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Why We Say “Because” | in over your head

August 29, 2010

Why We Say “Because”

Posted: 27 Aug 2010 04:05 AM PDT

“Because” is the place where experience ends and faith begins.

Children have two ways of discovering how the universe works: one is to experiment, and the other is to ask “why.” The result is a complex series of if-then conditions that tell a child what can be done, and what can’t, creating flags that are used later to navigate the environment.

We’ve already talked about the first type– now let’s talk about the second.

Children don’t ask why to be careful with a knife if they’ve already cut themselves– they only ask with something that is outside their experience, that is abstract. This is the evolution of because, an if-then condition that is outside of experience, and that we don’t really understand.

The danger of because is that we take things on faith because it comes from an authority. As time goes on and our understanding advances, more of our questions now have actual answers, but the because remains anyway.

God is because. Zeus is why the lightning strikes and good people die but God has a plan for them.

Science can be because. We have faith in doctors who reflexively prescribe medicine instead of get to the root cause, and don’t get second opinions.

Dogma and rules are because. Gay is wrong because it is against nature, and you need to eat breakfast because it’s the most important meal of the day.

Everytime we don’t understand something, because takes its place and we stop there instead of testing. We have faith in the system, even though its purpose is to sustain itself, not to help you.

This is a way that the social system has protected itself since the beginning of time, ensuring that we can work together to build a better world. This works for the system that we live in and can make our lives better, but if you don’t want to be a middle manager, it may leave you feeling incomplete. It isn’t the only way.

You can be outside the system, and you can live well doing it. But your first step will be to ignore because… and to start asking why again.

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