I’m sure that most people have heard this riddle, often asked by a child:
Why did the chicken cross the road?
I might, at first, take the question literally, and answer with the first thoughts in my mind:
- Because there was food over there.
- Because it was going to get hit by a truck.
If I know it’s a riddle, and that the answer is often obscure, perhaps I’ll stretch my mind a little farther:
- To go bock, bock, bock in time.
- To get away from the Disco Duck.
But by then, I’m tired of the mental exercise. I give up, and ask my young friend to reveal the answer:
To get to the other side.
The obvious. Boo. How disappointing. I could’ve come up with that. Ha ha ha, so funny… NOT. The child, on the other hand, is delighted, and goes off to find more inane questions with which to bother people.
Rarely does anyone look more deeply into this riddle. Don’t be deceived by the elegant simplicity of the ‘question’ or the obviousness of its ‘answer’. It’s a riddle with two parts, and they are inseparable. The riddle, as a whole, is asking to be completely seen:
Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.
Dismiss it as a silly joke, or, hold it, lightly, in the mind. Percolate upon it, and perhaps it will reveal a truth at the heart of human experience.
Give up? At a later date, I’ll post Part 2, and discuss the solution as it was revealed to me.
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