The Secret Is In The Questions We Allow Ourselves To Ask
An Old Notebook
I found an old notebook with scribbled thoughts that looked but weren’t random. They were notes I had taken after having dinner with a friend when we had hardly turned 20. There were intriguing concepts, poignant ideas and uncomfortable questions. Everything was argued and backed by the little philosophy and history we knew at the time. The most shocking aspect of the discovery was our wondering if we would be able to formulate the same level of abstract pondering now.
It’s The Quantity, Not The Quality
I feel I am much more knowledgeable than I was back then. However, while I feel sharper in much of my inquiring, I cannot deny I have also grown blunter in my perception. I keep tabs on my mental faculties daily, and I exert my brain more these days than I did then, so I don’t think atrophy is at play here. Instead, I find it is the quantity, not the quality, of my questions that has decreased significantly over the past decade and a half.
Fertile Minds, Blank Maps And Hidden Traps
Around the time we come of age, if our parents and educators have bolstered our curiosity or at least allowed it to be, we probably have a less formed opinion on how the world works. I see it as having a map with detailed topography at its centre that gradually becomes blurry on its sides. A map that claims there is something out there while not telling us what it invites us to explore further. Likewise, unformed opinions are fertile terrain for interesting questions. The moment we start getting answers, we fall into the trap of granting them more importance than the questions that brought them to us in the first place. The more certain we are about our perception of reality, the less prone we are to examine it.
An Old Fallacy
Subsequently, we will encounter the fallacy that age implies wisdom. Our thoughts and ideas settle, and our beliefs and ideologies solidify, all supported by this false notion that age alone makes us wiser. There is hardly a better way to be convinced of anything than ceasing to question it. This is when some adults will look down on…