Too Much Or Too Little?

Does our society more frequently sufferer from the affliction of having too much, or from having too little?

Too much or too little what? That’s up to you.

Share why if you wish.

Too Much Or Too Little?

Why Are We So Divided?

No matter which metric you use, it seems like there is a yawning gap between people. We are more divided than ever. What is fueling this growing difference?

Short of an escalation into violence, it’s difficult to imagine a more divided population than exists in the United States and the world.

Income inequality means more families are struggling to make ends meet. At the same time, wealth is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

There are more people leaving organized religion with each passing year. Those that remain feel persecuted.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What beliefs do you have that might be wrong?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What makes a place feel like home?’


But by far, the most intense division is political. Individuals in different political parties can’t even seem to have a civil conversation. Each side believes the other one is destroying the country. As a result, we are self-selecting into opposing neighborhoods, cities, and states. Nuance, complexity, and compromise are forgotten or ignored.

How did we get here? What is the cause of this division? Is it a media that is chasing advertising money? Or political leaders looking to consolidate power and influence? Are the wealthy looking to collect even more money? Are the poor lazy and shiftless? Alternately, are social media outlets — a new technology — spreading misinformation in the interest of attracting viewers?

In your opinion, who is to blame for our current state of disunity? And more importantly, perhaps, how can we reverse that trend and see our commonalities rather than our differences? Why are we so divided?

Related questions: What do we have in common? How can we encourage meaningful conversation? Why do we hate? How do we know we are right?

What Are You Doing To Build Community?

It is common to feel a lack of belonging to any community beyond your immediate family. Are you doing anything to change that?

In the industrialized world, an emphasis is placed on he individual, or the idea of the small, “nuclear” family. It is common for children to move far away from their parents, and for people to settle down and raise their own family hundreds or even thousands of miles away from where they grew up.

This is a far cry from families that saw multiple generations living together under one roof. Or a clan being an extended family all living in the same village.

Under current circumstances, a sense of community can be hard to find. Many of the traditional institutions that provided that sense of community, like family and the church, are in decline. Even people who live in a densely populated residential area might not know many — or any — of their neighbors.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What are our responsibilities to others?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘Are we too busy?’


Things have gotten particularly bad as a result of the pandemic. First the lockdown limited social interaction, and then many of the more popular ways of socializing, like music concerts or sporting events, were canceled or heavily restricted.

And yet, human beings are social animals. We crave social interactions, and we feel the need to belong to a group that is larger than ourselves.

Do you feel that pull to join other people? In what ways are you trying to reestablish contact with friends and neighbors? What activities do you participate in, or what strengthens the bonds you have with others? What are you doing to build community?

Related questions: What makes a community? Why do we feel the need to belong? Why do people like games? What do we have in common?

Does Universal Basic Income Make Sense?

Universal Basic Income — the idea that citizens of a country get paid, just for being citizens — has grown more popular over the last half-decade. But does the idea make sense?

People do a lot of unpaid work. If you want someone to take care of your children, you will have to pay them to do it. If you want someone to clean your house, you will have to pay them to do it. If you want someone to fix you car, you have to pay them to do it. So clearly these tasks have a monetary value.

However, if you do them yourself — take care of your own children, clean your own house, or fix your own car — you don’t get paid to do these things. Why not? Why don’t you get paid to do a job that has monetary value? But who would pay you for it?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What are our responsibilities to others?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘Are we too busy?’


In a similar vein, we all share common resources. From the water we drink to the land we live on, shouldn’t we all benefit when these resources are used?

Alaska has done exactly that. The state has the “Alaska Permanent Fund” which receives a percentage of oil, gas, and mineral development in the state. Each Alaska resident then gets an annual check from the revenues generated from the fund — typically somewhere between $1000 and $2000 each year. It is wildly popular in the state, and has cut the poverty rates drastically. Could something like that work on a national level?

Simple mathematics shows that if each U.S. citizen — 330 million — received $2000, it would cost $660 billion each year. That is a lot of money, to be sure, but the annual U.S. defense budget is higher ($778 billion in 2022). But would it make sense to spend that much, particularly when a large percentage of people receiving the money would hardly notice the $2000? Wouldn’t it be more prudent to target just the people who would most benefit?

But then you would be creating a large amount of bureaucracy to administer the funds. That would not be substantially different from the welfare system that is currently in place.

Is Universal Basic Income an effective way to reduce poverty and empower individuals, or would it actually increase inflation and decrease productivity? In your opinion, does it make sense?

Related questions: What is the purpose of money? Time or money? How can we encourage debate?

What Do You Want?

For many people, this time of year is about gift-giving and -receiving. Little children are expected to sit on Santa’s lap and tell them what they want for Christmas. Even for adults, this time of year can be a good opportunity to answer the question: What do you want?

As an added bonus, it doesn’t even need to be Christmas specific. In general, what is it you want — for yourself, for your community, or for the world at large?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘How do you define success?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘Is happiness the most important purpose in life?’


This question, when tied to the Christmas holiday, tends to be focused on the commercial. What present should someone wrap and put under the tree? However, in our thought exercise, it can be more than that. Not there is anything wrong with wanting a material good, like a new smartphone or a video game console. But you may also want something abstract, like justice, or peace, or happiness.

Knowing what it is that you want, some would argue, is the first step to getting it.  After all, if you don’t know what it is that you want, how will you know if you have achieved it?

So, like a child standing in line at the mall, waiting for a chance to sit on Santa’s lap, think about what you plan on asking for. What do you want?

Related questions: What new technology do you want? What do you want to do before you die? Why do we like what we like? What would you do with a million dollars?