Saturday, May 03, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. Anything exciting going on this morning?
JOE: Nothing like the story contest last Saturday. Just a quiet day at the computer.
CALLIOPE: Did you have any more thoughts about Rushdie's comment on discovering the why by exploring the how?
JOE: I have been thinking about it. I would enjoy having a conversation with him about this but can only speculate on what he meant unless I can find some writing of his which develops this further. I think one part of what he means has to do with product and process.
CALLIOPE: Now you have some explaining to do.
JOE: I think the question "why" leads to an explanation, the end result of whatever exploration takes place. This kind of answer is a product or a conclusion. Asking the question "how" looks instead on the process of arriving at a conclusion rather than on the product or final result. The process is much richer than the product. I also think it is more important to understand the process rather than the end result.
CALLIOPE: In what way?
JOE: If you look at the usefulness of both in living our own lives, it becomes clearer. The conclusions we reach about the nature of life are just facts to be listed and maybe shared. Our lives are more than a series of facts. We each live in an ongoing process of exploring who we are. In coming to understand our journey, why we are on our particular paths becomes more clear.
CALLIOPE: I think I see what you are getting at. Don't you think it is important to know what your life means?
JOE: I think it is the search which is important. If we reached final conclusions about our lives and could sum them up as an explanation for our existence, there would be nothing left to do but sit down and wait to die. There would be nothing else to explore.
CALLIOPE: In other words life would effectively be over.
JOE: That's the way I see it. I guess its time for me to get back to my exploration of today. Talk with you on Monday.
(Cabin in Oramel, NY)

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