Sunday, October 3, 2010

FOR EVERY ANSWER, A QUESTION

Don’t get me wrong; I really envy most of the people I know for their clarity of thought. I wish I could make decisions without first having to let facts and feelings percolate for a while. I wish I could be sure enough about an issue to be willing to go to bat it. For as long as I can remember, I’ve thought of this reticence as a handicap. But, in the past decade or so, at last, I’ve found a way to free myself of that burden; I’ve decided it’s actually a strength. After all, I’m thinking, isn’t the world a more interesting place when the conversation doesn’t necessarily end at one person’s version of the truth? Isn’t it better when, for every ideologue, there’s a skeptic; for every answer, a question; for every teacher, a student? I guess I can’t stop being the student. And I think that’s okay.

Learning’s a funny thing. For some people, it’s clearly the means to an end. You learn so you can know; you know so you don’t have to listen to anyone any more. Not me. The more I learn, the more certain I am that I don’t know everything. I guess you could say asking questions is more important to me than being right.

Giving myself permission to be ambivalent has been liberating. Ironically, it seems to have actually emboldened my thinking in a way. Not that I make decisions any more easily; but I’m coming more and more to not just tolerate, but actually believe in my view that, in life, absolutely nothing—including this statement—is absolute. It all depends on how you look at it.

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