I’m Nigerian, and we’re known for answering questions with questions, so here’s one back: what most distinguishes humans from animals?
It’s something that, like the most profound things in life, is so unexpectedly simple we might easily miss it. Like you probably missed it just now.
Hint: the answer’s right there in the question. Or more to the point, the answer is the question…
Catch it yet? Okay, here goes: we’re the only ones who ask questions about life.
See, everyday, we wake up, dutifully take our places in the rat race, and zoom! We’re off. All day long, we shuttle from activity to activity with hardly any time to “stand and stare.”
But little by little, as we struggle to get ahead (whatever that means to you), or just to keep our place, our very humanity is threatened in the most simple and most profound way: we stop asking the big questions. “Why?” becomes “How?” and then just “What?” and then loses the question mark altogether before fading into “Whatever.”
This is where I hope “Tambaya” comes in: as a cry of defiance, a rebellion against mindlessness. It’s a delightful word from the Hausa language (the traditional lingua franca of northern Nigeria, where I once spent a unforgettable year), and it means “Question”.
That’s what this blog is about: the big questions. The questions only humans ask.
Welcome. Any questions? 🙂