The Power of a Question

Last night, during Suw‘s Vodka Gathering, Tara raised a question, primarily to Tantek, that went a little something like this:

Which is more valuable: money or human life?

She changed the phrasing on her blog to:

What means more to you? Money or human life?

Delving further into the topic this morning, and reflecting on the responses Tantek and I gave that were primarily mathematical, theoretical and of the “it depends…” nature, I offered yet another rephrasing to capture the emotional quotient she was really asking about:

Which do you feel more strongly about: money or human life?

What’s interesting to me is how much different my response is to the “more than” question as opposed to the “feel strongly about” version. Is this a male/female thing? Is it that, regardless of how’s the questioned formed, the masculine view (not only taken by men, mind you) will be to immediately work out the logic of the matter rather than, in the feminine approach, to tease out one’s emotional reaction? Is there a neuter form of the question (i.e. in the Latin sense) that would be more uniformly comprehended between the sexes?

What do you think?

Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: (YC W18), Uber, Google.

2 thoughts on “The Power of a Question”

  1. your suggestion is impossible at most. Emotion logic is nonexistent and mutually exclusive (from my pov).
    The correct answer can be therefore boiled down to the decision regarding which method you use to decide. Even if you end up with the same answer, using emotion or logic is still a different route (obviously).
    Deductive tells me (using my logic), that which method you choose to solve the problem determines your sex (according to your theorem), at least hypothetically.

    Did i provide enough if/then statements there? I’m no logic student, but this was an interesting post for me.

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