Thursday, September 15, 2011

i-TFTD #340: On Seeking Answers

#340-1. The wrong answer sometimes is the right one in search of a different question.
-Bruce Mau, designer

#340-2. If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease.
-Sen-ts’an, 8th century Chinese Zen master

#340-3. The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.
-Leo Tolstoy, author (1828-1910)

(Thanks to K. Shailesh for sharing this.)

Our logical, analytical mind tends to jump to finding the r! ight answer on encountering a question. We have trained that ability of the brain throughout the formative years. Any answer on offer, if not judged to be the right one, is wrong. Real-life situations involving real people with real feelings and irrational emotions have a way of disproving this fundamental belief in the single right answer. The question may be framed incorrectly or there could be more important ones underlying the asked question. This is why our creative thinking needs rekindling, and techniques are used for this.

Of course, the binary mode of thinking pervades all aspects of life. The month of August 2011 almost seemed to force every Indian to announce whether he or she is “for Anna (Hazare)” or “against Anna”. Maybe someone was supportive of one of the suggestions made by the activist and against some of the other suggestions. Nor could it be taken to imply that the person is supportive of the Indian Government who spectacularly mishandled it. Yes, there are important matters, especially concerning our values, when we have to take a clear stand but the complexity and dimensions could indicate deferment of judgment, more data gathering or discussing specifics rather than a simple Yes/No vote.

Such kind of advice would only help those who have not already made up their minds about making up their minds.

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