Answer, Question, Ask

somewhere near Baxter Mountain

Continuing thoughts from the archives

Answer, question, ask. 

Seems like this could be a good rule to live by – although not quite sufficient to give us the “meaning of life.”  But is the ordering of this phrase wrong?  Shouldn’t it be:

Question, ask, answer [?] 

I think the first is the best.  At the start (of anything), we have at least some answers (whether we know it or not).  From the start, we begin the process of seeking more answers, more questions, more asking.

The thoughts that you find here started to take shape on or about June 13, 2004, according to the metadata (date created and last revision) of the recently discovered file with the name: “poem.answers questions asking.doc.”

The file name suggests that I thought the ideas were sufficiently poetic to believe that I was working on a poem when it was first written.  Today I am not sure how to classify it, but I don’t think it’s a poem.  Now it is simply some random thoughts written and posted here.

Answer, Question, Ask

Many Answers are simple and without problem to find.  These Answers (for example) seem self-evident – even without the benefit of a Question


  • Be honest,
  • Be respectful,
  • Be patient,
  • Pursue and gather knowledge,
  • Find understanding,
  • Follow your Heart,
  • Give Love freely,
  • Be resigned to Truth, if and when found.

I see these as self-evident answers that are true and correct, standing alone without question.  [Perhaps another day I can explain that – maybe.]  But I have to confess that these Answers contain a few difficult problems in or around them:

  • Should we be honest if honesty will hurt someone?
  • When will patience result in fatal immobility?
  • What if Knowledge and Understanding conflict with the directions from the Heart?
  • How can we afford the Love given freely?


Sometimes, the difficulty is not the answers, but in finding (and asking) the Questions. Some Questions are simple and without problem to find.  These Questions (for example) seem self-evident – even without the benefit of an Answer —

  • Who am I?
  • Why am I here?
  • Where shall I go?
  • How do I get there?

While each of these Questions is important and demands consideration, standing alone without Answers – the difficult problem with these Questions (and ones like them) is that there may not be any way to find a final, conclusive, true and correct Answer.  Because the answers to these questions are forever changing – which is also self-evident (to me).


So if there are no final, conclusive, true and correct Answers to some important (self-evident) Questions, then what?  It’s simple, some questions we simply need to Ask – continually, until the end – when we have no more time to answer, question, or ask.

The order of things

Is there a proper order of the fundamental process here?  I think not.  In 2004, I chose this order: Answer, Question, Ask.  I still like this order of things (so I kept it here).  But there are six permutations to consider:

Ask, Answer, Question.
Question, Ask, Answer.
Answer, Ask, Question.
Ask, Question, Answer.
Question, Answer, Ask.
Answer, Question, Ask.

Perhaps we need to think like an Intel six-core processor – running each permutation in parallel.  Or perhaps the process is not so simply divided into three divisions (“ask, question, answer”), with six permutations.  Perhaps the process involves a continuum of considerations – all of which needs processing.  Maybe our processors are capable of division into individual cores on an infinitesimal scale – which is probably what is needed.

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