Augmenting my Inquiry Practice

| May 8, 2017

In a world of exponential change where change changes change and most of my schooling was about static learning, where learning was injected from the outside me, my practice of inquiry needs practice.  The more I practice, spending time in wonder the more connections I come to realize.

The dictionary defines inquiry as asking for information, information being facts. Inquiry is much, much richer. To me  inquire is to question the whole: context, content, process, time, paradigm, age, mood, others within my sphere.  Today, as we set about to augment and improve the state of the world, to enhance our own lives, that of our families, communities, work place, and world, how can we better put our inquiring minds to work?

FullSizeRender Today I found my place to inquire at the Four Eyed Bookstore in Gualala. I found a rocking chair, picked up a book and for the next hour filled myself with wonder. The book that attracted me is Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders. On the first page: The beginning of our happiness lies in the understanding that life without wonder is not worth living. “I wonder”, I wondered “how often I stop to really wonder. What is the gift of wonder?” Perhaps it is the one thing that cannot be taken away from us, and yet how little we use it.

Part of my interest is in exploring patterns and seeking future alternatives for a healthier world. I believe my understanding, my views of possible positive futures, is too limited, to academic. I want to turn on minds and hearts (my own and others) to inquiring about healthy futures. How do we design a future we can’t control or understand? How do we know where we are in this dynamic, fast changing world of entangled chaos and order? Why is so much of the world filling with Armageddon and dooms day movies and science fiction when it seems to me that we have many viable options to take us into a different more equitable healthy fun-loving, positive experiences wherever in the world we are.  Atlas Obscura takes us back through thousands of years of curious artifacts… dreams that came and went with some still working like the house built out of newspapers that is still being lived in 100 years later, or the Knight’s Spider Web Farm with the street sign out front that says “caution, spiders at work.” Five hundred pages of trivia and brilliance for someone or someones.  As I scan, I wonder, what will the Atlas Obscura second edition (3025 ad) be filled with? What are the wonders waiting to be created, to be called forth to excite, awe, and inspire and cause our future generations to inquire about their ancestors?

I think the past has a lot to tell us about the future, but perhaps not in the way we understand past, present and future as a linear before and after process.  These artifacts are filled with stories where people  have taken their inquiries and shaped them into working artifacts.  I can’t help but believe that my future just became enriched with adjacent possibles as I dig deeper into this book.