all the great questions

"Portrait of a Girl" by Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) Finnish Realist Painter
“Portrait of a Girl” by Helene Schjerfbeck

Childhood is a mystery: the soul is timeless, the body new, and the world complex. What a conjunction: the great unfolding in the small.

Childhood asks us what reality really is, what the world is, and where it came from. Childhood asks where life came from, and where it goes. Does the soul exist? Where was the soul before birth? How many realms are there? Are fairies real? Do ghosts and spirits exist? Why are some people lucky and others unlucky, why is there suffering? Why are we here? Are there more things in the innocent-seeming world than we can see? These are some of the questions that the state of childhood asks, and which perplex us all our days.

Childhood is an enigma, a labyrinth, an existential question, a conundrum. It is the home of all the great questions about life and death, reality and dream, meaning and purpose, freedom and society, the spiritual and the secular, nature and culture, education and self-discovery.

~ Ben Okri
(A Time for New Dreams)

10 thoughts on “all the great questions”

    1. I did think I had it all figured out when I was in my 20s and the shattering of that illusion was a big turning point in my life…

  1. OHMYGOODNESS! I can’t believe you posted this. I just posted a blog all about *why*. Am still trying to figure out why I posted the blog, lol, as I don’t ask half as many whys as I used to!

    1. I remember your post, Kathy – what a bit of synchronicity! It’s all right to wonder why, but the trick is not to cling to one answer, there are always more answers, there is always more wonder…

  2. I remember asking many of those questions myself as a child, yet the adults didn’t know the answers. So I stopped asking. Does every child stop asking, I wonder? Perhaps there are no satisfactory answers to such mortal questions…..until we begin to feel wih our hearts.

    1. I actually got some answers, Joanne, but I didn’t like them. My father had a scientific explanation for everything. Why are we here? To eat and to procreate was his unsatisfying answer. It would have been helpful to have been told that all of us wonder about these things, children and adults alike.

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