Over the years, I have observed two ways people ask “Why?”:

  1. Learning/curiosity.
  2. Blaming/fault-finding.

These are different in their intentions and presentation. One is an open state, the willingness to accept new information. It is an exercise in curiosity, and engagement with the not-yet-known.

The other is a closed state. It is an act of dominance, so as to shut another person down. It is condemning, and can be used to pass blame. It is the imposition of a dogmatic “truth”. Interestingly, sometimes this is justified as “teaching the other person to think. I reckon if the tone is not nice, then this not the case.

No prizes for guessing which approach is pro-ideas, pro-discovery, pro-revelations…

The next time you ask why, or someone asks you why, try and see if you can spot which type of why it is.