Ratiocinatio

What ought I to be doing? Where do I really want to be? How shall I best spend my waking hours? Am I contributing to society? Do I want to? Does self-expression even matter? Is art important? If so, to whom, and why? What actions should I take? Can I ever justify my faith? Is there such a thing as hope? Is there a reason I’m not doing more with my time? Is there something valuable I am missing in my life? What do I want to do with myself from this moment on?

Is that all there is, my friend?

Discovering truths through a series of questions is supposed to be a rational, perhaps the most rational, way to approach the Big Questions. The rational truth-seeker ought not to stop at answers, even when the answers seem sufficient (logical).

The term for this method is, in rhetoric, ratiocinatio. Basically, it’s Socrates’ approach: keep asking. However, ratiocinatio as I understand the term does require more than just asking. It implies finding rational answers—or at least responses—to the questions. It also operates under the premise that the questions be rational…an idea against which the contrarian creative side of myself sometimes rebels. “Go ahead,” it urges, “Ask the nonsensical question!”

I invite you to ask the nonsensical question. It might be interesting to discover where this approach leads. Maybe even to…truth?

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