Questions and Ignorance

Questions and Ignorance. Questions and Ignorance — From the archives of John Lienhard’s Engines of Our Ingenuity radio show…

“I’m pretty sure that the only real function of a teacher is to guide students in asking and pursuing questions. Once a student develops the rare talent for seeking his or her own ignorance, teachers become irrelevant. But it’s hard to look at your own ignorance. And it’s not easy to ask a true question. It feels like humiliation.”

But a little humiliation is worth it to find the bliss within your ignorance. Since “Knowledge…flows to the point of greatest ignorance.”, it’s the real questions that break the dams impeding that flow. As a result, it behooves teams and organizations to both solicit and embrace them. [Frank Patrick’s Focused Performance Blog]

I also think that good teachers are those who give you permission and safety to not know. Here’s a tidbit I heard on Car Talk this morning that’s relevant.

I fully realize that I have not succeeded in answering all of your questions. . .Indeed, I feel I have not answered any of them completely. The answers I have found only serve to raise a whole new set of questions, which only lead to more problems, some of which we weren t even aware were problems. To sum it all up . . . In some ways I feel we are confused as ever, but I believe we are confused on a higher level, and about more important things.