On Learning and the Quest for Questions

I’m gonna start this out ambitiously: The biggest problem that we face as academics and people trying to live responsibly is that we ask the wrong questions. What is more, we answer the wrong questions, and exert considerable energy doing so.

How we define “learning” factors into this equation considerably. We define “learning” as the collection of information, the assimilation of facts. If we are good at it, we may even delve into depicting what that information or those facts mean. The problem with this is our point of departure.

Our point of departure most consistently is one of myopic personal comfort or pleasure. We ask our questions seeking justification for some action or inaction of ours. This is what I mean by saying we as the wrong questions.

So let me propose this: Education should be learning how to ask the right questions. Teaching should not be the eschewal of knowledge and facts (embodied or otherwise), but explaining why asking the right questions will reveal so much more than answering the wrong ones.

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