A Big Question


A writing prompt from Quest2016. Day 2, from Jonathan Fields. (prompt at the bottom, but the gist is “Under high focusing motivation, what one question would you work on for a whole year?”)


What is my question? What is my question, what is my question… what is the question…

I live in questions. In, among, around them… Picture me wandering in circles, going up and up in abstraction… what is the theme that unites these? This striving for deep meaning, this meditation, this mathematics… this reading, writing, contemplation? This shift back and forth between abstraction and application… What does it mean? What is it good for? What are the implications? What is this an example of?

Oh, the money in exchange for focus, as if I have not already spent decades on The. Very. Problem.

What question can sustain me, voracious as I am? (And, more to the point, hold my attention.) What problem is worthy of a lifetime of effort? (Many of them.) What sits at the intersection of those two sets?

Where can I best place my energies?

In years gone by, I would have attempted to get out of the question by engaging in one of those meta questions, inward focused. But here I am, ready to take a stand. And the stand is this: the question that consumes me, the one that lies behind all the others is, “What could the world become if every person were right sized?”

That is, guided by their inner knowing, curiosity, and vision, not fears. Able to speak their truths, holding the space for others contradictory experiences, working only to uphold things they actually believe in. Having access to the resources and connections they need to accomplish the things they dream of… No crab bucket, no grandiosity, no use of others to prove our self-worth. Just showing up, doing what we are called to, day after day after day.

What could we do in a world in which our energies were focused on hope, possibility, and interconnection?

What could the world become if every person were right sized?

(Clearly this is an experimental question with complex structures… ideally suited to a Practical Dilettante with spiritual leanings and the mind of an engineer.)

Your Quest2016 Prompt today:
You wake up to discover a knock at your door. A wealthy uncle you barely knew has passed and left you a fortune. It’s more than enough to live out your days in glorious splendor, but there is a condition. To be eligible to collect, you must commit your full-time working energies to the pursuit of an answer to a single question of your choosing for the next 12 months.

You are welcome to continue that pursuit after the year ends, for years or decades if it warrants, but you must remain fully focused on seeking the answer until the last minute of the 365th day. A minute shorter, the entire inheritance goes to your annoying and equally long lost cousin, Philly.

What is your question?