Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Any Questions?

(Photo credit: Geralt/Pixabay)
"Every answer given on principle of experience begets a fresh question." - Immanuel Kant 
As an educator, I love questions. I love seeking knowledge. I question solid answers. I question those who seem to be dug so far into their convictions that they see only their truth and are not open to experiencing another side or possible answer. I respect a person defending their position, but red flags go up for me when a person is so behind their beliefs that nothing else matters. When innovation is limited because we see only what we want to see.

While reading Annie Duke's new book Thinking In Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts, I came upon the work of Dr. Stuart Firestein, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. Dr. Firestein shares his perspective that knowledge really propagates more questions.

When we pursue a situation from, as Dr. Firestein says, "what you can ask about it" instead of "how much you know about it," you open up a whole new world for consideration. You are now using your knowledge in pursuit of more knowledge.

This is the same approach that I use to manage the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program social media platforms. I share knowledge and let our followers provide perspectives. I am not soliciting a specific answer nor do I subscribe to every response received. However, I read as many comments as I can and occasionally ask questions or pose challenges to encourage a growth mindset. I believe that a growth mindset enhances our self-development.

Which of the following do you believe:
  • Knowledge → Facts
  • Knowledge → Questions
Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging a Little Deeper
  •  Watch Stuart Firestein's TedTalk "The Pursuit of Ignorance." 
  • Want to dig even further into Dr. Firestein's work, read his book Ignorance: How It Drives Science.
  • Read our earlier blog on questions begetting questions: More Questions Than Answers.

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