Who taught you that? Asking where your ideas came from.

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and the good kind, not the kind where I get really caught up in my own anxieties. I’ve been listening to a lot of smart people, but they haven’t been telling me what to think, which I’ve grown accustom to through years of schooling. No, these people I’ve found through varies outlets on my laptop, where asking me questions. They wanted me to produce the answers for myself.

In a debate I heard someone ask “who taught you that?” to someone who was presenting one of their most dramatic viewpoints, something that they saw completely as fact.

Who taught me my dramatic viewpoints? The answer isn’t one person, it hardly ever is. We tend to take notes from hundreds of people and then write our essays. That’s how we should do it anyways, if your answer is easily a single person than you should probably go take some more notes, even if it’s just to compare and contrast.

But the question got me thinking about how sometimes when we learn things we don’t question it. We just take someone’s (or a group of people’s) ideas and adapt them, they simply become our own. This happens a lot when we are surrounded by one kind of idea. When our notes are one sided.

It’s also why we can see such dramatic phases in our lives when we look back. Who were you around when you went into that stage. Who taught you that way of life?

You see what I’m getting at? It’s not to say that what your current ideas are bad, it’s not to say that they are even one sided, it’s just to say that we should take a closer look at what caused us to adapt these ideas, because the answer to that is often interesting. In it we can find things that make us even prouder of our ideas than we were before but in it we can also find things that make us wonder if maybe we should have questioned them a little more.

Which way the process goes depends entirely on the idea and the source, but as humans we need to acknowledge that ideas our often force fed to us, and a lot of times we don’t even fully process when it’s happening.

You know when you’re talking to a small child and they keep asking “why?” over and over again. It’s so annoying, because somethings just are. Why is it gross to chew with your mouth open? It just is, it doesn’t matter why.

Well, it does matter why our dramatic viewpoints exist. It does matter why we have certain ideas about people, politics, philosophies. It’s important. So maybe you should try to explain your ideas to a two year old so your forced to explain “why”.

3 thoughts on “Who taught you that? Asking where your ideas came from.

  1. Good point. Along these lines, this has always been my approach to my job… don’t just teach students to memorize formulas and rules and algorithms, but teach them why they work the way they do. And this is the approach behind the new standards that so many people find controversial, primarily because those people never actually learned why math works, and they want their students to just memorize the same rules so they can get it over with and grow up to hate math just as much as their parents do. But I want something better for your kids.

    Liked by 1 person

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