picture by Mari Korol

It would seem that there is nothing easier than answering the question when you know, and yet it is not always that simple.

An answer is merely a reaction to a command or inquiry, by definition.

A response does not have to be put into words.

We can talk about the responses of the body's immunity system. Such responses are automatic and do not require thinking because they are based on a biological “algorithm”. For example, the body’s immune globulatory response. The immune system recognizes and eliminates harmful agents (antigens) such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and toxins. Lymphocytes and antibodies give an immediate response to antigens in the form of a defensive reaction. The response is an acute inflammatory reaction that fights the antigens. It is automatic.

However, there are spoken responses that require a person’s mental effort, and not every person knows what to answer. Such an answer was given once upon a time in ancient Thebes, where the terrifying Sphinx sat on a ravine and devoured people because no one could solve its riddle. It sounded like this:

“What is this animal endowed with a voice, walks on all fours in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three in the evening?”

Oedipus gave the answer. He said it was a man, as a child walks on all fours, an adult on two legs, and an old man supporting himself with a cane as if he had three legs. When the Sphinx heard the correct answer, he threw himself off the rocks in despair and crushed to death.

Oedipus was not a wise man, but he had privileges with the Delphic oracle, who gave him the answer in his sleep.

Sometimes, not every wise man will find the answer, but a smart man will.

There are also answers that neither the wise man nor the smart one can find. The most powerful minds will come together, deliberate, discuss and come up with nothing. It seems that such questions will always remain unanswered. For example, those concerning the circle of huge megalithic boulders at Stonehenge, in England. There is no clear answer as to how they came to be, or for what purpose.

Instead, numerous hypotheses have arisen that they were used by men and women to worship the Sun and the Moon, or even that they were placed by visitors from beyond the Earth. More often than not, such hypotheses give relief to people when answers are impossible and bring work to researchers.

Among the most interesting answers are those in the form of a question. We don’t like them because the essence of a question is to ask for an answer and a cognitive purpose, not to wade into another unknown.

This may have prevailed over the life of Jesus, one of the most important figures in numerous cultures. Pontius Pilat waited for Jesus to answer the question Quid est veritas? What is the truth?

Christ did not answer, but an answer would be of little use since the prefect of Rome did not recognize Jesus’ testimony. Pilate examined the case carefully and thoroughly, which irritated and disturbed the Jews. He talked with the accused and tried to discern the truth. The account was written down by St. John, who was nearby. If Jesus had given Pilate his answer, would he have been able to avoid punishment on the cross? Would the history of the world have turned out differently?

Several men have avoided death by giving wise answers when the fate of their life was at stake. They include a certain Vizier of the Ottoman Empire who stood before the stern face of the Sultan in the 18th century.

The Sultan asked, unexpectedly for all courtiers, “How much time do you need, Grand Vizier, to teach your dog human speech. Answer me, because if you don’t, I will cut off your head!” The Vizier was a wise man. He thought for a moment and answered: “Five years Great Sultan.” When the courtiers were already lamenting the Vizier’s fate, he answered them:

“Let not this term trouble you friends. For five years many things may happen, and a dog may die, and the merciful Sultan may die!”

Someone said that there are no real answers and only questions are real… This statement is contradicted by mathematicians. Mathematicians have answers that are always true. Falsehood in mathematics is a basic logical value. That is what mathematics is by its very nature. Perhaps that is why it is called the mother of all sciences.

Similarly in music. Falsehood will not pass, the language of harmony arranges notes into the right logical answers.

Once upon a time in the age of reason in Great France, a few wise men met and decided to write down all the great answers of this world. They called themselves the Great Encyclopedists, and their work, The Great French Encyclopedia, was to shatter the old system of monarchy and lead to the Great French Revolution. In fact, the Great King was soon guillotined.

Perhaps, there were too many “Great” terms in his path….

The world has had many very wrong answers in its history. They have been wars. War is a very bad answer to solving this world’s problems. It is a truly evil answer, and although the scientific terms of just wars or defensive wars have been accepted, war should never be the answer to solving conflicts.

The answers can also be multiplied, even the wrong ones. This is the essence of humanism. Errare humanum est — “To err is a human trait,” the early humanists used to say.

We are wrong in our answers, but we always try to answer. We love crosswords and quizzes. We all like tests where we measure our intelligence quotient. We get a lifetime of joy when we manage to give someone the right answer.

What gives us the most joy is a short affirmative answer to the fundamental human question of love?

Although there are different varieties of love: platonic, parental, erotic, love for animals, or self-love, they all have a common denominator. It makes us feel happier and our lives become intoxicating and colorful. It has even been possible to isolate the chemical processes occurring in our brains for which phenylethylamine, the C8-H11-N happiness hormone, is responsible.

Aside from the feelings that the answers trigger in us, the most important thing from an ethical perspective is that the answers are truthful. “Truth is freedom,” wrote the oldest philosophers. If we respond truthfully, it means that we are strong enough to face the reaction that truth will trigger in our listeners. Truth in response is spoken by those who are courageous but also by those who have limited empathy or are compelled to do so. It is a tradition in the U.S. military for the highest-ranking officer in the unit to tell the parents when a child dies in war. This is a tragic truth, but if it is told by someone important, it means that the child’s death mattered to the country. It allows the parents to go through grief more smoothly.

A variograph is used to identify the truth in spies’ answers. An answer that is not true triggers certain muscle tension, temperature, and iris twitching in a person, which the camera catches. Answers — lies, are a death sentence. That’s why Russian spies have learned over time how to lie to a variograph.

Do you still wonder about the nature of the answer? Does the answer bother you more than the question itself? That’s good because in the range of a person’s emotions and the recesses of his mind are hidden many unexpected secrets, even for ourselves. That’s why we often hear “…I didn’t think I was going to answer that question at all!”

We welcome you to the ccFOUND answers portal. Here you will find millions of people who care about truth and smart answers. Millions of people see the meaning of life in the answers because they want to support those who ask.





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