I love a good rabbit hole which means I love a good walkabout through and around a good open-ended question.
It always comes back to the fantastical den of Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole and the peculiar round of logic that plays out down there. Even though we need the world to make sense, our minds can’t help but play the game of possibilities. What will happen if x? If x then y? Because man has always been a problem solver. Survival has depended upon it. Our stories are really just problems and the solutions to variables. Without story, there is no problem or solution. Without a problem to solve, there is no point. We love puzzles because we love problems and their solutions. We don’t just figure it out…we like to figure it out.
A good rabbit hole is something like a koan–a paradoxical story, quest, or dialogue that lends itself to inquiry. But not just any line of questioning. It is a beginning to a puzzle. A yawning question that hijacks you down a hole with many doors lying at the bottom. But there is no true bottom, just a landing zone with a lot of locked doors. Here is where I leave Alice to enter into her lovely garden because I prefer the door that leads through a dark hole of dense matter and spits me out the other side into a limitless universe of meaning. The side where the boundary of the mind shimmers at the threshold of the greater beyond. To infinity and beyond!
In the Buddhist Zen tradition, a koan is a question that engages the mind outside its usual habits without enforcing any attachment to well-defined conclusions and judgments. Where Western philosophy often begins with a question and then seeks an answer, Buddhism is content within the open-ended question. The attachment to form required of an answer is missing the point in a way.
The question is the quest without the need of a destination. And if you’re anything like me, sometimes a good wandering or walkabout is needed to satisfy the wanderlust.
Which gets me back to Alice’s rabbit hole. Does one need a destination in order to have a good road trip?