What is the Oldest Question in the Universe?

The big question raised by yesterday’s episode of Doctor Who, “Let’s Kill Hitler,” is…what is the question? The Silence, we have been told, are a religious order trying to answer the oldest question in the universe, believing that once they do, “silence will fall.”

The big discussions among Doctor Who fans for the near future will be “What is the oldest question in the universe?” and “What does ‘Silence will fall’ mean?”

All I will say for now is that I hope that the oldest question in the universe is not one the answer to which is “42” and I hope that “Silence will fall” doesn’t mean that once it is answered, they drop from their sleeping position on the ceiling.

What do you think the oldest question in the universe is? What do you think the answer to it might be?

UPDATE: I removed an image which was originally part of this post, which I happened across on Google and could not trace back to its source. The source, I later learned, unfortunately in connection with a request to remove the image, was IMForeman on deviantART. That artist’s page is well worth exploring.

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  • http://twitter.com/chadpresley chadpresley

    I couldn’t help thinking that the oldest question was “who?” As in regards to “who” we are, “who” made us, “who” made everything, etc…

    • Cthomas1224

      what do u want to know

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000691473011 LeAnna Brinson

    I was thinking that the question may be, “Doctor Who?”. Makes sense to me. I think that he told RiverSong his real name, because he said that she was the only person that knew his name, so she knows the answer to the question: Doctor Who?

    • Urastargurl

      That’s what I think too

    • AkumaPrince

      You are right actually, at the end of this years season finale you hear the severed head in the box, idr his name, calling out saying the question “Doctor who? DOCTOR WHO? **DOCTOR WHO?**” as the doctor walks off back to his tardis.

  • http://thechurchofjesuschrist.us/ Joel

    Are we there yet?

    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Love it!

  • Jared Calaway

    What the hell was that?

  • Angievandemerwe

    I think the oldest question is “Does God exist”, or “Is there a God”?
    One is a subjective question  while the other is an objective question.

    One is based in human experience, while the other is based n empiricism/science.

    How one answers the first question will be how one interprets “god’ within human experience, as revelatory or representational. This could be character or representation of “god’s spirit’. Strict orthodoxy would define “god” as the human incarnation of “God the Father”.

    “Is there a God”? No one can investigate such matters, can they, really? There have been proofs about “God” in time past. Such proofs such as “A greater thought could not be thought” doesn’t say much, really, as “God” still leaves open the question to be filled with human surmisings.

    Myth is the best way to undestand such thinking in anthropology and human development.

    So, which is “God”? A real Being, or entity of mystery and Transcendence; a way of understandng leadership within human development; or a myth that is created to explain all “that is” and the “how”, which science now answers….

  • http://digestofworms.blogspot.com admiralmattbar

    I wondered if this was supposed to be a shout out to Douglas Adams who used to write Doctor Who.  If not, then it’s a lame rip-off.

  • Gary

    If a literalist, Adam asks, “You made what out of my rib?”
    If not, Cro magnon asks, “What happens if I die?” This comes before “Is there a God?”, since survival (and 1st person instinct) is the first priority for anyone. “Is there a God?” comes immediately after “What happens when I die?”
    The last question asked by man will be “where’s the remote?”, to show mankind is devolving.

  • Cthomas1224

    is there any body out yhere????

    • Angievandemerwe

       I’m sure that is the infant’s first “feeling” about “god”(the parent)….it is an internalization about the world and what is “to come”….by the baby’s first encounter with independent life!

  • David Frazier

    I think the fundamental question is why is there something instead of nothing.

    • Angievandemerwe

      But, would this be the first question of the infant? 

  • Seanage311

    I agree with the guy below
    I was cursing at moffat for that I swear but it’s going to be worth it when we find out. I feel like moffat plans for everythin. we will probably have to w8 for the end of the season guys!

  • Seanage311

    I agree with the guy below
    I was cursing at moffat for that I swear but it’s going to be worth it when we find out. I feel like moffat plans for everythin. we will probably have to w8 for the end of the season guys!

  • Robert

    The oldest question is:

    “What the f..k?”

    and the answer to this question is, of course:

    “S..t  happens.”

  • Gakuseidon

    The oldest question: “Who am I?”

    From Dr Who’s perspective: “Who is Who?”

  • Q.

    “Would you like fries with that?”

  • http://www.facebook.com/krowzak Wayne Krowzak

    Is there more to life?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-George-Gaunt/1104093575 Daniel George Gaunt

    Silence will fall when the question is asked, so the question can’t have been asked yet. One thing that puzzles me is that they say the silence isn’t a species but a religious order but if that’s the case what are the gray aliens that no one remembers?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002246117085 Archie Bunney

    Theory – The question is ‘What is the Doctor’s name?’ and ‘silence will fall’ because no one knows the answer, then the Doctor has to tell River Song because of what happens in S.I.T.L.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000229165131 Wayne Coffren

      There’s no indication that the reason Who tells River his true name has ANYTHING to do with Silence. In Silence she whispers his true name into his ear. Remember, we’re talking about Steven Moffat here, and his backwards time concept. Effect then cause. Just because something happened before the Big Bang, doesn’t mean it has to happen that way again. Who may never tell River his true name this time around. Future River will know it, but not necessarily the one that’s currently lying in a hospital bed.

  • David Tennant

    “Are you my mummy?”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000229165131 Wayne Coffren

    The oldest questions is not Who’s name because River already knows the answer to that. I mean honestly, isn’t the oldest question…..why?

  • Gerson

    I think the oldest question in the universe is for the Doctor to ask River to marry him. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/cameron.horsburgh Cameron Horsburgh

    The story element where the Doctor (eventually) tells River his name is a little too reminiscent of God telling Lillith his name. And we all know how that turned out.

    Well, it’s been a while since I heard the story, but it would fit right into the Doctor-Who-as-God idea that keeps coming up.

  • http://pretty-and-sick.tumblr.com Elle

    i think it might be the doctor’s name – because, notice, river answers the question with the doctor’s name in the episode SILENCE in the library…idk. moffat is a troll so who knows what the question/answer could be.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    OK, so how are fans going to react if it turns out that the Doctor’s name actually is “Sweetie”? :-)

  • Kingj1008

    What is the doctor’s name?

  • Leo

    The episode is called “The Wedding of River Song.”
    So, I believe, the oldest question in the universe is: “Will you marry me?”

  • Alice

    The silence is a religious order… they might by asking why, not who
    like why as in why are we here… but that’s an impossible question to agree apon an answer so… but I think its probably something either really philosophical or really not.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath
  • Earthlingdonald

    The oldest Question in the universe is Will You Marry Me, and we can tell by the way she blasted him away that there was a possible no! Thank you for your time, Donald of Washington think tank member 42

  • Blackruse1

    Perhaps the oldest question in the universe is the question itself. “What is the question?”

  • Donnahutchens

    the big question is doctor who?

  • Johnnylovesacting

    What is the doctors name..it’s shouted at him enough todays episode

  • DoctorWho

    Doctor Who?

  • Tiger_Cutie15

    “Who Are You?” I believe this is the answer to the question because he is very old from all the people in earth he has seen people from past future n the present .

  • Annaswan100

    I know what it is…:Doctor Who?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @1dc0e576506554d9da36b779a7f3a028:disqus , everyone who has seen “The Wedding of River Song” now knows what it is.

  • Zachoo872

    Silence will fall when everyone must tell the truth, the question which shall not be answered will be asked

  • http://twitter.com/Enigmanaut Michael Jones

    Full size version of the picture attached to the article:


  • Madex-heffordJ STUDENT

    The oldest quetion is Docter Who and the Doctor is still alive after his wedding and left his bride alone and his bride is River Song makinig the doctor Amy’s Son-In-Law!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Amy Pond

    The oldest question is Will you marry me and Doctor Who and the Doctor is still alive after his wedding and left his bride
    alone and his bride is River Song makinig the doctor Amy’s

  • Doctor who

    You are so right

  • nom

    Agree with Gakuseidon ..
     “Who am I?”

     aka.. “Gnothi Seauton”  – Know yourself.


  • Enupe

    The oldest question in the universe is Wo is Doctor Who? It was asked at the end of the season finale!

  • Lee Evans

    I thought his real name was Sigma Seven? Didn’t Tom Baker’s Who say that once?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Are you perhaps thinking of Theta Sigma?

  • SheNaNigan

    “Doctor Who?” Which, by all records is answered by a fellow class mate of the Doctor in, was it the final, final episode in the short The Key To Time during the Tom Baker years. Theta Sigma was his name in school, that he was known by. Does that mean it is his real name? No. That could simply be his nickname from school.

  • The Professor Dalen Rune

    The real first question was “What?”. 
    As in “What is that?”. 
    In Doctor Who the question that must not be answered 
    is “Doctor who?’. 
    Should this question be answered silence would fall. 
    A mythology from Classic Doctor Who 
    where the Series would end 
    if The Doctor’s real name is revealed. 
    If The Doctor was suppose to die in Utah, America 
    how then could he answer 
    the question that should not be answered?? 
    Thank you and Allons-y!! 
    The Professor Dalen Rune. 

  • My Name

    The oldest question in the universe is, “What the devil is going on here?!”  As in, that’s what a baby thinks when it’s first born.  So the first baby of the oldest species in the universe (with the capabality of asking questions).  Therefore, the oldest question.

  • Bish

    all wrong, it’s “who is the doctor?” (which obviously is a bigger question than, “what is his name?”). River sent a distress singnal to the beginning, and end of time asking “please help the doctor”, the first person to get the message (obviously recieving messages from lightyears later would ask, who is this Dr that we need to help, who is the Dr? and why is there a message about him all throughout time? Its a hard question for even himself to answer, it might just break the universe when he explains it somehow,…. magically and blow up the tardis,…. in the past….somehow)

  • Speedfrk68

    I believe that it is a play on what is the Doctor’s name, but what is the name of God.  Knowing the true name of God in Judeochristian history would provide the one who knows great power including the power to destroy everything by speaking the name.  Thus the question of the Doctors name, the silence will fall as in all will be destroyed is all tied together.  Knowing Gods name would also prove the other questions stated earlier; to know if God exists and where we come from.  The question is what is God’s name? Unknown to man since the days of the Hebrew Priests in ancient Israel.  THe return of the priesthood, knowing the name, the restoration of the holy temple, all supposed to bring about the end of days.  How is that for a question?

  • Irfan H

    The Oldest Question In The Universe, That When Asked, Silence Falls is Doctor Who?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Why do people keep posting that, as though we did not all now know what the question is, now that the season finale has aired?

  • MisterChief117

    It’s “Doctor Who?”

  • Jenny

    It could be asking “Doctor Who?” because of the fact that he’s had such an influence in history. Although, what should be considered is: who’s silence? What is being silenced exactly? Is it humanities obliviousness to alien-life? If there is nothing being questioned, answered, or plainly discussed, then there is silence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cat-Farming/100002137785816 Cat Farming

    “On the fields of trenzalore,
    at the fall of the eleventh, when no living creature can speak falsely
    or fail to answer, a Question will be asked, question that must never,
    ever be answered.”

    The question hasn’t been asked yet. The fall of the 11th. Wonder how long they are going to drag it out.


  • Moodyalex12

    Doctor WHO! Doctor WHO! DOCTOR WHO! I would imagine that his own name is the question because the doctor has and always will be time itself. But that’s just a theory of mine.

  • Vladek

    oldest question, Will you have sex with me?” or “Can we have sex?” lmao

  • Elizabeth Sunset

    the question is “WHO IS THE DOCTOR?”

    • Doctor Who?

      Wow, let me guess, you said that confidently because, like all the rest of us, since this blog post was written, you have seen the finale of the last season, “The Wedding of River Song.” And so you now know what the question is, the same as everyone else here.

      So the only question that remains to be asked is: why did you post a comment offering information everyone now has, without reading the comments first, which would have made it obvious that you are not telling us anything we do not now already know? I would seriously love to hear back from you and know what leads someone to write a comment like yours on a comment thread like this one.

      • codeXenigma

        we haven’t seen the question being asked.. its implied its doctor who, bc he travels all over time and is well known.. tho oswin deleted his history from the daleks memory and river was clearded of murder as the doctor had also dissappeared from the history books.. so its an open question.. we still don’t know, nothing has been revealed, just lots of guesses?? lol the show will let us know when they r good and ready

  • Sojo_9_

    The doc never told river song his name he said look into my eye

  • The Doctor

    the question is Doctor Who

    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Everyone know what the question is now. Why do people keep coming to this old post trying to look smart and instead making themselves look like ignoramuses? I just do not get it. Do people not look at the date when posts were written?!

      Sojo_9, at some point the Doctor tells River his name, since she whispers it to him the first time they meet.

      • http://twitter.com/Arwen8Aragorn Arwen8Aragorn

        Perhaps it merely means she was with him on the Fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no creature can speak falsely or fail to answer and heard the answer.

  • Paraselsu

    My guess: “Is this the end?”

  • pau potter

    what was first? the chicken or the egg?

  • McPattyPat

    the daleks raise the question in Asylum of the Daleks. Doctor Who? Doctor Who? Doctor Who?

  • sdvgfd


  • Matt

    The beheaded guy in the box is Dorium Malovar, beheaded by the monks at Demons Run. Episode: A Good Man Goes To War, Series 6.

    • epiccoolguy

      no stfu fagit nerd ur stupid

      • Matt

        Who let this guy in? Fagit:

        An incorrect spelling of the word “faggot” that is often used by illiterate bastards

        Wow, good job. Good. Job.

        • ThatAnnoyingTroll3212

          LOL epic

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            I normally delete troll spam of that sort, but I think this time I will leave it together with the responses of Whovians dealing with the troll in admirable Dalek-inspired fashion! :-)

      • The Doctor and Derpy Hooves

        Lol, epic is stupid.

      • Dalek


        • Cyberman


      • Lovestruck Derpy

        Lol, so pathetic.

        • ThePonyDoctor

          Yes, Miss Hooves, I do believe I have never seen a life-form so, ill-developed.

  • epiccoolguy


    • Matt

      Wow, this guy must be like 10 or something………..

    • TheTARDIS

      LOL, epic is so stupid.

    • Discorded Doctor

      Meh, I don’t care about the measly little pimp. I say we torture it and let it BEGGGG for mercy.

  • RandomBronyWhovian

    What if he doesn’t want anyone to know his name because its embarrassing?

  • epiccoolguy

    timelords sucks

    • Doctor

      Shut up you dalek.

      • The Master

        Even I have to agree with my worst enemy. 😛

        • The Monk

          I’m a Timelord soo.. I agree with him.

  • codeXenigma

    the oldest question is ‘know thyself?’ it was found written on a temple door in philosopher greece. but because time is always changing so does the answer ^.~

  • http://horcrux-x.tumblr.com/ Cássio Rocha

    Doctor WHO? Doctor WHO?
    Serious, I love this question.
    Everyone is tired of me asking: “What is the oldest question of the Universo? Doctor WHO???”
    LOVE Y’ALL, UNITED KINGDOM, you’ve nice TV’s shows.

  • http://horcrux-x.tumblr.com/ Cássio Rocha

    Madness o/

  • riycou

    The Question is Who is the doctor.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Would you kindly explain why you would leave a comment stating the obvious on a post written before the episode in question aired? Why not discuss something relevant to what fans of the show are now talking about? Why post old news as though it were something new and exciting that you had come up with through your own insight?

      • http://caveat1ector.wordpress.com/ Hydroxonium

        Not so obvious for lazy Doctor Who (?pseudo-) fans like me!

  • Adakus

    We all speculate that the question is “Who?”, but what if the question is not “Who” but “When”. knowing who is all fine a dandy but when is the main thing my friends, think about it, would you rather know who is going to kill you or when is it going to happen. If you know who then you will always watch your back, but if you know when you will only be looking around on that one day. Maybe the question isn’t “Who” but “When”. “Silence will fall when the question is asked” what if the question isn’t “Doctor Who” but its “When will the doctor die” because on that day there will be nothing stopping the “silence”. But you know that’s just my 2 cents probably all wrong haha.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.haessler Dan Haessler

    The silence are trying to prevent him from being present when the question is asked. THEY DON’T WANT THE ANSWER YOU MORON. If your going to put up nonsensical crap like this at least do your research. Silence will fall when the question is asked. As in “The Silence” And since nobody can answer falsely, or fail to answer, everyone on the fields of Trensalor will answer with the Doctor’s true name.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I’m guessing that you didn’t bother to look and see when this post was written. It seems pretty ridiculous to insult people for speculations they engaged in before certain episodes aired, when they now obviously know at least as much about the subsequent developments as you do.

      Seriously, why do people write comments like this on old posts? Do they not realize how utterly foolish they make themselves seem?

  • Trololol

    Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

  • PhoenixGamer

    Its Doctor Who. Dr. Who is NOT tolerated.

  • http://thiskittenhasklaws.wordpress.com/ Catherine Dream

    I love me some Silence.

  • Ephie I-chewie Choinski

    I read a lot of this thread and still think, yes to this answer. Is there anybody out there? quoting floyd lol BUT all along with the how are we here? and are we alone? and the whole conciousnes of ourselves.. AH my mind will blow up if i think on this too much