Yes. Real questions are better than false answers.
But questioning, the famous and infamous spearhead of all critical thinking, questioning itself can be wildly, dangerously, fatally dysfunctional if the faith in answers is abandoned. If questioning for the sake of questioning, not answering, begins to arise. If the pursuit of objective truth is perceived to be futile. Read: if the population loses belief in the existence of objective truth altogether.
Because that means someone [powerful] holds a monopoly on “truth,” if objectivity is surrendered. And agenda, rather than accuracy, governs belief.
For, questions are powerful in deconstructing establishment, but without valid answers they cause deep vulnerability. Vulnerability that can be taken advantage of. Catastrophically.
With extreme trauma and horror [see: the World Wars, the Holocaust, etc] come extreme body and mind altering experiences [such as: dissociation]. With extreme trauma and horror come the stretching of a person’s entire being, the rocking of a person’s entire foundation, a shattering of all stability. A sense of chaos, tumult. The breakdown of structure. And this exact type of breakdown can be seen in the [albeit brilliant and ground-breaking] avant-gardist movements that arose directly from the ashes of the Holocaust and World Wars. Everything was questioned. Every boundary stretched, creating boundless freedom, for better or for worse. Nothing was certain. Certainty was mocked… regarded as a pipe dream. Because the greatest atrocities known to man, the World Wars, had rocked human perception to its core.
For, what is meaning in the face of absolute chaos, the pandemonium of modern warfare? What are values if impossible to uphold in the face of a holocaust? What is human connection in the face of utter abandonment? Yet how can we live without these things?
The most famous example of this vulnerability, and subsequent catastrophe, is that of Nazi Germany. The aftermath of World War I led to extreme destabilization of Germany, a deep vulnerability of its citizens. And this is the precise vulnerability which led to the rise of a leader, Adolph Hitler, who galvanized his profoundly lost citizens with false answers. False answers they were willing to believe because they had lost a sense of foundation.
Yes. Real questions are better than false answers.
But real questioning, without the foundation derived from belief in objectivity, can be easily manipulated. Belief in an eternally shape-shifting, subjective truth can destroy a person’s conviction. He or she refuses to commit to an idea. A type of apathy from gridlock develops. In the face of adversity, she or he will not act, will not resist. And resistance is crucial.
For, everything cannot be relative without an absolute to be relative to. Whether something is above or below depends on the fixed position of something in the center. “It’s all relative” — is that not an absolute itself?
Orwell himself wrote in this letter of the the extreme example of disbelief in objectivity: “With this go the horrors of emotional nationalism and a tendency to disbelieve in the existence of objective truth because all the facts have to fit in with the words and prophecies of some infallible fuhrer. Already history has in a sense ceased to exist, i.e. there is no such thing as a history of our own times which could be universally accepted, and the exact sciences are endangered as soon as military necessity ceases to keep people up to the mark.”
This revision of history can already be seen, though sometimes disguised in more benevolent terms. Language itself is altered, sanitized, and whitewashed to be more politically correct, in attempt to shield people from the taboo nature of certain subjects. And as language alteration is embraced, whitewashing slips into brainwashing. More drastic examples of the rewriting of history can be seen in Oliver Stones’ documentary “The Untold History of the United States,” [including examples such as: the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were unnecessary and irrelevant to the ending of World War II].
Another current example of the harm of loss of objectivity? Moral relativism. While the attempt to embrace difference and foreign culture is admirable and highly valuable… complete abandonment of inherence of morals completely devalues morality altogether. If the justification “It’s just a cultural difference” can be applied to one behavior, it can be applied to any — corrupt or not.
And it is highly convenient for those in power that trauma and horror lead to destabilization, dismantling of perception. Because this leads to vulnerability. Which can be taken advantage of by those in power. Which in turn leads to more corruption. And trauma. And horror.
And hence the cycle of war — to keep those in power, in power.
It is imperative hold onto belief in objectivity.
Observe your surroundings for yourself; trust your perception; gather information, but with a grain of salt; yes, question, but hold convictions as well. The government is not infallible [a fact that may seem obvious now, but may not in the distant future].