Wait, wait, wait. Hold on. Maybe we are going about this all wrong. Smh.
Is life about answers or questions? Answers! Right? We want to know what our purpose is. Why we are here. The answer to the eternal question: “What is the meaning of life?”!
Or, maybe not.
Shunryu Suzuki said that “in the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few”. We go to grade school and colleges to be experts. We hone our skills at a single thing. Definite in our purpose. This is it! I will be a ________ and live happily ever after.
Or, maybe not.
This brings up an interesting argument. If someone “finds their purpose”, have they sort of reached an end? The short answer is that I don’t know.
I’m in the middle of the book “A More Beautiful Question” by Warren Berger. He provides example after example of innovation created out of asking a simple question, which usually goes something like “how can I do this better?”. The question is never “how can THEY do it better” as this is a path to nowhere. A circular argument (i.e. don’t outsource the problem, ask a better question).
“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers” – Anthony Robbins
Answers are a commodity which are bought and sold. And they are in abundance! . Why should we send kids to school to be excellent answerers? Famously, when Albert Einstein was asked by a reporter what was his phone number, he quickly proceeded to the nearest phone book to find the answer. The interviewer asked how a man so smart could not remember his phone number, to which he replied “why would I memorize something that is so readily available”. I have jumbled the quote, but the point is made. Does this sound like anything we know? I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with “Shmoogle”.
An entire Ivy League degree can be learned online. So what is the point of an expert? Have you ever noticed that in order to get the best answer from Google, the question you ask it is undeniably intertwined with the result that is produced. If you type “what is evolution” into a search, you will receive definitions and examples. But if what you really wanted to know was about the argument for (or against) evolution being taught in public schools, your query better be more specific.
So why teach for answers? Why not teach for questions?
- the retention of juvenile features in the adult animal
We need bold question askers! When we were 4 years old, we asked a billion questions. Now at 44, we just ask for the bill.