Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why - The philosophical Child

Somewhere on the second week of December, which makes my son 3 years and 10 months old, he reached the stage I longed for, the “why” stage.
Although at the root of the philosophical inquiry we find the “what is” – i.e. the conceptual questioning, when a 3 years old ask “what” – like me son did until now, I suspect the philosophical content is not there yet. For example, my son would ask: “what is flavor?” de facie a highly philosophical question, one rooted in nothing less than the Platonic tradition. But since I know the context, and I know he asks it right after tasting something new, what he really means by this question is “what is that strange, unfamiliar flavor” using a really poor grammar, the result of mixing Hebrew and English in one short sentence.
And so I knew my son, like any kid, will reach what I define as the “philosophical stage” of young children when he will start using the “why” question, which can be dreading for so many parents (my mom: “wait until he starts asking ‘why’ all the time”); but for me it was a celebration.
Fireworks. In his head it were the philosophical fireworks exploding in his brain that is now so thirsty to start making sense of this crazy place we call ‘world’. In my head it was the “big party on the beach” fireworks. Yay so happy. The journey is about to start.
When he asks “why” I am forced to question it myself. “ya, why indeed?” when he asks “why” repeatedly I am forced to regress to the actual origin of the event, or at least to the point in where me too meet my aporia, my beginner mind, my genuine: “I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.”     

Amitai's background. My question...Shouldn't it be the other way around? NO!

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