The Art of - Questioning
Updated: Oct 15, 2020
"Could it be that questions tell us more
Than answers ever do?"
- Michael Card
I believe every action, every reaction, every thought can be a form of an Art. After my first blog on the Art of Being Adaptable, here are my thoughts on another interesting form of art, The Art of Questioning.
What, Why, How, When, Where, these questions are the foundations of human intelligence that stem from the encrypted curiosity and puts us at the top of the food chain.
Science has been the result of constantly doubting existing knowledge. The human civilization as we see it today is essentially the result of it. In fact, in the 17th century, Rene Descartes popularized Cartesian Doubt. It is a form of methodological skepticism that encourages scrutiny of all knowledge to sort the truth from false.
But are we continually doing so?
As children we are exposed to societal norms and boxed thought processes. 'Right', 'Wrong', 'Ugly', 'Beautiful', 'Sin', 'God' 'Good', 'Bad'. We are made to believe by our early educators that these ideologies, these systemic beliefs are to be accepted. Its how our civilization has grown, assessments and opinions percolated down to generations, so as they have become undisputable. To be a part of this civilization you must be a believer not a rebel.
Hence as we grow older our capacity to be curious is drastically reduced. The Mental inertia inhibits our ability to question certain aspects as it is deemed by our minds as an existential truth.
To emphasize, I would like to share two experiences,
one from my professional and the other from my personal life.
During my corporate stint, I often heard "No question is a bad question", subtly trying to encourage people to ask questions, 'the right questions'! Ironically, 'any' question but it must be the 'right' question. However, it still did not encourage many people, including myself, to dive in and raise doubts. The sole underlying reason, once again fear! Fear of being judged, fear based on assumption of revealing ignorance or lack of knowledge and that presumption is based on mental inertia.
"The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing"
Another conversation relevant to this topic was with my daughter when she asked me "Mommy, why is Rose called a Rose?". A fairly basic question, at face value, after seeing a Rose for the 100th time. I simply replied that its derived from Latin. To which she reiterated' "But why Rose, why not Lion?" Honestly, I did not know how to answer it, I had never thought of questioning it.
After all its the questions arising from curiosity and imagination that have led to creativity, lateral thinking, and most of all the wonderful inventions of our civilization. The basic things taken for granted today are the answers to the questions that probably arose from inquisitiveness.
With the advent of digital technologies, we have the answers even before we can think of the questions. Resulting in the newer generations not being inclined to questioning. When need arises or when questioned, there is a one-stop shop for all the answers, GOOGLE or for that matter any search engine. We are raising a generation of kids who are curious to find answers but have not been tutored to question or to doubt the existing.
Learning is not only about listening or reading but also about questioning.