Intelligence is about asking good questions

Neil Postman, emphasis mine.

In the development of intelligence nothing can be more “basic” than learning how to ask productive questions. Many years ago, in Teaching as a Subversive Activity, Charles Weingartner and I expressed our astonishment at the neglect shown in school toward this language art. Such neglect continues to astonish. The “back to the basics” philosophers rarely mention it, and practicing teachers usually do not find room for it in their curriculums. Thus I find it necessary to repeat two obvious facts about question-asking. The first is that all our knowledge results from questions, which is another way of saying that question-asking is our most important intellectual tool. I would go so far as to say that the answers we carry about in our heads are largely meaningless unless we know the questions which produced them. The second fact is that questions are language. To put it simply, a question is a sentence. Badly formed, it produces no knowledge and no understanding. Aptly formed, it leads to new facts, new perspectives, new ideas. As Francis Bacon put it more than 350 years ago, “There arises from a bad and unapt formation of words a wonderful obstruction to the mind.” In other words, stupidity. Let us, then, go “back to Bacon,” and make the study of the art of question-asking one of the central disciplines in language education.

Via Wikiquote, an underrated tool.

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