The meaning of "why" and "because"

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Thinking mind series


When asking about a motive

Consider the following example:

Person A: Why did you sell your car?

Person B: Because I could get a good price for it.

Dissonance between true will and logical argument

When someone asks "why?", one is expecting an answer in the form of "because something". But in many cases, the true motive is purely emotional while the answer is purely rational with some kind of superficial consistency but with no connection to the true emotional motive. The answer is just a post-rationalization. Sometimes, the choice is even in discordance (or contradiction if you will) with the emotional motive, and the rational justification is a mere logical shadow for self-coercive decision making (so you can force yourself to chose the path you would otherwise reject).

Person B did not truly want to sell his car, but did it anyways because of logical arguments. The decision was made against the will of his intuition.

False logical justification for emotional motive

Sometimes, the given answer may also be a purely fictional self-consistent mental construct even if there is no conflict between true will and rationalized justification. The true motive may be something without any logical reason. For the sake of self-consistency, the human mind may just create a mental justification for a decision purely based on emotions. In other cases, the superficial rationalized justification was created spontaneously for communication to another human being asking something like "why did you do this?".

Person B truly wanted to sell his car, but there was no logical reason for it. The motive was purely intuitive, but Person B created an artificial justification through post-rationalization when Person A asked: "why did you sell your car". The true reason is not rational, therefore, not a reason, but an emotional precondition.

When asking about a the cause of a phenomenon

"Why" can also be used when asking about the cause of a phenomenon.

Consider the following example:

Person A: Why does the universe exist?

Person A may either be asking about the cause or the purpose (or goal / finality) of the existence of the universe. Let's assume he's asking about the cause. The expected answer would be the description of a preexisting phenomenon that transformed reality into the expected result.

We don't need reasons to justify our actions

When someone asks you something like "why did you do this", "why would you do this" or "please give me a reason why [...]something something", we don't have to answer because in most cases, theses answers do not express our true motives.

The meaning of "why" and "reason" is fundamentally flawed and ultimately meaningless

It is important to realize that things only have reasons when they are useful in order to fulfill another purpose. For something to be usefull, it has to be usefull for a greater goal. If something is useful for a lesser goal, then the usefullness is only a accidental consequence.

When asking things like: "why do you [...]something[...]", "because [...]some other thing[...]", we are trying to find the greater purpose of something.

The love example

BUT, some things have no greater purpose other than themselves. Love, for instance, is the ultimate goal of all things. It as no purpose, therefore, love is "useless" (if you will), but in fact it is the most useful "thing". Asking the question "why do we love", is therefore absurd when talking about true love. Love has desirable consequences but has no greater purpose other than love itself.

See: Making decisions using both intuition and logic

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