Sunday, October 15, 2006

Questions as a way to discover and change the World

Questions are a way of obtaining knowledge. Being a person with a wide range of more or less shallow knowledge rather than a very specialist expertise in one field (i.e. a generalist) questions are ideal for me to find out things about other people and learn from them. I get to engage people in a conversation and learn from them at the same time. However, humility is a crucial condition for this to work out of course. Pride prevents you from asking questions and learning from others. Acquiring knowledge by asking questions also requires one to be a peace with oneself and the world. If one is not at peace but feels the urge to assert oneself over ones surrounding - for example by telling others how something works, rather than asking them about it - then it is very hard to find good questions to ask and to be successful in learning this way.

Asking questions is also a very important trait for working in community development as I want to do. The danger for community development is to approach it like a teacher - to lecture people about what one thinks is the right way to run a community and then be surprised about the lack of enthusiasm. What should rather happen is that one enables a community to realise its potential and maybe go a bit beyond that. Asking questions to the members of a community is a crucial way to explore their perception of reality. At the same time, the process of thinking about the question might increase the consciousness about the reality around us. That opening can then be used to engage people more in their community and to increase overall community participation.

Therefore, I have to learn to ask the right questions and not being afraid of asking them.

1 comment:

Kalin said...

But... but-but... you never asked a question, Friend!

(Wait ... that last sentence, with the exclamation mark ... does it count as one? :DDD)

Have you ever read this? There's quite something on active listening there, that old, old love of mine. And if it's not enough - I'm here to listen. What is it you'd like to know? :)

(Except when I'm not, of course. But that, too, requires questioning...)