In Defense of “Why?”

Brady Hummel
2 min readSep 27, 2016

One thing I’ve learned through the past three years of being at a liberal arts college and being in a community that pushes critical thinking is to embrace and cultivate a healthy level of skepticism.

We’re born with an overwhelming sense of wonder, of imagination, of curiosity towards the world around us. As we grow older, though, it’s civilized out of us as we become increasingly more focused on our own personal lives and become more complacent in questioning what’s around us.

When we’re two years old, we all go through a phase of asking “why?” after everything we’re told.

What are you doing?

“Washing the dishes.”

Why?

“Because they’re dirty.”

Why?

“Because we just ate our dinner on them.”

Why?

And the parent then becomes annoyed in having to explain the importance and necessity of eating food for human existence and survival.

We shouldn’t try to coax ourselves out of this, though; we should be embracing it, cherishing our natural inquisitiveness and skepticism.

Especially in a day and age where we see police killing black men among us, where we see media outlets peddling conspiracy theories and racist/homophobic/sexist false claims, it’s so important for us to continue to relentlessly ask “why?”

If we just placidly going about our days, interacting with the status quo and not critically analyzing because it’s become normalized to us, we let the twisted hand of deceit creep ever closer to grabbing that which we hold dear.

No, not our guns. Our values.

If we don’t pay attention and approach everything with a healthy level of skepticism, we risk tacitly forfeiting not just autonomy and independence over our own lives, but the core essence of who we are and what we stand for.

Get back to that two-year-old you and keep asking “why?”

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Brady Hummel

Queer. Autistic. Non-binary. Freelance writer, editor, audio storyteller and communications consultant. Stories change the world. www.bradyhummelwrites.com