We anticipate the imminently predictable charge, that we are “contrarians” by reason of our present universal declaration: that a properly framed question, in the context of the pursuit of knowledge, exceeds in vital importance, the significance of the successfully determined answer. This is our confident conclusion, albeit the observation and our ready concession, that it is the successful resolution of the issue itself, that moves the ball forward in the specific field of endeavor, and understandably receives the applause and accolades of the interested public.

A precise derivation and a lucid statement of the relevant issue, requires sufficient knowledge of and authoritative familiarity with the area of inquiry, inclusive of its context and its background. Its most valuable and useful function relates to the direction and definition of the proper focus of the inquiry to the specifically intended area of investigation. During the process of research or experimentation, continued reference to the expressly stated issue or problem might be made, as necessary, to avoid distraction, wasted effort, and to assure the continued maintenance of disciplined and properly directed focus; the investigator must “keep his eyes on the prize.” Should a review of similar or analogous studies be useful, diligent care should be exercised in distinguishing the presenting problem from the reviewed ones. We again emphasize, that while the actual determination of the issue itself is celebrated as the apex of analytical insight, the same is necessarily and eternally, dependent upon the effective guidance and orientation provided by a lucid and precisely worded statement of inquiry.

It should, importantly, be observed, that the preceding comments are solely applicable to objective problems, such as are entailed in matters of intellectual or scientific inquiry. In the case of (subjective) human interactive problems, by stark comparison, the vital discernment or accurate selection of the operative issue is extremely difficult, often, virtually impossible.

In subjective problems, unlike empirical ones, the complication of individually nuanced perceptions rears its neurotic head and thereafter, attempts at rational diagnosis of the underlying problem very soon becomes “a bridge too far.” Additionally, the actual “facts” in issue are customarily tainted by divergent, self-serving, recollections of past experiences, as well as by the usual counterproductive, considerations of self-image and assertions of ego, by jealousy or loyalty issues and, too often, by irrelevant and misleading events.

In fact, were it (miraculously) possible for the disputants, in the context of the preceding paragraph, to identify and isolate the operative and relevant issue in dispute, (analogous to the precise articulation of the pertinent question, in objective matters) the problem, might well, ipso facto, be solved.

When problems present themselves, satisfactory solutions can only be attained by a mutual recognition of the pertinent question or issue, which provides the vital and only recipe, for a satisfactory resolution.


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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