I Don't Know

I prick up my ears whenever the description of a pattern or phenomenon requires the use of the words, "always," "never" or "every." That's an excellent predictor that the effects of the pattern or phenomenon in question will be broad and far-reaching. Maybe that's obvious, but nevertheless I pay attention to it.

An example:

In our educational system, children are asked questions. Ordinarily, in the questioner's mind there is an answer or the form of an answer. If the child's answer matches the one in the questioner's mind, the child receives praise. Otherwise, praise is withheld.

The answer which will elicit praise is never, "I don't know."

What effect does that have on our civilization?

What effect has it had on me?

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