I Wonder If You Can

I Wonder If You Can

Think about any random man-made problem that the world faces; financial meltdowns, corruption, greed, poverty. Also, inequalities, ethnic violence, crimes against women and children, “man-made” natural disasters, and so on.

Wouldn’t it be easy even to just grasp the magnitude of these problems if they all had just one or a few common causes? And simple causes too? Then just preventing those causes would cause miracles. If only life was that obvious.

No, I haven’t been drinking (or just blabbering). In an endeavor to find simple answers to problems, after much brooding, I have concluded that most of these man-made troubles have two common causes or roots. Yeah, just two.

They are, Perspective and Imagination [the lack of both, I mean].

Imagination is the faculty or action of forming new ideas, concepts, etc., of external objects not present to the senses. Perspective, simply put, is a point of view.

Putting it into simpler examples, say you’re waiting patiently behind the wheel, say fifth in line at a signal light. Another vehicle, drives past you in the wrong lane, and as the light turns green, tries squeezing into your lane, increasing the chance of you missing the light. You’d get pissed, right? Now imagine another situation where you are with friends, it’s Saturday night, and you’re late for a party. Taking all desperate measures to reach sooner, you find yourself revving away in the wrong lane, hoping to cut your way through the fleet of cars waiting at the light. That would surely tick off some drivers around you, right? That’s about perspective. You identifying wrong when you are being wronged, but you choosing to ignore wrong when you aren’t affected (or rather, when you are benefited) by it at someone else’s expense.

Perspective 2

image: link

There are situations where perspective may not work. Because ‘perspective’ requires two or more people to be involved in the same or similar/related situations. For instance, you may have been born into a comfortable middle-class household. You wouldn’t have the faintest clue about what it is to stand in long queues merely to collect water for home. Or about what it is to wait in line to use a common bathroom. When employers haggle regarding employee salaries, in their defense, they might not have the right perspective. They might not be able to perceive employee standard of living, their hardships, etc. That’s where imagination comes in. What you don’t have much clue about something, you need to discuss, probe, get more information. And then create an image to better understand another’s perspective.

Imagination

image: link

If people could imagine or have perspectives on the implications or repercussions of their actions on other individuals, they would most likely not do something wrong. Because, they’d be able to imagine what being at the receiving end of their inequality or injustice would be like.

[Imagine – Lennon]

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Question the Question

Question the Question

Here’s a thought.. And I welcome your thoughts in return..

Back when I was in the ninth standard/grade in school, while I wasn’t too bright in studies. With the exception of Math and Physics. In those two, I was competing for between the 6th and 9th position in class. They weren’t subjects I had to study or know. It just somehow came logically.

Feeling comfortably confident while preparing for a Physics exam, I got thinking about the kind of questions I would have asked, had I got a chance to set the paper. I did manage to frame quite a few interesting and not-so-direct questions. I was glad that I also managed to answer my tricky questions.

Then something struck.

It dawned on me that it isn’t very easy to frame intelligent questions. And that I wouldn’t have been able to do so had I not known the subject well. Considering I hadn’t had similar luck with a lot of other subjects at the time or even later.

Voltaire knew what he was saying when he urged us all to “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

book question mark

image: wizrocklopedia

The way I see it, all of us are trying to be experts at one or more things. Which is a good thing. But we aren’t experts when we think we know the answers. We become experts whenever we frame the right questions. It is because questions set us on the right course. Answers, on the other hand are abundant and commonplace. Most importantly, answers frequently change too. Hence the importance on questions.

Don’t believe me, ask someone for their views on a topic or question close to your heart. With the limited information you give them, you’d be amazed at all the confident advice you receive. But if they’re not initially replying to your question with some intelligent questions of their own, you can safely assume one of two things: either they’re experts and have done some thinking around that space recently; or they haven’t a clue.

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Look forward to your views. And if you liked this one, consider following/subscribing to my blog (top right of the page). You can also connect with me on LinkedIn and on Twitter.