Gertrude Stein’s famous quote – “There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.” – has long been a favourite among non-believers, most lately appearing on the cover of The Atheist’s Bible.
I read this morning, though, that Gertrude’s pronouncement wasn’t answer enough — even for her. According to her biographer, Donald Sutherland, on her deathbed Stein was still asking, What is the answer?
When no answer came, she laughed. “In that case,” she said, “what is the question?” These were her final words before she died.
What is the question? I can’t help but think that is where Stein should have started.
And the rest of us too.
We have so many answers. But first, really, what is the question?