Wednesday 14 June 2023

Thought Picnic: On the art of asking questions

Asking without relenting

Sometimes, inquisitiveness is the trait people least admire about us, then it might not be the fact that one is inquisitive but that the way we put our questions puts the backs of others up.

Through life we begin to understand that not all questions have answers or have the convincing answers necessary for us to move on to something else. In resignation, one might just leave a question looming in the quest for a better form of words to phrase intent to obtain the desired outcome.

Asking with some talent

The ability to ask questions that produce results is more an art than a science, there is something to do with phrasing and framing, contextualizing and limiting the scope to digress, though in obtaining answers one might be regaled with much more than was asked for, to make the point clearer and better, even if unexpected.

We find that in computing, the ability to get good search results depends on the search phrase, even so with the Artificial Intelligence craze that has occupied us in the last 6 months, that art of questioning is called prompting, we begin to descend into jargon territory just trying to get the best answers to our strangest questions.

Asking without regret

Obviously, there are questions we would rather not hear or have to address, too many of which can be negatively impactful on the participants involved in that inquiry. These are a range of thoughts that crept into my mind, of which the exploration should be one of considered introspection than of public expression.

The question then becomes whether the right question has been asked or the question has been phrased to confirm a bias rather elicit an objective response. On those questions we ponder on the existential and the ephemeral, the eternal and the ethereal, along with every other thing that brings some satisfaction to the quest for knowledge or assurance. The art would never go out of fashion.

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