SOCIAL CONTRACT — The renowned eighteenth century French writer Voltaire is remembered for many of his observations. Among them is: “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”
Indeed, questions are indispensable to us as we go about our daily lives.
Think about it. We greet each other by asking variations of the question, “How are you?” This is true of virtually all societies and in all languages. When strangers seek entry into our homes we ask variations of, “Who’s there?” and “What do you want?”
Discussions, whether at work or in social situations, are centered around the give and take of questions and answers.
While there may well be an infinite number of questions that can be asked, all questions ultimately seek the answers to six fundamental questions—no matter what the subject is: Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How?
Lawyers who are examining witnesses in court are cautioned to never ask questions that they don’t already know the answers to.
To question authority is to challenge authority—this is the underlying principle of democracies, namely that citizens have the right to challenge their leaders by questioning their qualifications, and their decisions and actions, and consequently hold them accountable.