Thursday, June 11, 2015

"In some cases we learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself." - Lloyd Alexander

Lloyd Alexander wrote a series of fantasy books for youth that I read and loved as a boy.  (Until I looked up the Wikipedia link for him I had no idea we shared a Philadelphia and Haverford College background--nice!)

I can't be sure I fully understand what he meant by this quote, especially since it was pre-Internet. Perhaps it was the idea that in searching for places to find an answer one would often serendipitously would across all kinds of other interesting information, which is maybe less true now in the age of Google.

But a possible alternative take here would be discovering that for many interesting questions, there is no one easy answer. That good people often have different answers for different and good reasons. And part of life is figuring out how to determine our answers while still respecting the different answers of others.

For example, how do we determine what a good education is? The answer to that question is going to be very different depending on our individual circumstances, the time period in which we live, and the culture that surrounds us.

Is there even a right answer to that question?

If not, does that change how we hold the conversation? 

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