog! Sorry it took a while to get round here for a return visit, and I'll be back to read more of your blog soon...

Laurel said...

Hi Missy :) Hope you are well...sending you hugs:)

Chessa! said...

What a wonderful post. I bookmarked it bc this is the kind of thing that I will come back to again and again...when I need to smile.

VictoriaArt said...

Miss you!
How are you?

~ Victoria

Anika said...

Hey gorgeous girl, hope all is well with you. Thank you for the wonderful birthday wishes, very honoured you thought of me and left lovely comments.

What are you upto? I miss your intellectually stimulating conversation/debate posts, and the inevitable discussion it habilitates.

Have a fantastic week gorgeous girl!


Kitchen Butterfly said...

Thanks...I love research and learning....even the simplest things are full of delights, upside down and back to fron question marks! Hmmm