Three reasons why questions are important for human life
I like questions. Don’t worry, this isn’t another worn out tribute to the “journey for understanding” vis-à-vis actually understanding something. Neither is it an endorsement of the statements posing as questions that suffocate contemporary debates about…well everything.
Look at these questions from our greatest Teacher. Read them slowly, one at a time–look at how much unpacking and practical knowledge is involved in even analyzing the implications of each one, let alone answering it:
Where is your brother?
Why is your heart inclined to evil?
Have you not read the scriptures?
But what about you? Who do you say that I am?
To be a little simpler and Internet-friendly, here are three reasons why we like questions:
1. They Tend Toward Spontaneity
Contrary to what you learned in law school, the best questions are the ones you don’t know the answers to. Ignorance lets conversation flow from an upcoming wedding to the ways gender might determine the influence of myth and story on decision-making. For further insights into why we’re bully for the unplanned, please see Mr. Brown’s recent article.
2. They’re Communal
Try as they might, automatic garage door openers can’t change the basic fact that we are not alone. Life is best when we’re forced to share it. We need others and otherness to even have a chance at contentment. The best questions acknowledge the distinctness of an other and attempt to sympathize with and share in it.
3. They’re Lasting
The world of today has never existed until now. True, but still there is nothing new under the sun, and human nature is what it has always been. Good questions are much better than statements at working within this paradox. Like any adept leader, they anticipate man’s selfish tendency and concentrate his noblest sentiments on the essence of the topic at hand. Peripheral issues of time and place don’t become irrelevant, but they almost answer themselves.
We like questions, or at least we like good ones, for the same reasons we like walking to work, and wine, and Facebook (well, most of us like Facebook), and generally anything with dust on it. They’re life giving.