In Japanese and Korean, the word mu means “not have” or “without” and can be used as a response for when the wrong question is being asked. Mu is not an answer to a question; it’s a rejection of a question. It’s similar in a way to “N/A” or “not applicable” – though far less poetic.
When a question is fundamentally flawed, or to reject the premise that a dualistic answer can be given, one can respond with mu. Unask the question. Ask a better one.
Will you accept the apology, or not? Mu.
Why is life so unfair? Mu.
Have you stopped beating your children? Mu
Mu can be cutesy or evasive. It can also be a profound and insightful response to the wrong question.
The next time you ask a question, it’s worth also asking whether the better answer is mu. Unask the question. Ask a better one.
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