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With any question, why is it always so helpful to know why the answer is the one that is? In another words, which principle of thinking and learning is most closely tied to question "why"? Or is it purely social act of expressing deeper interest? Is questioning for reasons mandatory?

I feel I know the answer to this question intuitively, but find it hard to express it into words without it sounding stereotypical and lazy.

This seems bizarre, because it's children who are most "famous" for asking "why" all the time, but: How would you, say explain to a child, why do we need to know reasons behind things?

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[-] SomeAmateur@sh.itjust.works 11 points 10 months ago* (last edited 10 months ago)

It's kind of important. Boss says "every 10 minutes you need to flip this switch the opposite direction". It's just a switch on a wall. Sure you can just do it blindly and never know why, you're still getting paid after all. Or you can ask. Maybe it changes a signal to prevent collisions between trains. Maybe it tells all the sliding doors to open at a shopping mall in New Jersey. Maybe it drops treats into a pet enclosure. Or maybe it is really truly wasting your time.

If you can't directly see the results from doing/avoiding a thing, having the purpose explained helps.

[-] netvor@lemmy.world 1 points 10 months ago

having the purpose explained helps

But does it? I suppose it could be the opposite as well, right? It seems like there is some inherent hazard connected to the motivation of answering a "why" question. It can open Pandora's box of misalignment.

I mean, what if I'm against malls? Then I could decide I want nothing to do with this button. (Or even purposefully sabotage it in some way.)

It's hard to overstate how permanent and omnipresent this hazard is: Even if there was an objective truth about good vs. evil and it was accessible to any conscious being just by exploration and thinking, there still would be this hazard because one cannot know how close to this truth the other one is.

A crazy thought: Maybe that's why we have all these kinds of weird social phenomena, from interpersonal struggles, mental illness to social structures like family, state, religion... all this inability of people to really pull together has something to do with nature managing this constant hazard of misalignment. It must be chaotic is because it's evolution: the only strategy that works long-term is to have all kinds of strategies present all the time. Maybe it's actually adaptive for society as a whole -- that's why trying to fix broken people and societies is such a steep uphill battle.

"Why" is scary.

[-] Action_Bastid@lemmy.world 7 points 10 months ago

Because it allows for proper prioritization of needs, allows for the better exploitation of our surroundings (as tool using animals), and is INCREDIBLY useful for helping us try to "model" other human's behaviors and act as social animals as opposed to just being the regular kind.

Probably the most impact "Why" question probably started occurring before we were even human and it was "Why did they do that?"

Being able to understand the motivations of other beings is absolutely fucking incredibly overpowered both in terms of cooperative action with your fellows AND destructive action against foes/food sources.

[-] curiosityLynx@kglitch.social 4 points 10 months ago

Two reasons I can think of:

  • Information is more trustworthy if you can arrive at the same conclusion or at least understand how the other person arrived at it given the same information. If someone tells you that person X should be avoided, you could either blindly follow that advice or ask for a reason to decide whether you'd agree with the assessment.
  • Knowing the reasons behind something is also useful for extrapolating to new knowledge. A child who asks why they need to bathe will not just learn to wash themselves regularly but also about hygene in general, societal expectations about body odor and/or a possible disease vector.
[-] rayman30@lemmy.world 4 points 10 months ago* (last edited 10 months ago)
  • Seeking Understanding: Humans are naturally curious beings. We want to know the reasons behind events, behaviors, and circumstances to make sense of the world. Asking "why?" helps us gain insight into the causes and mechanisms behind various phenomena.

  • Problem Solving: In many situations, asking "why?" is the first step in finding solutions to problems. By understanding the underlying reasons for a problem, individuals can devise appropriate strategies to address it effectively.

  • Identifying Motivations and Intentions: When people ask "why?" in interpersonal interactions, they are often trying to understand the motivations and intentions of others. This can help with empathy, communication, and building better relationships.

  • Challenging Assumptions: Questioning why something is done a certain way can help challenge existing assumptions or norms. This critical thinking process can lead to innovation and improvements in various aspects of life.

  • Gaining Knowledge: Asking "why?" is a fundamental way to acquire knowledge. It encourages exploration, research, and learning. It's through questioning that people expand their understanding of the world and its complexities.

  • Encouraging Dialogue: In discussions and debates, asking "why?" invites others to provide reasoning and evidence to support their claims. It fosters constructive dialogue and helps clarify different perspectives.

  • Stimulating Curiosity: Asking "why?" is a way to keep curiosity alive. It sparks interest in exploring new ideas and leads to continuous learning.

  • Establishing Cause and Effect: "Why?" questions often seek to establish cause-and-effect relationships. Understanding these relationships is crucial in various fields, including science, history, and psychology.

  • Enhancing Decision Making: When facing choices or making decisions, questioning why certain options are better than others allows individuals to make informed and rational choices.

sponsored by ChatGPT :)

[-] Artemis_the_gr8@lemmy.blahaj.zone 3 points 10 months ago

That is an interesting question.

I think wanting to know the "why" of things could be a matter of humans being curious in nature. Why that is the case, could be because of evolutionary benefits to the survival of the species.

I think wanting to know the "why" is related to wanting to understand how thinks work - because if we understand how things work, we understand the cause and effect relations in a situation, and with that we can try to control things.

If I can understand why something is the way that it is, that makes it predictable in the future. And if I can predict how things will behave in the future, I can try to control them or use them to my advantage. This goes for small things, like food staying good for longer in the fridge, but also for large things, like the social and cultural systems at work in society.

[-] lorez@lemm.ee 1 points 10 months ago

Yep, it all goes back to fear. If I know why I can control it hopefully and I’m less scared.

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this post was submitted on 25 Jul 2023
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