Do you judge a person by his questions or his answers?

This question was prompted by Voltaire’s “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”
But it was also prompted by the book I am reading just now, A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. Click on the link to read the FIRST LINES from the book to get an idea about its content.

Its an interesting book. And as expected prompting more questions than answers, and making me bold about asking ones of my own.

The author, Warren Berger quotes Joi Ito of MIT’s Media Lab saying “You don’t learn unless you question”.
And it matters how we question. We are likely to get different answers depending on whether we frame our questions as open ended ones or close ended ones.

Here’s some mind food on questions and questioning:

“Questions are infinitely superior to answers.”
~Dan Sullivan

* * *

“To get answers of life, ask questions”
~Sukant Ratnakar, Open the Windows

* * *

“Indeed, the only truly serious questions are ones that even a child can formulate. Only the most naive of questions are truly serious. They are the questions with no answers. A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limit of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.”
~Milan Kundera in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

* * *

“At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.”
~Leo Babauta

* * *

“Which would you rather be if you had the choice–divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?”
~L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables

* * *

“The most important questions in life can never be answered by anyone except oneself.”
~John Fowles in The Magus

* * *

“To ask the ‘right’ question is far more important than to receive the answer. The solution of a problem lies in the understanding of the problem; the answer is not outside the problem, it is in the problem.”
~Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Flight of the Eagle

* * *

“An empowered life begins with serious personal questions about oneself. Those answers bare the seeds of success.”
~Steve Maraboli in Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

* * *

“The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.”
~Claude Lévi-Strauss

* * *

“How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round?
Probably half the questions we ask-half our great theological and metaphysical problems-are like that.”
~C.S. Lewis

* * *

“No where in ‘humpty dumpty’ did it say he was an egg. Maybe your inability to think outside of what others have taught you is what’s keeping you from putting him together again.”
― Darnell Lamont Walker

Now ask yourself this: Why are questions infinitely better than answers? Why do questions feel like open doors while answers feel like closed ones?

Happy questioning!

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Close down the R&D Division

You don’t think its a good idea? Okay. Remember this then:

“Children are the research and development division of the human species”
~Psychologist Alison Gopnik

Don’t send your kids to a preschool where teaching is the priority.

Kids should be allowed to explore and experiment and ask questions in preschool, not burdened with instruction. teaching things too early is harmful for their natural development and future progress.

Just like closing down the R&D division. Only short-sighted companies do that, right?

This move towards teaching too early comes from two things: Parental pressure (why aren’t they teaching my kids stuff?) and government policy towards more structured instruction.

In Sri Lanka, where the government schools do not expect kids to enter grade one knowing their alphabet and counting, too much teaching comes from over zealous parents demanding preschools to teach stuff… and preschools who actually listen to the parents and their ignorant requests.

Why is the sky blue?

Image

I got into this while reading a book. Figured I’ll have to explain this one pretty soon, so thought I might as well be prepared. the book, A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, provides an explanation. Here’s my version of it.

Science of why the sky is blue:

a) White light we see is composed of various colours. refraction experiments. Think prisms and rainbows.

b) But why blue and not other colours? Why does more blue light get refracted into our eyes than other colours?
Blue light scatters more due to gas molecules in the air.

c) Our eyes are also more sensitive to blue…

So the next time your child asks you why the sky is blue, now you know.

Good luck figuring out how to say this simply…

 

 

RandomLines 2

Here are four more lines from books within easy reach…

When all is said, perhaps their happiest legacy is the ‘Baila’ dance and song; pleasant to think it was the creation of Portuguese slavery.
~Norah Roberts in Galle As Quiet As Asleep

By a process called reverberation, a memory corresponds to the strengthening of connections from an increase of brain activity in a given sector of the brain–the more activity, the stronger the memory.
~Nassim Nicholas Taleb in The Black Swan

As one of my learned friends is fond of commenting – sitting in the top floor of the ivory tower, the sea always looks calm – it is only when you are battling the waves in a dinghy when you realize the actual situation.
~Vivek Sood in The 5 Star Business Network

The beli fruit (Aegle marmellos; vilvam T; bael E) is a rare example of the same medicinal agent serving diametrically opposite ends under different conditions.
~C.G. Uragoda in Traditions of Sri Lanka: A Selection with a Scientific Background

RandomLines 1

When I was studying for CIMA, my best friend at the time and I had a silly game. We’d pick a random sentence of a book and try to use it all the time. The best one we came up with was:

I am positively amazed by your persistence of this absurd notion.

I have no idea what book it came from, but I used it all the time and it was cool. This gave me the idea to pull out random books from my bookshelf and do the same, this time by myself. I guess RandomLines is a natural progression from BookChapters and FIRST LINES in both Mindculture’s Blog and at BusinessTrainerSriLanka blog.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here are the first results in the series:

Snoopy is the one character in the strip allowed to kiss, and he kisses the way a child does: sincerely, and to disarm.
~David Michaelis in Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography

One way to bring this about is to organize congressional watchdog groups (CWDs) to monitor each of the 435 districts across the country—to lobby all members of Congress on behalf of their constituents, on behalf of an agenda supported by a majority of Americans.
~Ralph Nader in The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future

Whenever the LTTE was on the back foot, they would try to make a comeback with a devastating attack elsewhere.
~C.A. Chandraprema in Gota’s War: The Crushing of Tamil Tiger Terrorism in Sri Lanka

When foreigners first came to China in large numbers in the 1970s, many were impressed by the ‘moral cleanliness of the society: a discarded sock would follow its owner a thousand miles from Peking to Guangzhou, cleaned and folded and placed in his hotel room.
~Jung Chang in Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

More lines from Light of the Hearth

ADDeSilva

ADDeSilva

A few more lines from the poetry collection, Light of the Hearth

By Ivan Savelyev | Translated by Walter May.

From your first song until your farewell song

There stretches in between a long stern road.

Here trickling like a ringing springtime stream,

And there like some broad-bosomed river it flows.

 

And in its waters, deep and pure and clear,

Like sand-bank islands, failures will sink and cease,

And out will blaze above the shining space

The lighthouse beams of mighty victories.

 

For all your previous disappointed hopes,

For all your losses, and for all distress,

They will light up for you your entire road–

Remember, and observe, and go ahead!

 

And may be here’s the wonder of constancy,

The marvel of loyalty which does not die out,–

That to your dream you’ll go, and not lose heart,

And not for even a moment will you doubt.

 

And maybe in such action lies our goal,

And even the primary purpose

Of life, let’s say:

To discover in your self an exalted song,

And not to betray it then in any way.

English Translation © Raduga Publications 1987

Light of the Hearth

By ADDesilva

By ADDesilva

A few lines from the poetry collection, Light of the Hearth

By Ivan Savelyev

The poems were translated by Walter May.

At any and every time of the year,

Whatever the dream I live at that hour,

With nature’s voice in harmony here

Is the tuning of my emotional power.

 

So near to me her tears, her hurts,

So heavy her grief and loss again,

That when they hack a branch from a birch

In my own arms I feel the pain.

 

*    *    *

 

No, the heavens are surely never blind,

And the earth can surely not lack sight.

Grasses deaf from birth you will not find.

Rivers without hearing would not be right.

 

It is we, the sons of heaven and earth,

Finding ourselves not all at once, I fear,

On the millennia’s steep road struggling forth,

Who are slowly learning to see and hear…