WHY ARE WE HERE? WHAT’S OUR PURPOSE? WHAT’S THE POINT?
Great questions! We’re glad you asked. Besides getting to know Why, gettingtoknowwhy.com is here for the purpose of archiving and exhibiting the fruit of several writing projects, the focal point of which is Getting to Know Why: a monthly column that considers the great questions of meaning by agonizing over the life of yours truly, “Dr. Why.” The primary author/editor of the series is my long-time mentor and friend, “Dr. X”; but I also contribute quite a lot. Getting to Know Why is first published in the Norton-Lakeshore Examiner under the direction of visionary editor Cynthia Price before it is republished here with my assistance.
Unlike most blogs and newspaper columns, Getting to Know Why is a serial: each installment builds on the one that precedes it and leads into the one that follows it. Maybe that’s the only reason Editor Price classes it with works by Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Herman Melville. In any event, because it’s a serial, Getting to Know Why installments are best read in the order in which they appeared, and they’re numbered for just this reason. If you’re a newcomer trying to decide whether Getting to Know Why is worth getting to know, however, then I recommend you start with installments #2 and #3. You can go back to #1 later if you decide you’re interested.
Chapter 1 and Comments: Young-Earth Creationism
And how could you not be interested? After all, the main topic of the first chapter of Getting to Know Why is young-Earth creationism! Dr. X thinks no variety of creationism deserves more than mocking consideration, but I insist on treating it respectfully because it was an important part of my youth and because I remain convinced that it has important lessons to teach us (even if not the ones creationists would like us to learn from it).
Dr. X says my “Dead-Head-Eve” interpretation of the Genesis Fall-of-Man story (featured in #3) is not to be missed; but he criticizes it in #4 nevertheless. Dr. X helpfully (though misleadingly) caricatures young-Earth creationism in #5, and I begin to exposit young-Earth-creationist method in #6. Because Dr. X and I strongly disagree about how creationism should be addressed, however, we take a break from the topic after #6.
“Comments” on the main body of Getting to Know Why (marked in the clickable-title index with *) also appear on this website. The only comment posted at the present time, “On The X-Y Method,” explains something of how Getting to Know Why is done and why it’s done that way (a theme that is also picked up in #23). The Mythic-Man-Breasts Subseries (which grew out of the joke that ends #2) has been taken down to be reintroduced later in the series.
Installments #7 through #12 have also been taken down, again with the expectation that at least some of them will be reintroduced later. Installment “7-12” (so named for the gap it fills) explains why we removed these installments even as it transitions between chapters 1 and 2 of Getting to Know Why.
Chapter 2 and Comments: Dr. Why’s Childhood
Chapter 2 of Getting to Know Why is about my childhood and early adolescence. It opens with Dr. X’s mildly entertaining (because wildly exaggerated) account of meeting me for the first time, which appears in two parts beginning with #13. Publication of the second part was delayed by the passing of a friend, on which I reflect in #14 in what amounts to my very own introduction to Getting to Know Why. This stand-alone piece (“the most substantial, readable, and appealing” we’ve yet published, according to Editor Price) constitutes a second good point of entry into Getting to Know Why.
“Last Valentine’s Day” changed my plans for #15, so Dr. X finished the account of our first meeting in #16, which is dedicated to “Those Who Pose as Gods.” #17 is written “for Grandma and The King” about a conversation I once had with my father’s mother about death and damnation. #18 considers the value of Lima beans for sibling rivalry and “Ye Royal Piglets.” #19 (#20 in the newspaper series) is about fishing with my father and little brother, and #20 (#19 in the newspaper series) is a confessional piece about the day I learned “How to Clean Fish.” #21 and #22 together ponder the punishments and rewards of two happy birthdays. As mentioned above, #23 reflects on the method of Getting to Know Why. #24 tells some of the back-story to “Last Valentine’s Day” by addressing the question, “Do You Want Children?” And #25 reflects on self-absorption and friendship in a tale of two pets.
Future installments of Chapter 2 will be about still other decisive moments in my childhood and early adolescence.
After Chapter 2, Getting to Know Why will return briefly to the theme of creationism before it spirals, as I did, into agnosticism, atheism, and beyond….
This Ever-Evolving Preface
This preface is updated regularly to reflect all we’re getting to know in Getting to Know Why here at gettingtoknowwhy.com.
All the best!