People have been asking questions for a lot longer than I have expertise to comment on (as many of you know, I am not an anthropologist, sociologist nor psychologist). But, I do know that we have asked questions of our parents to know why the sky is blue. We have asked questions of books to know more about a given subject or to know more deeply an idea or story. And, more recently, we have started asking questions of machines (Google, most specifically) to answer questions of the moment like who sang 867-5309 (Tommy Two Tone).
So, the question I am posing is really, why is it that we have not yet found a perfect way of getting our questions answered? Why is it that we are constantly searching not just for answers, but for better ways to attain those answers. Entire ventures and industries rest on having the best way to answer your questions. Services like Hunch, Aardvark, or Quora believe that they are on the cutting edge of leveraging the crowd to answer questions, and I have to say that I have turned to them on occasion. I have also looked at Wikihow, Answers.com or Yahoo answers for an occasional fix of information. Yet, I’m not entirely satisfied by any of these services.
Which is, I guess, why I am still looking. I still have to cobble together the best of what I find and make decisions about which answers make sense for my particular need. I just keep wondering why we haven’t figured it out, yet. Why is it that over the centuries of asking our questions we haven’t developed any better way of getting answers. I understand that we will continue to research and dig deeper, and find out more about the human condition every day. I get that every question we ask just begets more questions. But that isn’t it…
I just want to know why I keep asking our questions to different things. Why can’t I find a single place to go to get all of my questions answered by people that I trust and respect? Is it too much to ask… perhaps.
But, perhaps we are getting further away from that value. Perhaps by turning to a machine to answer questions, or turning to the wisdom of strangers we are still having to apply the same level of skepticism that we are looking to lose. Perhaps we need to go back to asking our parents why the sky is blue, and then just believing them when they answer. At some points, I need to know the people answering my questions intimately. At some points, I want to put together the knowledge with those people and have that be enough. In these times, I want a place that feels like looking up at a mystery and slowly watching it unravel in front of me as someone I trust comes to my aide with a story of experience or a suggestion of what to do next.
That is why I haven’t found a single place to ask my questions. I guess that is what I am currently trying to build, what I want to be in place for my children and for the people I work with, and for the strangers I meet who also have questions. If we could just all bring along the people that we trust and start weaving our questions and answers together into a network of real conversations, that would be truly something. I guess I would still probably Google things, but for questions like “Where should I go from here?”, I need something else.