Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
May 2024

The Correct Path

The Correct Path
You are walking down the road trying to find enlightenment when you come to a monk and a three-way fork in the road. The roads point North, East, and West. You can ask the monk one question. He will answer honestly yes, no, or just hum if he cannot answer the question.

What do you ask him to figure out the correct path?

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8 guesses to The Correct Path

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  • francisco contreras

    you ask him” if i go to the north and don’t find enlightenment would it have been better to go to the east. if he says yes then go east, if he says no then go west, if he hums then go north.

  • Crabman

    You must be coming from the south, so are travelling north (since the remaining roads go north, east & west.

    You could ask “If I was to change direction, is it better to go west?”

    If he says Yes, turn west. If he says no, turn east. If he hums, continue north.”

    Hmmm, what this doesn’t answer is what if to find enlightenment you must stay right here contemplating what it means to go each direction. The riddle doesn’t say you must continue down any path.

  • brent

    This is curious, I’ll have to think about it more.

    From a logic point of view, I don’t understand why the monk would humm in either Francisco or Crabman’s questions.

    For Francisco, assume enlightenment in in the north. if asked:
    “if i go to the north and don’t find enlightenment would it have been better to go to the east.”
    in my mind, the answer is “no” – you went north – where enlightenment was, going east would not have been a better choice. But then inferring you should go West would be no better. You should have looked harder in the north maybe. Or maybe you just didn’t know what enlightenment was.

    For Crabman, again, assume enlightenment is in the North.
    If you were to change direction, west is no better than east. So the answer would be “no” not a hmmm.

    I wonder if we can find a more definitive one? “Hmmm” ?

    I’m thinking just tweaking the wording might do it, but maybe not.?

  • KDJstyle

    “If I won’t find the enlightenment North will I find it West?” This way if he says yes you go West. If he says no you go East. If he hums go North. He can’t answer if it’s North because I will find it if I go north.

  • Jasmine

    Assuming that Enlightment’s not in the North, would it be a better choice if I went West instead of east?

  • Sometimes in a restaurant I stride off boldly in search of the restroom. If I see a server or the manager, I often ask, “What are my chances of finding the restroom if I continue to walk in this direction.” Most of the time, they do NOT answer the question I asked. But I love it when they say something like, “Depends how observant you are, but I’d say 50%.”

  • Emmett

    You ask “It would be better to go to the east than the west right? Because if he awnsers no go west, if he awnsers yes then go to the east, and if he hums go north.

  • Crabman, you are the winner!
    If the treasure is not in the East, is it in the West? If the monk answers yes, it is West. If he answers no, it is East. If he hums, it is North.