Sunday, September 4, 2011

Can a Question Change Your Life?

A question changed mine.  I used to be involved in community radio.  After a show one night in the 1980s, the guests - a gang of artists - and the producers and hosts of the show went for a drink in the student pub.  One of the artists sat next to me, looked me squarely in the eyes, and asked me this question:  "Is there any passion in your life?"  I believe he meant outside of radio.  He had tapped into my carefully concealed Restless Longing.  My life changed at that moment.  It started with a question.

I've heard this from others - that the right question at the right time has changed lives.

Warsaw, 1898:  My grandfather, a teenager, was considered a genius in his studies of Torah and Talmud.  He met a man who engaged him in conversation.  The man asked him this question:  "Can you prove the existence of God?"  This question led him to give up the religious life and become engaged with the secular world.  He traveled to Berlin where he lived and studied with a philosopher.  He participated in the 1905 Russian Revolution, was sent to Siberia, escaped, travelled to England and Africa, and eventually joined Trotsky in Zurich shortly before the 1917 Russian Revolution.  It started with a question.

1 comment:

  1. Passion? No, I fear that was taken away in 2006 when I started taking medication for my hypomania.

    Indeed for me, the line between passion and mania has always been a bit thin.