What does it take to question something? Is it power? Is it curiosity? Is it spite? Is it desperation? When a child asks a question, it's more often than not out of curiosity. However, the fast-paced world of jobs, and profession, and career, and commerce – in short, the world of today – leaves very little time to pursue your curiosity. Also, due to the mindless and ruthless competitiveness of the system, questioning tends to be perceived, in an incomplete way, as an act of rebellion. Is our society coming in the way of our right to question? Has the education system distorted the meaning of ‘questioning’ and ‘curiosity’? It's great to be curious as to when the Second World War began. But it's far more important (and a sign of intelligence) to ask, ‘Why did we have a Second World War? Didn't we learn anything about the evils of war from the first one?’ The right answer is just the right question away. Are we asking enough questions? Or are we killing the natural curiosity in us? Here are three false ideas that could be killing the art of questioning in you:
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Questioning is all about challenging status quo
If you think questioning is all about revolting, you have been misguided. The primary motivator for questioning should ideally be curiosity. The quality of your questions is the measure of the health of your observational capacity. It is important to find the reasons behind the actions of those who you find it difficult to agree with than to just question their actions. Questioning their reasons leads us to the causal factors that create the many problems of our times, and make it easy to resolve differences and truly unite with one another. In a utopian world, questioning will bring people together rather than divide them further apart from themselves and one another.
‘I don't question. I'm diplomatic’
If you think questioning is inviting unnecessary trouble, you are probably not putting your inborn courage to good use. The more we avoid questioning in the name of diplomacy, the mightier will confusion rule over our heads. Questioning need not always be rude. It can very well be an earnest appeal to find peace and harmony, to clear confusion, and improve collaboration. It could even be a much-needed sign for people to slow down, ponder over their actions and do course correction. If your diplomacy breeds injustice, or corruption, or inequality, you are as guilty as those perpetrating such acts directly through their actions. It’s imperative to remember that you extend your support through your inaction, your silence, and your abstinence from exercising your power to question.
You need to speak to question
Questioning is an integral part of introspection. An average four-year-old asks over four hundred questions a day. Some say that it is a myth, stating that a four-year old does not have enough time to ask so many questions in a day. Such irresponsible debunkers only consider the questions the child asks the people present around, and conveniently discard the very many questions ever popping in the child's curious mind.
The quality of the questions that we ask ourselves in silence will determine the quality of interactions and our experiences, both professional and personal. The ability to question is our weapon to guard ourselves from ignorance. Ignorance is bliss. But its outcome is not.