Questions, Answers and Actions

Knowledge_key

Knowledge is the key. The question is, the key to what? After obtaining this proverbial key, where do we go? What good will it do? What will we uncover? It seems as though the more questions we ask, the more we learn and discover the world around us and the more we learn and discover, the more questions we ask, and so the cycle repeats. It’s a cycle of growth that allows us to uncover bits and pieces about the world we live in.

Looking_for_questions

After all that, I guess it becomes pretty obvious that questions and questioning the world around you is pretty important. Sure it’s essential to fundamental scientific breakthroughs and self-discovery, yet does all this questioning get you anywhere? Do these questions mean anything without answers? Does asking all these questions get you anywhere if you don’t act upon them? This is Hamlet’s predicament. He’s filled with questions, yet between all his questioning and philosophical thinking, there’s no action. Throughout the play he goes on THINKING about how Claudius murdered his father, he QUESTIONS his life and yet there’s not much ACTING upon his thoughts, no actions to implement the answers he feels are correct.

stand out, ask questions

I think a lot of us go through this as well. We wake up every morning, go to school, sit in class, and prepare our minds for a wealth of knowledge that could potentially mean nothing at all to us. Sometimes I wonder whether a lot of us actually learn through the current education system. Sure it works for some people (I certainly have no quarrels with it, though getting higher marks would be a nice) but do the majority of us students actually learn? Sure we ask questions in class and ponder different ideas and theories and laws, but once that bell rings or that exam is over, do you act upon the questions we asked? Do we actually search for answers to those newly discovered questions? Do we act upon those answers in hopes to make this world a better place? I think that is the question.

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9 responses to “Questions, Answers and Actions”

  1. melaniewhite2012 says :

    This clearly demonstrates critical thinking and your questions are so important. I often have the same questions, but I also think your comment about “getting higher marks would be nice” shows the current emphasis on marks over learning. Your comment about acting on the learning could not be more timely, and this exact issue was discussed on the news this morning. This is an excellent and thoughtful post!

  2. melaniewhite2012 says :

    Maryam,

    I love the poll! Can you show me and the class how to add it to our blogs this morning in class?

    See you soon, Mrs. White

  3. NoticedbyYou says :

    Hello Maryam,

    You make some great point on the meaning of knowledge. What is truth? It is a question that philosophers have been thinking since before even Socrates. It is not a question that can be answered, well after all, that is what philosophers do, they attempt to answer questions without an absolute answer. More to the topic of your post now, while I do believe that our thoughts, and actions everyday, like you stated, are sometimes irrelevant, education is however not. Us going to classes and learning knowledge is not simply a process of absorbing things. It is more crucially also a process of culturing and moral improvement, the utilitarian such as Mill or Hume stressed upon this greatly.
    More on Hamlet now. You criticize him of not taking any action which results in him not being able to prove and test his beliefs(such as his suspicion of Claudius). While this hesitancy is indeed his downfall, I believe that in a way it is reasonable and justified. After all, he only has one chance at killing Claudius and testing his theories. This need for certainty is very strong and seen throughout the play as the scene with the play shows. This will of course be a part of Hamlet’s downfall, but could he have done otherwise? We, the readers, think it is absolutely logical to just get over it and kill Claudius because we know for certain that he is the killer. Another article about this and its moral implications can be found on this article by your classmate that I have commented: http://littleamybigworld.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/hamlets-dilemma/

    Finally I must comment once again on your thoughts about education. It is indeed true that the way we are taught and the way we learn has decayed in a way. It is true that a well cultured mind is no longer produced in the classroom alone. In a way however we must understand that the ordinary people, like you wisely pointed out, will not actually think about those questions. It is simply a question of intellectual development. Take the 7 stages of moral development by Kohlberg, he himself state that most people are only at the third stage (the higher the stage is the higher one is moral). Nietzsche also mentions this problems by stating that society limits human creativity and truly great individuals from rising apart in his “On The Genealogy of Morals” and “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”. Very interesting post, it was a pleasure reading and responding to it.

    Additional information that may interest you
    More on Kohlberg’s stages: http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm
    More on Nietzsche: https://ccrma.stanford.edu/~pj97/Nietzsche.htm The comment about the overman thesis only being mentioned in “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” at the beginning. It is in fact more or less the central theme of many of his other works such as “Birth of Tragedy”. Although Nietzsche only officially state the overman theory in “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, it is a thinking that can be deducted from his writing in almost every single of his books, except perhaps his self biography that he wrote on the verge of madness.

    • mkaka139 says :

      Hey NoticedbyYou!
      You raised some interesting points in response to my post. Though I agree with your views I can’t say I agree with you on the point that “we [the reader] know for certain that he is the killer” because its seems to me that up till a certain point within the play, we don’t know any more than Hamlet does and by the time we know for certain, so does Hamlet. So with that in mind, I still feel as though his indecisiveness and lack of action are his major weakness. He himself even says “thus conscience does make cowards of us all” (Act III, scene I, 91), and by the time he has finally battled it out with his conscience it’s almost too late.

  4. soccer16 says :

    Wow. A very thought provoking post; which will of course bring up more questions. But what is life without questions? I enjoy how this post opened my mind and related to school. An issue of whether everyone is truly learning when they ask questions is one I’ve never thought of till now. This question allowed me to learn something new possibly proving that we do actually learn when we ask questions. Who knows though? It is all just one big question. I quite enjoyed your introduction and the talk of the continuous cycle. Questions are definitely reoccurring in Hamlet and the questions to learning to more questions can be related to the circle of life. This is represented in Hamlet when we see so many deaths and question what is truly happening when an individual dies. Either way one will die another will be born. A lion kills a zebra. A life lost for a life to live. It is very interesting to see Hamlet constantly struggle with questions of death in the play. It seems that no one else is worried about what will happen when they die but truly, I think they just don’t think about it. I mean sure some people are probably completely set on a certain theory but I think others choose not to think about death as death is such a profound topic with so few certainties. Here is a link you may find interesting: http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/4154 . It explores how questions can often be more important than the answers and how when it comes to faith people often shy away due to doubt. It explains how it is okay to have doubt but questions still need to be asked. This applies to Hamlet as he asks many questions but gets so caught up in the answers or lack of them that this leads to his self-destruction. Sometimes the answers aren’t all there at that exact moment but it is important to continue on with life and of course with asking questions. We do not reach our full potential if we do not question things. Our brains would decay. I very much appreciated your post and the opportunity to exercise my brain with questioning.

    • mkaka139 says :

      Thanks for the comment :)! I will admit I never thought about the importance of questions in relations to the answers they may or may not uncover. I guess the answers to the questions may not be as important as I first thought. Maybe it’s the contemplation of these questions that is truly the key.

  5. SKaqin says :

    Wow, that was a really deep and thoughtful post! :) I think some of the issues you brought up about students not actually acting upon their questions asked were very interesting, and certainly true. I enjoyed reading your blog very much! :D

  6. SQinka says :

    I agree. A lot of stress has been made on making sure to “always ask questions” and “raise your hand”. We’ve all heard those cliche phrases about there being no stupid questions and the greater fool who leaves his questions unanswered… or something of that sort.

    Yet, asking questions can’t be the same for everybody. I think it’s the curiosity that comes behind it. Are we asking to ask? Are we asking because we don’t understand? Or are we taking initiative in our knowledge, our discoveries, by questioning the unquestionable. These last questions are the ones that really go somewhere. To go along with your key metaphor, they open doors. But not just static doors; they open ones that lead to other doors. They lead to a journey.

    And then there’s the issue about acting on whatever lies behind that door. Do we just look at it satiated at having just seen it? Or do we act upon it? Our questions should not just be the yes-or-no, black-and-white, what’s-the-answer kind. With insightful questions, the answers are not the answer. Rather, they lead to further knowledge, further actions and further questioning.

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