On astonishment and the importance of questions

From childhood to adulthood, there is always something or other that astonishes us. These moments of astonishment are how we break the monotony, learn new things and gain knowledge and experience.

A child is distinguished by his or her innocence, children are constantly astonished as they discover and try new things. Children are inquisitive and spontaneously and frankly inquire about everything around them.

Those who continue to ask questions even after their childhood years are firmly on the path toward becoming geniuses. Albert Einstein used to say he no different from other people, except that he continued to ask the questions he asked during his childhood.

Questions do not frighten us, they educate and inform our faith and increase it. They allow us to gain more knowledge and make us stronger.

Knowledge cannot be found if questions are not asked and creativity will not flourish in an atmosphere that curbs the asking of questions

Turki Aldakhil

Any notion or idea which cannot stand up to questioning is weak and simply afraid that its flaws will be exposed.

Philosopher Martin Heidegger said philosophy's task is to ask questions, not yield answers, because questions trigger activity and transformation. Questions can be likened to an ever-raging fire - if the fire were to dim, it would flame up again.

Answers are blind while questions can see. If we want to raise a new generation that is innocent, willing and that has the energy to search and create, we must stop dampening the urge to ask questions, particularly the frank and eloquent questions asked by children.

Knowledge cannot be found if questions are not asked and creativity will not flourish in an atmosphere that curbs the asking of questions – something that is vital in the education process.

Amid the rise of technology and the spread of phrases and expressions which do not trigger thought, the sense of wonder and astonishment about beauty, nature and knowledge is about to become extinct. The best way to rediscover and revive astonishment is to encourage the asking of questions and to respect and value contemplation, knowledge and thought.

This article was first published in Okaz on Aug. 14, 2016.


Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.



Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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