Endless questions

I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.

Richard Feynman

Question everything! First and foremost, question your own assumptions, preconceptions and prejudices. After that, question everything else. Question everything endlessly. There is always another question that can be asked. There is no such thing as the final question. There is no such thing as the ultimate answer. Even if there might be, how would it be identified? How could you know that you’d found the ultimate answer? There is always the question of whether it really is the ultimate answer.

Answers are chosen. We don’t so much find the answers as stop asking questions. We select the answer when we decide to stop asking questions. The qualities of truth and correctness are not inherent properties of the answer but a function of the thoroughness of the questioning and the validity of our reasons for stopping questioning. The satisfying answer is not the one we are comfortable with but the one that makes us uncomfortable. Being comfortable with an answer can never be a sufficient reason for stopping questioning. At the very least, we should not be satisfied with an answer until we have asked the questions which, if answered honestly, have the potential to return discomfiting answers.

The quest for truth is noble. But life is not put on hold while that quest continues. Mostly, therefore, we are not asking whether something is true, but whether it is true enough for the present and present purposes. Life does not proceed by confidently striding along a path paved with discovered truths but as a series of stumbles from one best guess to the next. We live well if we ensure our guesses are as informed as they can be. We do this by interrogating those guesses. By asking questions.

Among the most crucial question we must ask is whether the questions we are asking are the right questions. As in the questions most likely to help us make better guesses. Are they the questions most likely to help inform our guesses? Or are they the questions others want us to accept as appropriate and sufficient?

If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.

Thomas Pynchon

On approaching any issue, do so saying “I have questions!”. Say this even if you haven’t yet have thought of the questions. You will, if you think at all. There is nothing which cannot be questioned. There are always questions. Question everything.

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