What About Me?
How do we acquire knowledge? How should we acquire knowledge?
In this story based on a Sufi tale, a young boy searches for knowledge. In spite of following the instructions of a teacher to the letter, he acquires knowledge in a surprising way!
Read aloud video by Jordyn Goddard
Questions for Philosophical Discussion
In the story, the boy wants knowledge but he does not know how to gain it.
- Why does the boy want knowledge?
- Why does he not know how to gain knowledge?
- Do you know how you would gain knowledge?
The boy says he will see a Grand Master.
- Can the Grand Master give the boy knowledge?
- How does one person give another person knowledge?
- What is knowledge?
- How do you know when someone has knowledge?
The Grand Master is wise.
- How do you know when someone is wise?
- Are all people with knowledge wise?
- Is there a difference between being wise and having knowledge?
Each person that the boy meets needs something.
- What do you need?
- Is needing something different from wanting something?
- What does the boy need? What does the boy want?
- What does the Grand Master need? What does the Grand Master want?
- What does each character in the book need? What does each character of the book want?
- Is wanting similar to desire?
At the end, the boy finds out that the knowledge is inside of him all along.
- What does the ending quote mean?
- How can the boy already be wise?
- Did the Grand Master help the boy become wiser?
- Can children be wiser than adults?
- What would an adult know that a child would not know?
The Grand Master is older than the boy and has more experience.
- Does experience make a person wiser?
- What kinds of experiences have you had that have made you more or less wise?
- Has school and education been an experience that has given you knowledge?
- Have you gained knowledge from the people in school and out of school?
- Who do you learn from?
- Who are your teachers?
- Who do you teach?
- Is the Grand Master a kind of teacher?
Original questions for philosophical discussion by Hannah Esrick. Edited May 2020 by The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics.
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