Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Answers to Life’s Questions

I have always liked what Anonymous has written. Maybe you have read one of her poignant poems or been caught on the rhyme of some prose she penned. I found another bit of intelligence for your life (can any say I am tired of John Tesh) written by Anonymous that I include in a moment.

I have always enjoyed the exchanged of ideas through rhetoric, discussion, and Socratic questioning. The most important thing I learned during my PhD studies at Auburn University was the value of the right question. Asking the right question remains the best strategy to get the right answer (I still don't know who said this first…). Socrates offered six types of queries you can use to deepen your understanding of your friend, boss, employee, or client/patient (as I often do in my therapy sessions). These 6 Types are can be used in a wide variety of situations and can even become a lens through which you view your world. When you do so, life is a bit clearer and you're a bit wiser. So think with me about each type and see how they are useful for you…

  1. First there are the Conceptual clarification questions
    1. Get them to think more about what exactly they are asking or thinking about. Prove the concepts behind their position. These are basic 'tell me more' questions that get them to go deeper. Why are you saying that? What exactly does this mean? How does this relate to what we have been talking about? Can you give me an example?
    2. Are you saying ... or ... ? Can you rephrase that, please?
  2. Second of all are the Probing assumptions questions
    1. Probing of assumptions makes them think about the presuppositions and unquestioned beliefs on which they are standing. Is this the only way to understand this problem? What else could we assume? You seem to be assuming ... ? How did you choose those assumptions?
  3. Third are the Probing rationale, reasons and evidence seeking questions
    1. People often use 'uncritical' or weakly understood reasons for their arguments. How do you know this? Show me ... ? Can you give me an example of that? What do you think causes ... ? What is the nature of this?
  4. Fourth are the Viewpoints and perspectives questionings
    1. Most people are stuck with a particular perspective that comes from a particular position. So my questions are used to show that there are other, equally valid, viewpoints. Questions to use are; Another way of looking at this is ..., does this seem reasonable? What alternative ways of looking at this are there? Why it is ... necessary? How could you look another way at this?
  5. Fifth are the Probing implications and consequence seeking questions
    1. Each position a person takes has some logical implications that can be guesstimated. Do these make sense? Are they desirable? Then what would happen? What are the consequences of that assumption?
  6. And last but not least are the Questions about the question
    1. These are some of my favorites because it allows me to be reflexive about whatever we are discussing. Questions like; what was the point of asking that question? Why do you think I asked this question? What does that mean?

Oh yes I did mention Anonymous earlier, she once said:

I fully realize that I failed to answer your questions completely and,

in fact, to answer some of them all.

The answers I have found only lead

to a new set of questions, some of which

we were not even aware were problems

in the first place.

To sum it up,

I believe that while we are confused as ever,

we are confused about greater and more important things.


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