When I was a child, I often wanted to make happy everyone around, but someone pointed out to me how often the dominant motive, albeit often completely unconscious, for doing good to other people, is the desire to please himself, to see himself in a better light, in other words, the desire to boost his ego, as I would now call it.
The remark hit fertile ground, because although I saw myself as a fundamentally good boy, someone with an almost innate goodness, it was after all also quite pleasant to see myself as such. And with my tendency to seek the truth, I naturally began to doubt my true motives somewhat. That someone gave me the red pill without warning me of the consequences 😉 .
This made me realise at a very young age how often human behaviour is dominated by completely unconscious motives, and it seems frightening that often the more noble the goals, the nastier the true motives of these noble goals.
Thus, from early childhood, one of the most favourite activities of my mind became questioning all sorts of aspects of the reality around us.
Questioning was much discussed and written about by one of my favourite spiritual teachers, whose 'Commentaries on Living' contributed very significantly to the way I now perceive the reality around us, Jiddu Krishnamurti. I don't think I was at all surprised at the time by the title of the first chapter of "Commentaries..." viz: "Three sacred egoists" (Hmm, quite a relevant point at a time when Bill Gates and others of his ilk (oh horror!) want to "save" the world...).
Questioning, as a cognitive method, is of course also mentioned (less frequently or more often) by other spiritual teachers, philosophers, thinkers or, last but not least, by all self-respecting scholars of the sciences. The meme currently circulating "on the internet" about "faith in science" 😉 also reminds us of this.
So questioning everything to the wheel in search of deeper or more hidden aspects, if not absolute truth😉.... ...well, I just realised how everything is relative, relatable, or subject to change. Just as Heraclitus of Ephesus preached 25 centuries ago that "the only constant thing in life is change". This is also the message of the Yijing (or: Iching), or 'Book of Changes'. But here, even more important than changeability, seems to be relativity, this absolute almost relativity; after all, according to quantum physicists, Schrödinger's cat is both alive and dead at the same time....