I (Paul) heard a really interesting talk about the value and necessity of Thought Experiments. The discipline of asking hypothetical, unponderable, sometimes politically incorrect, elephant in the room questions or scenarios.
The aim of a Thought Experiment is to create the space and opportunity to engage with complex situations and work them through to potential consequences. Einstein, from his youth, was a big fan, it does explains his discoveries. Schrödinger’s cat, is one of the most famous.
What I really appreciate about Thought Experiments are that it gives me permission to ask questions that can seem offensive. A good line manager asks about what is assumed or a given within their team. Team members can pose each other dilemmas if they want to grow. I am planning to ask our team this year, “What might Spiritual abuse look and feel like in our hospitals”? They can be threatening.
Something similar I heard today was:
” Was the seeming encouragement of adults to children and young people to riot in the current Irish unrest, child abuse?”
This is not a question I would have been wise enough to internally ask or courageous enough to ask out loud. But it is an important question to ask. The difference is, this was not hypothetical, it was a good question from a journalist on observing film coverage. It seems it is getting harder to ask difficult questions for the fear of being misconstrued even accused of isms and prejudices. Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging crassness, but we need to create and offer ourselves and others the opportunity to ask the unaskable in a safe non social media environments. This is how we learn and grow. Surely, we need to keep some of these explorations in house and out of the public eye. This is not secrecy, this is degression, even care. I am all for corporate wisdom, but in time.
All those who want to see the Kingdom of God come in all its contextual fullness, should see the necessity of asking difficult questions and Thought Experiments. What are yours and who can you ask them with?