Every parent eventually finds himself confounded by the never-ending series of questions posed by children who find it impossible to take an answer on faith. Curiosity is a natural human trait that seems to emphasize during childhood, when the world’s mysterious modus operandi has yet to be discovered.
However, the inexhaustible sequence of “why” follow-up questions can – and most of the times will – become infuriating. Don’t worry though, where there’s a problem, there’s also a solution. Let’s find out the best 10 ways to end the inquiry.
1. Appealing to parental authority
The simplest and quickest way to wrap up a tiring debate with an extremely stubborn child is the all time favorite “Simply because I said so”. You might not want to abuse this answer because you don’t want to transform yourself in the complete antithesis of the child’s will, but it is a rather useful retort when you run out of rational arguments or when the interlocutor does not appear to listen to reason. In addition to these situations, the appeal to parental authority can be utilized when the child is simply too young to comprehend the full implications of your statements. Needless to say, in order for it to work you actually need to have a certain degree of authority over the person in question. In other words, you probably should avoid it when dealing with equals or people over whom you have no influence.
2. Superimposing the divine will
A variant of the parental authority appeal, the divine being proprietary to your religion – providing of course you are a religious person – can also be used as final retort. Simply put, you need to overlay the will of the god(s) over your own. This argument constitutes a particularly effective means to put an end to the recurring “why” when the subject concerns vices, unethical actions, etc. However, it works best if you can provide the actual quote from your religion’s holy book to support your claims. It should generally be avoided if either you, the interlocutor of both have no strong religious beliefs.
3. Blaming it on the slip-up of the first humans
This one is a more subtle variation of the divine will contention, because it suggests the negative consequences of the original sin. In other words, you are still appealing to the god, but at a significantly deeper level. While you superimposing the will of God over your own, you also hint the potential outcome of disobedience. The proficiency of this technique has been time tested, as the story was used by religious figures throughout history to advocate deity-submissive behaviors.
4. Utilizing reversed psychology
OK, so you might not be a religious person and the secular environment of your home renders the first three arguments obsolete. Then how about some good old fashion mind tricks? Reverse psychology in the case of the endless “why?” implies shifting the topic by 180 degree. In other words, make the asker wonder “why not?” and throw him completely off balance. Reverse psychology performs best when you’re trying to make the interlocutor understand that your opinion or attitude is not as unfathomable as it seems.
5. Good old Douglas Adams to the rescue
In the event that you haven’t seen the movie or read the book “A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”, then here’s a brief synopsis that contains a powerful query breaker. An extremely advanced alien race aims to determine the ultimate question of life and in order to do so, they build a large computer. The process however, takes so long that everyone forgets what the original question was, therefore making the answer – 42 – unusable. However, the number applies to numerous aspects of the universe, from the position of galaxies to the atomic number of molybdenum, from the angle inclination of rainbows to religious precepts. Since 42 is a universally valid answer, it can also answer the “why”.
6. The evolution of the human spirit
The spiritual belief that the soul will undergo numerous transformations before it is finally ready to integrate with the cosmos also works in this case. However, it’s propensity of ending interrogatories increases when the “why” is a request to justify the motives behind an unpleasant experience/action. To put it simply, it’s a great way to help the interlocutor cope.
7. The quantum fluctuations that permit the existence of matter
If you thought that learning the basics of quantum physics is pointless, think again. Boost the complexity level of the question why by taking the train of thought one step further: why do the matter and energy exist? In accordance to the quantum fluctuation hypothesis, the motivation is purely random, because in the absence of arbitrary Sub-Planck oscillations, the world as we know it would cease to exist.
8. The white counterpart of the notorious black holes
The white holes provide an excellent solution to the existentialist question “why” due to the ability of this hypothesis to justify the formation of the known universe. The theory suggests that the duality of the black holes that absorb matter and light consists of the white holes that emanate them. However, the General Relativity theory also states that the white holes should be visible, although none has been discovered by astronomers so far.
9. The collision between the membranes of the Universe
If you really want to awe the interlocutor or at least ensure that the “why” is no longer a valid follow-up question, then the “branes” collision hypothesis is just the thing you need. This is a slightly more intricate variation of the Big Bang theory which states that the universe is essentially formed from sheets – the branes or membranes – floating in the fifth dimension. When two or more branes collide with each other, presto, a new big bang occurs and a new universe comes to life.
10. Multiverse theory and the parallel dimensions
The Multiverse response is best described as an amalgamation of the quantum fluctuation theory and the “this is because it just is” logical fallacy. Essentially, your answer to the “why” is that there is an infinite number of parallel universes and the only reason is that the variables that dictate our position and time have a certain value. If any of these variables would vary, we would be in a completely dissimilar parallel universe.