Thursday, July 2, 2015

People Who Have All the Answers

Beware of people who have all the answers.  I used to envy anyone who took firm positions on every imaginable topic.  Someone like that seemed to have it together and really knew what was what.  Then I discovered that people who had all the answers got locked in, defended their viewpoint and were closed to new information.

The sun goes around the earth.  This was adamantly accepted as a fact to the point of torturing and killing those who disagreed.  A complex Ptolemaic system was built with convoluted concentric spheres rotating at different velocities and epicycles to explain planetary motion.  Circles within circles, rather than stepping back and seeing the very simple answer that the earth revolved around the sun.

When people have hypotheses that become enshrined as fact, the believers stop searching because they have an answer they like.  But since life is a mystery, some questions are without answers.  To go with one answer and not explore other alternatives causes problems.  I’m following the only true prophet.  Your prophet is a fraud and mine is correct.  The earth is flat and if you question it, I’ll lock you in prison.

A person who has all the answers doesn’t take kindly to people who disagree.

Think how easy life is if you have all the answers.  You don’t have to expend any energy questioning, exploring and trying to figure out what’s going on.  You have your secret decoder ring that gives you direction in every situation.  If it were only this simple.

“He protesteth too much.”  We’ve all met people who become more adamant the farther off base they are.  If you don’t know, just admit it.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Then get on with searching for an answer.

Relative mysteries are answerable.  How to fix a broken pipe, how to solve a mathematical equation, why water flows down a mountain.  Absolute mysteries are impossible to answer.  Why am I here?  What happens after I die?

So address the topics that are answerable and enjoy the mystery of the questions that are unanswerable.  Have opinions, explore alternatives, but don’t park your brain with a scripted answer that someone has written in a book.

Be aware of people who don’t have all the answers and are always searching.  But beware of people who have all the answers.  Remember.  They often don’t know the questions.

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