Matthew Mario Di Pasquale · Opinions

I don't know why


Expect me not to show cause why I seek or why I exclude company.

—Ralf Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance" (1841)

Expect me not to show cause (for anything). There's an infinite number of reasons but only one result. OK, maybe not an infinite number, but maybe so. At least it often feels that way. And if everything is a reason, then nothing is the reason.

When something happens, I don't know why. I mean, I could think of probably an infinite number of reasons. My thinking could keep going, likely forever, like a child continually asking why. For example, why did the bird fly away? Because: the dog chased after it, the bird saw the dog coming, the owner let the dog outside, etc. If I were to keep going, I might even get to such existential questions as: Why are we here? See, I don't think I deeply understand anything. OK, I could try to explain things up to a certain point. I do love science and philosophy after all.

When I make choices, I often mostly rely on my intuition, which I think works like machine learning. I subconsciously consider a myriad of things and instantly get a gut feeling (based on my nature and nurture) of which choice to make, and it's practically impossible for me to explain why I made that choice. Analogously, a machine that uses machine learning considers a myriad of features and makes a choice based on its algorithm and training, and it's difficult to understand why it made that choice, hence the term "black box". I usually don't consciously weigh the pros and cons of each option. Doing that's extremely difficult for me, but maybe I should.

Maybe there's an infinite number of reasons, but can I just give you the top three? Even that's often very difficult for me to do. It often takes me a lot of effort, thought, time, and courage. It may take a week for me to gain more clarity on why I made a choice. I heavily base my choices on my feelings, so if you ask me why I made a certain choice, you're basically asking me to tell you why I felt a certain way. It's very difficult for me to explain the dynamic symphony of feelings I'm having, let alone why. Also, I often try not to hurt people's feelings or to say things that might get me in trouble, etc, and such reservedness may make it difficult for me to explain myself.

I've gotten frustrated having to explain myself, especially for things that are unconventional. Why can't people just understand me? I wish people knew what I knew. Why must I educate them? For example, why must I explain why I donate my sperm, walk around barefoot, or have a personal website. But I should realize that others can't read my mind or may not know everything I know. I guess I should see explaining myself as an opportunity, eg, to express myself, share my wisdom, learn new things, and make new connections.

I often don't explain myself, but I probably should at least try. So if you want to ask me why, go for it! I could try to articulate one or more of my main reasons, but you may have to bear with me. Sometimes I can give more insight into things, but most times I probably won't give you a good, accurate, or complete explanation. As you can see, I haven't even done a good job explaining why I don't know why.