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Chacham's Journal: Philosophical: Person is most important part of a question. 14

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Two people can ask the same question, with the same words, intonations, and inflections, and even the same thoughts, yet require two completely different answers.

The question is a representation of a lack of knowledge. However, that is not *why* it was asked. The question is asked because something is bothering the asker. The answer, can give knowledge, but does not always have too. The most important part of an answer, is to remove what is bothering the asker.

For a simple example. John paints a wall green. Fred then asks, "Why did you paint the wall green?". Many answers can be given, all being true. Two of which are, "it needed to be painted", and "green was cheaper than blue". The first answer focuses on why it was painted, the second, on why green. It matters more why the person was asking.

In a more complex example, John gives charity to those in need, and skips a pleasure-trip to afford it. Fred asks, "why did you give that charity at such an expense". Two answers can be, "I believe that I 'had' too", and, "I couldn't enjoy myself anyway". The former is a statement of personal conviction, the second of justification. In many cases, the asker will understand one answer, but not the other. Simply based on the asker's value-system. In essence, the words, intonations, inflections, and even the very reason behind the asking, are exactly the same, yet two different answers must be given to satisfy the real reason the person aksed the question.

It's taken a while for me to understand this. But, with this knowledge, questions are a lot easier, and there is less wasted effort. As they say, "the question is half the answer".

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Philosophical: Person is most important part of a question.

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  • This gives the lie to your entire notion of de-emphasizing the self. The question, in essence, is a reflection of the state of the asker, and is meaningless without that state. So the effort of removing the "I" seems relatively pointless. The only genuine way of de-emphasizing the self is not to communicate at all.

    Of course, this may be taking your point farther than even you can support.
    • The question, in essence, is a reflection of the state of the asker

      True.

      and is meaningless without that state

      True.

      So the effort of removing the "I" seems relatively pointless.

      Not really. Granted, the asker is important, but the emphasis of "I" puts too much emphasis on the person, at the cost of the question itself. The mere fact that the asker verbalized the question should be enough of the self-mention.

      On another note, though, when the person begins to state personal values, "I" or "me" should
  • It's this stuff that gets me in the most trouble. I don't know it's the years of computer science that have burned me from society or if I really am autistic, but I take questions at such literal levels all the time that it seems to annoy those asking me things. I tend to process input where the closest thing to the question part (how, what, why...) is what is being asked about.

    Let me clarify. In "Why did you paint the wall green?" the wall is closer to the why, thus the word green to me is just a modif
    • I tend to process input where the closest thing to the question part (how, what, why...) is what is being asked about.

      Interesting. Thanx for the imput.

      Since I rarely support charities I can't give an answer to this hypothetical question. =^)

      So, at least, why did you use orange?
      • Ok, famous question/answer along the same lines:

        Q: Why do you rob banks?
        A: Because that is where the money is.

        There the person who is answering (Willie Sutton) took the question that it was about the banks, not about the robbing itself.
    • i am just the opposite. if someone asked me, "why did you paint the wall green?" i would assume they meant "why green" since they included it in the question. if they didn't care about the color, they shouldn't have brought it up.

      if somebody asked me about charity "at such an expense" i would probably reply with a question, "why is it such an expense?" it would clarify their question and let you know where they're coming from.

      of course, back when i did the comp sci stuff, i really liked LISP.

      what fru
      • I really enjoy this difference between you and Helio. Not the difference, but the "always" method of approach. It probably never crossed my mind. :)

        what frustrates me is when i ask a precise question, and a different question is answered. it indicates that either the other person is too involved in their train of thought to stop for mine, or that they don't believe i'm capable of asking what i meant.

        Or, as one teacher told me, "people hear what they want to here, not what you have to say".
        • well, you will probably not see this, but this is just for the record.

          i have no dislike for you. i don't always understand why you take everything so dreadfully seriously, but i suppose that is just part of your charm.

          there is nothing wrong with laughing at yourself once in a while. if i jab at you, don't take it seriously. breath deep, and realize what i have to say doesn't really matter a whole lot. i've tried to convey that with the sigs i've used. levity isn't any good all by itself, but it provi
      • what frustrates me is when i ask a precise question, and a different question is answered. it indicates that either the other person is too involved in their train of thought to stop for mine, or that they don't believe i'm capable of asking what i meant.

        Oh yes, precise questions deserve an answer on point, I hate when I take the time to ensure there's no wiggle-room in my topical question and I get vague BS in return.
      • Maybe it's one of those things like "Throw the cow over the fence some hay" or "Throw your sister off the train a kiss" or "Throw me down the stairs my hat." Notice how if you short parse you would be trying to do some odd things, but you need to read the entire request. However, those three can be re-written for clarity such that even short parsing works: "Throw some hay over the fence to the cow on the other side" or "Throw as kiss from the train to your sister" or "Throw my hat to me down the stairs."

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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