Learning to Question
to Wonder to Learn

The Introduction

Thinking is back in fashion . . . in some countries. Not in others.

Yet it may be that thinking is not enough. We have devoted decades - maybe even centuries - to showing students how to think, but many of those efforts have been wrong-minded and inconsequential. All in all, they have simply been what Pink Floyd called "another brick in the wall."

This book maintains that questioning and wondering are more potent ways of developing understanding than what usually passes for thinking in school programs.

Sadly, thinking does not always lead to understanding or wisdom.

Thinking can be deficient, limited and delusional. It can skirt the real issues and avoid the dark (but promising) side of life. It can be critical rather than creative.

"If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding."

Those who think about serious issues and challenges may ask the wrong questions and be captive of biases, wishes, preconceptions and "gut" instincts.

Schools have taught thinking off and on throughout most of the previous century as the fashions dictated, but they have done less well with questioning and wondering.

Schools have done better with critical thinking than creative thinking, but one can hardly survive or flourish without the two operating in tandem and in some kind of syncopated rhythm.

Wonder is at the heart of the matter, as is curiosity and passion.

Too much thinking is coldly analytical and logical in ways that end up missing the soulful aspects of life.

Some academics push a brand of inquiry that is dry, dispassionate and totally logical, as if extracting and ignoring both emotion and intuition will bring us closer to understanding. This is folly.

At the other extreme, we have policy makers who rush forward without gathering facts, evidence and sound intelligence as they pursue a faith-based approach to policy and decision-making.

There must be a way to explore truth and reality without surrendering to either of these extremes.

This book considers the dynamic interplay between dissonance, resonance and insight as questioning and wonder work to resolve the curious aspects of life.

Curiosity did not kill the cat.

That is a silly myth. A dangerous message. A cautionary tale.