“Questions you cannot answer are usually far better for you than answers you cannot question” ( Yuval Noah Harari: 21 lessons for the 21st century. p207)
Children like to ask big questions that flummox us: Where do people go when they die? Why Is the sea salty? Why do we dream?
It’s tough growing up in the 21st century. In fact, it’s just as tough being a grown -up in the 21st Century. It’s the Information Age, so we are supposed to know an awful lot of stuff.
It can all be a bit much on any given day. We become cognitively crowded, with minds like overloaded trucks on a busy highway – we pack everything in haphazardly, and then we unpack quickly because there is too much to arrange everything delicately. Or bits we thought we had stored safely have fallen off along the way. And we didn’t notice the stragglers we picked up on the way; fake news, illogical arguments and self-absorbed stories.
We lose the beautiful space of not knowing, and marvelling at being able to wonder, and sit comfortably with the endless possibilities that lie in our uncertainty. And our children stop asking impossible questions about the universe, and settle for short answers to ‘right-or-wrong’ questions.
We seldom say: ‘ I don’t know the answer to that big question, but I would like to think about it for a while.’ It, in fact, becomes more difficult to actually even think of a big question that has no answer.
So perhaps try to ask a child you know, or even just your inner child, what big question they would like to ask, and then just enjoy the amazing capacity to be clueless., Curious cluelessness as opposed to crammed convictions might be just what we need more of in 2019.
Have a curious New Year.