Day 46: There Are Definitely Stupid Questions

A hated platitude: “There’s no such thing as a stupid question!”

Shut up. Yes there is.

You could ask a teacher if they’ll bump your grade up from a D to a B because “I have to get into college”. (I actually witnessed this in high school.) You could ask a 19-year old Mormon if he’s going to celebrate in Canada with beer. You could ask a person who’s been shot 48 times if they’re okay.

These are all stupid questions, and if you’re going to argue that, you might be stupid, too.

But why are they stupid questions?

Because the answers are so plainly obvious that the questions themselves are a complete waste of oxygen. They’re stupid because everybody knows the answer to these, yet you decided to waste both your and the person you’re questioning’s time by asking it.

However—these sorts of questions are rare. What most people think of when they think of stupid questions are questions born of unwitting ignorance (which differs from willful ignorance). These are never stupid questions. Even if they might make the asker look stupid, the question itself isn’t stupid because the person asking is asking to learn. And there’s nothing stupid about learning.

They key is getting over the fear of looking ignorant for the moment. Better than being ignorant for the rest of your life.

One of my favorite comics.


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