A Time for Questioning What We Know

colin wright


I’ve been doing an exercise lately that has really been valuable to me, though the results are hard to measure.

Once a day, I’ve been questioning something that I know to be true or have good reason to believe to be true.

I usually give myself about 20 minutes (not to be confused with 20 Minutes of Awesome), so that I know I have at least that long to pursue the thought, but I let myself go longer if the need arises. And then I just think, ‘What if?’

What if humans are the only life in the whole universe?

What if terrorists were not responsible for the attacks on 9/11?

What if everything we’ve been taught in science class is wrong?

What if some other economic strategy is better than meritocracy in the market?

What if I’m not doing what I should be doing with my life? What if the path I’m walking is the wrong one?

What if the life I experience is just a dream? Or a simulation? Or game someone else is playing?

What if what if what if?

Answering these questions won’t necessarily change your mind about anything, and that’s not really the point, either.

The point is to put yourself outside of yourself temporarily. What we know is the summation of our personal experiences (including our educational background) and it’s a rare thing that we find ourselves thinking from outside of that.

Remember, there’s no goal except to exercise your ‘what if?’ brain muscles.

Try it for a week and let me know what you think.

Or rather, let me know what you would think if it wasn’t you thinking.