the power of questions

One lesson I’ve learned in my life is that questions are often more important than answers. The right questions orient us and provide us with direction. They form the basis of inquiry and investigation. They open up new horizons of insight and understanding — even when the answers remain unclear or uncertain. Sincere questions also foster a humble posture of learning and they invite collaborative inquiry, reflection, and deliberation; while “having all the answers” fosters arrogance, intolerance, and stridency. Questions thus appear to be an essential requisite of constructive agency and change.

One question I have been pondering recently is this: Given that unity is often invoked to justify oppression, while struggles for justice are often pursued in ways that divide and alienate us, how can we reconcile the principles of unity and justice in our pursuit of social change? Or stated another way: how does the concept of the oneness of humanity condition the struggle for justice? And how does a commitment to justice shape our understanding of oneness?

Hilary Harper 10

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1 Comment»

  newscrucible wrote @

The kicker question for me is how does one adhere to principles of oneness and justice when it is clear that others around do not? Many students of peace hail the nonviolent resistance practiced by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. as the solution for oppressed peoples to have their demands for equality heard and met. When these enlightened leaders asked their fellow civil rights supporters to not fight they were not telling them not to struggle. I am reminded of one of MLK’s quotes: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” The condition of our struggle for justice must be one that reflects an understanding of the forces of unity in the world, which are the same forces responsible for love canceling hate and light canceling dark.


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