Where Are You From?

The question ‘Where are you from?’ might seem pretty simple. After all, everyone knows where they are from, right?

However, the real trick to this question is how you define the word ‘from’. It can mean many things, and how you choose to define it will influence your answer to the question. It also may reveal something about you.

One way to interpret this is to think about where you were born. But even that has some ambiguity. For instance, you might answer with the country you were born in. Or the state, or the city. Or even the hospital.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What makes you you?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What gives a person value?’


Of course, where you are ‘from’ might not have anything to do with where you were born. It might mean where you lived the longest. Or where you spent your formative years. It could even mean where you live right now.

It might be the case that the person asking the question can further refine the question. They may be trying to get a specific piece of information, like country of your citizenship.

However, in the absence of any such clues, this becomes a question that is really about identity. How do you identify yourself? With whom do you align yourself? Perhaps you consider yourself an inhabitant of a particular region, like the Midwest or the Northeast. Maybe you are from Seattle or Atlanta, or some other metro area. Or your nationality is your defining point of origin.

However you choose to answer, what do you have in common with the other people who hail from the same place as you? How are you like the others in your town, your state, your country?

Where are you from?

Related questions: If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Why do you live where you live? How would you define yourself in ten words or less?

What Is Laziness?

Laziness is one of the seven deadly sins. At one time or another, we have all felt lazy. But what, exactly, does laziness even mean?

The classic conception of a lazy person is someone who sits around all day, doing nothing. But even a “lazy” person is doing something, right? They are not in a vegetative state.

For as example, let’s pretend that the lazy person in question sits around all day playing video games. They contribute nothing, just hours and hours of Xbox.

But isn’t that video game play, in itself, something they are working quite hard at? They are advancing in the game, learning playing techniques, maybe even reading about cheat codes or Easter eggs. A decent amount of time and effort might go in to learning how to play. Can that really be considered lazy?


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What is the value of inefficiency?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘How can we encourage debate?’


Admittedly, playing video games doesn’t really improve life in any way. Or does it? There are people who upload videos of themselves playing video games to YouTube, and make hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars in doing so. Are they lazy?

The difference there may be one person is earning a paycheck, and the other is not. Is laziness tied to money? One person doing something is lazy, someone else doing the exact same thing for pay is not lazy? Does that make any sense?

It may be that our classical definition of “lazy” merely means “disinterested”. Perhaps someone who is late for work, doesn’t try very hard, makes a lot of easily-fixed mistakes, is simply not interested in doing that job. That same person might be totally invested in playing video games, or managing their fantasy football team, or even working at a more engaging job.

In that case, a different definition of “laziness” may be in order. Can you think of one?

Related questions: Pride or humility? When do you need inspiration? What gives you purpose? What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

What Do You Wish People Knew About You?

Suppose you make a new acquaintance at a social gathering. What is the one thing you would like that person to understand about you? Is there some essential bit of information that defines you as a person?

Maybe it is your chosen profession, or a particular hobby you enjoy. Maybe you feel you are defined by your belief on some topic, or your political leanings. Some people seem to think their musical tastes, or the movies they enjoy, is important to understanding who they are.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What makes you you?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘What gives a person value?’


Similarly, even people who have known you for a long time may not know the real you. Do you ever feel as if there is a facet of your personality hidden from your friends and family? That there is something you know about yourself that others don’t seem to understand?

If you could control how others saw you, what would you choose to emphasize? What do you wish people knew about you?

Related questions: Why do we care what strangers think of us? How does creative expression help us to know ourselves better? How do you think others see you?

Can You Be Defined By What You Don’t Like?

I think most people tend to define themselves by listing things that they like. But can you be defined in the opposite way, by listing things that you don’t like?

It is conventional wisdom in politics that you cannot win an election by being against things. You need to tell voters what you are for in order to secure their vote.

Is the same thing true in life? Does it make a difference if you define yourself positively (what you like) rather than negatively (what you don’t)? Does life behave like photography, where everything is captured in a  photographic negative, but then that develops into a full picture?

Might there be a psychological toll associated with being consistently opposed to ideas, concepts, and even material things? Can you be defined by what you don’t like?

Related questions: Why do we like what we like? What music do you dislike that everyone else likes? When should you not follow the law?

What Does Spirituality Mean To You?

The word “spirituality” means different things to different people.

For some, the word may conjure up visions of a religious ceremony, attended by a cleric, with or without a choir and a sacred text.

Others might think of healing crystals and psychic readings.

Some people think spirituality simply means a walk in the woods, listening to the gentle sounds of nature.

Each person must decide the right way for him or her to commune with something greater than themselves.

Do you have a preferred way? Perhaps meditation? Praying? Ouija board? Tarot deck? Magic eight ball?

What does spirituality mean to you? Are there certain rituals you follow? And how did you come to your views on this very personal belief?

Related questions: Do you believe in the supernatural? Are science and religion compatible? What gives you purpose?