Have You Ever Wanted to Ask a Philosopher A Question?
An ancient Chinese proverb says “One who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; one who does not ask a question remains a fool forever." I have been determined over the past few semesters to get my own students to ask more questions. But, I don't think asking questions should stop once you leave school.
I think we are each filled with questions about life, death, work, play, and everything else under the sun. But, we don't ask these questions often enough. Perhaps we're afraid of looking dumb or silly. Perhaps we're afraid of what the answer will be. Or that there really is no answer.
It could be that people don't know whom to ask. As a working philosopher, I am often surprised by how few questions philosophers get asked about these important topics.
I don't just mean how few people ask me such questions (though very few do!) but how few people seek out philosophers in general. I think this is a shame since many of these "big" life questions are the exact kinds of questions philosophers deal with daily. And, philosophers for centuries have been thinking about these issues and coming up with some useful insights.
For the past few decades, there has been a growing movement in this country and around the world called philosophical counseling. This is a type of counseling offered by philosophers to help people deal with their problems and questions using philosophical reasoning and insights in very practical ways. As one practicing philosophical counselor, Lou Marinoff says, this is "therapy for the sane."
So, if you are ever lucky enough to run into a philosopher or take a class from one, take the opportunity to pick their brain a little. Most of us are more than happy to answer questions and offer resources for guidance. You never know what insights you might discover! What would you like to ask me?