There’s a big difference between a proof and a why.

Often when you ask for a why people respond with a proof. We all know that $a^2 + b^2 = c^2$. But when you ask *why* this should be so, people think it suffices to prove it.

Proofs look like this:

This is fine. In fact, it’s wonderful. Due to proofs such as these, I am absolutely convinced that $a^2 + b^2 = c^2$. We have proven it, and so it must be true.

But the proof does not tell me *why*. The proof proves that $a^2 + b^2 = c^2$, but it does not tell me why it must be so.

A proof shows you that a thing must be true, but does not sate your curiosity. A proof is a command, not an answer. A proof forces you to believe.

A why is more than a proof – it’s an explanation. A why shows you that it cannot be any other way. A why tracks down flaws in your reasoning and fixes those, until the answer becomes self-evident. A why renders a proof unnecessary. Once you hold a why, the answer becomes obvious.

If you hold only a proof, you must guard it. It is a sacred mystery, a rule you must follow to understand the world. But once you attain a why, the proof becomes disposable. The holder of a why can create a proof with ease.

If you want to come to reality on its own terms, you’re going to need more than just proofs. You’re going to need to ask why.