Questions and Answers, or just more questions.
In ‘Mister God, this is Anna’, Anna is always asking questions, seeking the truth. “I suppose” Flynn tells us, “the most frequently used words in Anna’s writings and speakings were ‘Mister God’. Running them a close second were the words that she called the ‘whuh’ words. ‘Whuh’ words were those words which began ‘wh’ and these, so far as Anna was concerned, were question words. ‘What’, ‘which’, ‘where’, ‘why’, ‘who’, all question words, the well-behaved question words. There was however, a rebel question word; it was ‘how’. ‘How’, was undoubtedly a question word and according to Anna should have been spelt ‘whow’.”
We all asked so many questions as children, though probably not with the determination and insight that Anna demonstrated. When do we lose that inquisitiveness? A good question in itself and worthy of some consideration. At what age, or stage in our development, do we lose our fascination with the minutiae and wonder of life? Is it possible to regain that curiosity? Or once lost is it gone forever?
I remember once asking my brother about a girl he knew who was joining an organisation I worked for, “She’ll want to know why”, was his enigmatic response. It was only later that i realised what a powerful recommendation that was.
My personal journey, my curiosity, only re-began when events conspired to convince to me that i was wrong about most things i thought i knew and believed in. When that happens you have two choices, sink, or ask ‘where’s the lifeboat?’
I was one of the lucky ones, helped hugely by the wisdom in books, my weekly philosophy class and, of course, my family and friends. deMello gently pointed out to me that i was ass but also that i was a member of a significant herd. I remembered often being accused, as if it was something to be ashamed of, of having an “inquisitive mind”. I started asking questions again, seeking answers, looking for the truth.
‘Mister God’ is full of questions and answers about life, about God and about death. Flynn real name was Sydney Hopkins. He grew up in the East London portrayed in the book in the years before the Second World War . When, and how, he became such a wise philosopher and writer i do not know but i re-read his words with great pleasure. Some of my favourite quotes from ‘Mister God’ i have tweeted over the last couple of days.
Keep using the ‘whuh’ words.