Not all questions are created equal.
Selecting the right question to ask makes all the difference in conversation—want to have an interesting conversation? Ask interesting questions. In teaching—want to get a class, of any age, involved in the discussion? Ask interesting questions. In an interview—if you actually want to get to know your subject, you damn well better ask interesting questions.
I met the man who invented graffiti art in February, 2012. He claimed to have been responsible for the first of it anyone had ever seen, way back in the year of my birth. He told me between sips of champagne that he was consulting on a Hollywood movie based on the story of his life. He asked me if I was interested in going to a party in a basement on the Lower East Side. He followed this up with the statement that he would try to keep me safe there, and that a trip to the ER with a knife wound might do as much for my street cred as a poet as a cocaine overdose would. I asked him…
No. It’s not who you think.
I share this story with you because I know it will spawn some questions of varying degrees of quality.
For example, “am I telling the truth now?” is less interesting than, “am I lying?” despite both questions ostensibly seeking the same factual outcome. The focus, the motivation, and the nuance are quite different between them.
However, both of these are positively dull compared to
Do I hear voices?