Embracing the Power of the Question Mark “?”: Challenging Established Institutions for a Better society

N Yanpothung Ezung
Bailey Baptist College, Wokha

In a world driven by established institutions such as the governments, religions, laws, traditions and cultures, it is imperative that we exercise our right to question and challenge their authority. The humble question mark “?”, symbolizing curiosity and skepticism, has the potential to transform our lives and society at large. By daring to ask probing questions, we open up avenues for critical thinking, innovation, and progress.

Why it matters? 
1.    Breaking the Status Quo
: Questioning established institutions is an act of rebellion against the status quo. It serves as a catalyst for change and ensures that those in power are held accountable for their actions. Whether it is political corruption, religious dogma, or cultural biases, the question mark provides a means to challenge the existing norms and seek a better future. By questioning the motives, practices, and decisions of these institutions, we create space for constructive dialogue and the possibility of transformation.

2.    Stimulating Critical Thinking: Questioning established institutions stimulates critical thinking, which is crucial for personal growth and societal advancement. When we unquestioningly accept the status quo, we limit our potential for intellectual development and risk becoming complacent. However, by raising thought-provoking questions, we engage in a process of reflection and analysis. This intellectual exercise allows us to see beyond the surface and uncover the underlying truths, fallacies, and opportunities for improvement within our institutions. 

3.    Encouraging Innovation: The power of questioning goes beyond critiquing the flaws of established institutions. It also unlocks the potential for innovation and progress. By challenging existing systems, we create room for fresh perspectives, ideas, and solutions. Innovations in science, technology, governance, and social systems often emerge from questioning the prevailing norms. By embracing the question mark, we foster an environment where creativity thrives and society can evolve to meet the changing needs and aspirations of its members. 

4.    Ensuring Accountability: Questioning established institutions acts as a check and balance mechanism to ensure accountability. No institution should be immune to scrutiny, as absolute power can corrupt even the most well-intentioned. By challenging the decisions and actions of those in authority, we demand transparency, integrity, and fairness. This scrutiny prevents abuses of power, encourages ethical behavior, and fosters trust between institutions and the people they serve. 

Before we start to question any established institutions, there are certain pre-requisites we need to take care of such as: 

1.    Cultivate Curiosity: Foster a mindset of curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. Embrace a genuine desire to understand the inner workings of the institutions that shape our lives.

2.    Educating ourselves: We need to equip ourselves with knowledge and information. Research, read, and stay informed about the history, ideologies, and practices of the institutions we question. 

3.    Formulate Clear and Concise Questions: Craft questions that are specific, well-reasoned, and supported by evidence. We need to articulate our concerns and expectations clearly to engage in constructive dialogue.

4.    Seek Diverse Perspectives: Engage in conversations with a wide range of individuals who hold differing viewpoints. This will enrich our understanding and challenge our own biases.

5.    Respectful Engagement: Approach questioning with respect and open-mindedness. Listen actively, consider counterarguments, and be receptive to alternative viewpoints. 

6.    Advocate for Change: We need to transform our questions into action. Utilize our findings and insights to advocate for positive change within established institutions or, when necessary, work toward creating alternative systems that better align with our values and aspirations. 

The question mark “?” is a potent symbol that encourages us to challenge the status quo, foster critical thinking, stimulate innovation, and demand accountability. By concertizing our questions, we unlock the potential for personal growth and social progress. Let us embrace the power of the question mark to build a better future, where established institutions serve the collective well-being of society while being subject to constant scrutiny and improvement.