Our brains like to focus on finding the right answers to the questions we already have than on finding the right new questions to ask, because doing so takes less creativity and effort. Our culture and education system tend to encourage this, which in turn amplifies a cognitive bias called question substitution in which we unconsciously focus on an answer an easier question than the ?real? question before us. The Buddhist concept of ?mu,? which is a third answer which rejects the yes/no dichotomy, can be a useful way to re-examine our thinking and avoid false dichotomies.
- According to psychologist Daniel Kahneman, when dealing with a challenging problem, question substitution saves us time and allows us to preserve our mental energy.
- In his book, Kahneman attributes irrational decision making to question substitution, which is really just a shortcut to nowhere.
- To avoid dualism, rephrase your thoughts early on to find a balance between a relevant question and an open-ended one.
“Finding the answer is not the purpose of great questions???the discovery lies on the journey.”