"Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not." - Pablo Picasso
I've asked myself that second question a lot. I have always liked to think about things in the sense of potential. Therefore, it seems to make all the sense in the world to my mind to project my thoughts towards making the future better. Unfortunately, that way of thinking would seem to be foreign to many people.
"Why not?" I ask. Then people seem so sure when they tell me how something is without always having an explanation for why that thing is. So how dare I, then, ask why not it be a different way!
The truth is, nothing changes unless you suggest an alternative that is both workable and positive. The problem is people oftentimes don't understand why a thing is the way it is. But there's nothing wrong with presupposing that something could be another way before understanding why something is how it is. This is because human reasoning is being used, and this is an activity that should be encouraged. By stifling this inspired session of reasoning, you could be missing out on a potential new idea or concept that could benefit many people.
We live in a world with all this increasing technology and convenience to information. Yet, this sort of creative thinking and positive reasoning is being stifled. Instead, we are being programmed to think and respond in the patterns that make us good consumers and yes-persons.
Pablo Picasso was, obviously, ahead of his time in many ways. But this quote, to me, sums up his whole way of thinking. I actually think along these same lines, as well. I really don't like to ask "why." As I have mentioned already, people don't necessarily know the hows and whys of everything. History is revised again and again to serve different agendas. So common knowledge is not exactly accurate.
Certainly, the facts are all out there to be found, but people are so busy asking why and accepting often incomplete and inaccurate answers. If you ask why not, that actually forces someone to reason through something for themselves. This is an extremely uncomfortable feeling for many people today.
Turns out, though, people tend to rather ask why than why not. This is because people should be taught the opposite. People should have to figure things out for themselves, not simply have things explained to them. Certainly, the person telling the why may not intentionally be trying to do anything wrong. But that explanation may not really be enough to give anyone a true understanding of what is being asked.
You have to question every answer critically. I'm not saying to just be cynical about everything. Sadly, it can become extremely easy to do that in a world full of so much open dialogue and overflowing cornucopias of information. But you simply have to ask why not, instead of why, and you'll find that you'll have to seek out a lot more answers on your own than you ever had to before. And, you'll be far better for it.