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Why?


The greatest unanswered question is Why. There is a story about an engineering student who had to take one more elective class to graduate; the only class left open was Introduction to Philosophy. Against his better judgment, he signed up for the class anyway. Besides, how hard could it be? On the first day of class, the professor gave his opening remarks. He said, "You must attend every class, and there will be no homework or regular tests, just a final examination on the last day of class." The engineer was shocked! He knew that what you could not measure, you could not improve. He had until the third week to drop the class; however, if he did, he would not graduate and lose his lucrative job offer, so staying was the only option.


On the second day of class, the old philosophy professor gave a little background from when he was a young student in Russia. One of the required classes was Russian History. The class used a similar format as the one he now uses: no homework or regular tests, just one final examination for your grade. This class format made him very uneasy, as failure in Russia was costly in many ways. As the final test approached, the old philosophy professor said he decided to do additional research to prepare for the final history test by going to the campus library. He was shocked to find that the final examination was on file. Surprisingly, he found the last twenty years of the final exam in the same file with all the same questions every year. Getting very anxious, he looked around to see if he was being watched. The only right thing to do was tell his Russian history professor what he found. He went to his office immediately and told him what he found in the campus library. The history professor listened as his student told him of his discoveries and that all the test questions were open for all to see. The history professor smiled and replied, "Yes, all the test questions are on file for all to see, and they are the same; however, the answers change yearly." That was the end of the second class. The engineering student thought, how does one respond to that, let alone make that testable? The philosophy answers change yearly? Is this a joke?


The engineering student sat in class after class, getting increasingly frustrated. All of his senior-level engineering classes, Mechatronics and Thermodynamics of Biomolecular Systems seem easy compared to this class. He started questioning everything he had ever learned. The answers change yearly; what the hell does that mean? The one phrase from the philosophy class that stuck with him was, "I know that I know nothing." Even if I did know something, has it already changed? Who can I trust? Can I trust anyone, or is that going to change too? As it got close to the final test, he decided to do as the old professor did and check out the campus library. Not Surprisingly, there was a file labeled Introduction to Philosophy with his professor's name on it. He slowly opened it and saw a note from the professor, which said, "You think it was going to be that easy?" The engineering student's face flushed red with anger.


The day of the final test arrived, and with great consternation, the engineering student entered the testing room and reluctantly received his test booklet. He slowly opened it and looked at the 'word' written on the page. He flipped through all the pages quickly, but nothing. Sweat poured down his face, his heart rate increased, and he felt sick. He looked around the room and saw everyone but him filling out the pages as quickly as they could write. The only question on the exam was, "Why?" After a long pause, he dejectedly smiled and wrote, "Why not?" He closed his booklet and handed it to the professor. He was the first one out of the class, and looking back, he saw the professor looking at his work. He thought Summer school couldn't be that bad; I could work at McDonalds. Two weeks later, he received his final report card, and in it was a note from the professor, "This is the best answer I have ever received on this test, one that should not change yearly; congratulations." The engineering student reflected on his grade, 'A,' and he knew what he had to do. He rejected his six-figure engineering job offer and joined the CIA's PSYOP unit. He was never heard from again, or at least as far as you know.


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