The Semantics of Interrogatories and Declaratives  


I do not always get the subtleties in interactions albeit I have tried to learn, spending hours studying people’s conversations and correspondence and still miss the fact that a question is so much more that what is asked. I tend to default to the literal, know it’s the safe response, divulging the minimum which can be a result of spending years living guarded as much as it is the foundation of my thinking, logic. I find the concept of questioning in and of itself intriguing. For instance asking the right question can answer more that is intended. The fact that some questions should never be asked, for instance “Why didn’t you just leave?”.   Questions can also assist with someone telling their story and must be asked.

I find the frankness of some conversations liberating but carried away from one  something to mull over. Someone very close to me said, it would have been so much easier for you to know if he had just hit you outright. Although true and something I had thought to myself before it intrigued me that someone else had the audacity to say it. That resounded in my thoughts for quite some time. As I considered the implication of overt violence and the choice I may have been forced to make, I connected the statement to a conversation I had a long time ago. I was ask “Did he ever hit you?”

Here in lie some of the subtleties I miss. I took that literally. He never raised his fist to punch me, nor did I receive a sharp slap yet his hands did leave marks. I suppose the question was framed to understand the fact if I had lived in a home filled with anger and at time violence yet I missed the mark. I have always grappled with the fact I am a “survivor” of domestic abuse.  Did the semantics of my response allow me to sidestep the pain and humiliations that I associate with that title?  Did it allow me to divert the guilt and shame I feel from persisting in a relationship where I was not valued?  Would I answer it differently, although without ease, now?

I also realize the statement about being struck was not for me to contemplate. She said it because she was trying to assimilate the situation, to understand why I had stayed. She was saying it for herself and was seeking validation, as if I were suppose to say, yes if it were clearly black and white, there would have been no question.  We all know that the world is just delineated shades of darkness with the occasional blessing of light. Nothing is black or white.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” – Voltaire




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