Titbits Are Go!

Deconstructing The Unanswered Question

J.P. Williams
1 min readAug 21, 2023
Charles Ives, ca. 1947. Public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

What is the unanswered question? Unless you have the score, composer Charles Ives’s modernist meditation has no words but its title to tell us. It is by definition interrogatory and past-participle adjectivally either without a universally accepted answer or any answer at all, however conjectural. Maybe it’s any unanswered question, but the definite article suggests it’s an important question or maybe even the only question worth asking. Something existential then: Who am I? Why am I here? Does God exist? Why do we suffer? Is death the end? Having moved on in 1954 due to a stroke at age 79 (bio on Playbill), Ives himself is no longer here to insist on his interpretation as the right one.

Note: I wrote this for Medium.com. If you are reading this on another platform, it has been pirated. I quit the Medium Partner Program, so I’m not doing this for money. It is nice, however, to know someone’s reading, so please clap or comment to let me know somebody’s out there. Gladius adhuc lucet.

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J.P. Williams

I usually write about the intersection of arts and ideas. Right now, mostly lighter, shorter pieces on whatever I feel like.