I can’t do the philosophical things that some people can. It’s just not how my brain works. I search for more than “questions.” I search for answers. I search for formulas.
I know when people ask if the glass is half full or half empty, they’re usually asking in rhetorical fashion, I understand this. But to me, this has always been a literal question. I have never liked asking questions just for the purpose of asking questions; to me the goal has always been the answers. The destination. I never get lost in the journey, although I do enjoy it, I enjoy the journey because I'm headed to the destination, because I have purpose and meaning.
So when I'm asked about a glass of water, I break it down like arithmetic. If the glass started full, then you drank from it or poured out half… then it is half empty, because it is now less than the original amount. But if the opposite is the case, and you filled it, and it only made it to halfway and have yet to take any from it, then to me, it is half full. This is how I break it down, how I find logic in the question. I can take it many steps further and explain to you why I believe my reasoning is sound, but to most folks, it just gets a little too serious. They explain to me this is not the point of the question. The question isn’t a serious question, but a question for "questions sake." They explain that it’s the process of questioning things that is the answer in itself, but for me, that just doesn’t work.
This is not the easiest way to be. It's why I find myself so often disconnected from others. They want to just play it by ear. I can’t, or shall I say, I don’t know how. I need some sort of guidelines. I need some sort of structure, even if it’s no structure at all. If you tell me there are no rules, then stick to that. I don’t do well with inconsistency… because I have found that few people really have matching understandings of what “go with the flow” means. What usually happens is I try to go along with the “flow” only to cross an imaginary boundary that I didn’t know existed. I end up offending people and then am told I should feel guilty for breaking these nonexistent rules.
I over share; I’m told that’s a bad thing.
I want to be a man of action. I value actions so much more than words. Maybe I should tell people, “Don’t listen to what I say; watch what I do.” I might be better off. Because sometimes I feel like I’m not supposed to tell you what I think, because what I think might not be “approved,’’ it is too “sensitive.” But I don’t think seeking answers should be something that makes people feel uncomfortable. I think we should all aspire to better understanding, better clarity. My life is valuable, and so is my time. I have so many things I want to achieve. I have so many worries, and offending people over petty misunderstandings is not something I want to spend my time with. I want to worry about the big things.
I want to have a bigger purpose - this is why I’m always seeking answers. I want to find a way to improve the lives of all those around me. I’m living for me and for you - for all of us. For the children we haven’t had yet - for their children too. I need to make a plan for this, and I need answers. I do not have the time to just sit around and question things, I must find out which questions need answers; then find out how we’re going to answer those questions.
I do not need to know what “one hand clapping” sounds like. That is something someone else can think about. It does need feed the poor, nor clothe the needy. And it reminds me of the first question which sparked this piece: the glass full of water. And for me it comes down to this… I do not care if your glass of water is half full or half empty; all I care about is that the water is clean, and accessible to all. So next time someone asks you, I hope you say the same thing. Instead of questioning whether it’s full or empty, we question why everyone doesn’t have a glass? (I promise I’ll go with the flow if it helps us answer that question.)
Written by: Daniel Dart