Monday, 30 May 2016

Necessary questions. For most of my life I've been fascinated by the story of Parcival, Perceval, Parsifal, a hero who goes by many spellings. In fact I've written a novel about my fascination, The New Parcival. The gist of my fascination: He was taught to be polite and not ask any unnecessary questions. When he got to the holy grail, he was supposed to ask a necessary question, and, being taught to be polite, he didn't ask. At least not the first time. To everybody's amazement (and salvation!) after many trials and tribulations, he got an unexpected second chance, and that time he did ask.

I too have been taught to be polite, including not asking too many questions. I've even been told by well-meaning and friendly editors that my prose had too many questions, and I've dutifully gotten rid of some of those.

Still, I believe it is better to question many things, even at the cost of some of the politeness we've been saddled with. The most famous Parcival question (with that many name variations for the hero himself, you shouldn't be surprised that the important question comes in several forms, too) is: "Why do you suffer?" or "What ails you?"

For me the current question is: Why do we have such a hard time honoring each other, our children, our loved ones, our fellow human beings, our fellow creatures on earth, our generous planet itself?