Chapter 15: No Question Means the Answer
The first question:
I feel too lazy to think of a question. What to do?
It cannot be true that you really feel too lazy; otherwise who has written this question?
A man was lying down on the couch of a very famous psychoanalyst, and he was continuously talking about his failures in life, failures of all kinds in all directions. He was trying to prove that he was an utter failure, the ultimate in failure, that there was nobody in the world who was more of a failure than he was.
The psychoanalyst listened to him silently as long as he could tolerate, and then he said, “Stop all this nonsense! You cannot be such a failure!”
The man said, “Why?”
The psychoanalyst said, “If you were a failure you would not be able to afford my fee! If you can afford my fee for years - and I am the most expensive psychoanalyst in the world - how can you be a failure?”
You can ask such a beautiful question and you think you are lazy? And still you are asking what to do. If you are really lazy you should ask what not to do. Lazy you can be, but at least be consistently lazy. Either you are a philosopher or a Polack! In fact, both are synonymous! If you like big names, beautiful words, then think of yourself as a philosopher.
In the past, particularly in the Middle Ages, many mystics used the word foolosopher for philosopher - and they were right. If you want to be down to earth, then the fact is that you are simply a Polack. Philosophers are expected to ask such things..
Centuries after Hamlet had told us what the question is - “To be or not to be?” - Gertrude Stein’s deathbed utterance became a familiar quotation. Remember it, when you are dying! Just before dying she opened her eyes and said, “What is the answer?”
The people who were around her were a little bit puzzled: “How can one suddenly ask, ‘What is the answer?’ when even the question has not been mentioned?”
Somebody gathered courage and responded to Stein’s remark, “But we don’t know the question!”
She smiled her beautiful smile and said, “Okay, then what is the question?”