From sailors exploring uncharted waters to the viewing public avoiding spoilers for their favorite TV show, people love the unknown. But why? What is it about not knowing something that makes it interesting, and makes us want to explore or discover?
Why are we fascinated with the unknown?
Related questions: Why is it better to watch a sporting event live rather than recorded? Why is change so unsettling? How important is intuition? How do we know what we don’t know?
Sometimes the world can feel like an overwhelming place. Clouds can darken anyone’s horizons. Holding on to optimism is important for a healthy outlook on life.
When you look to the future, what are the highlights you see? What are you optimistic about?
Related questions: How is hope different from optimism? How can we maintain wonder? What is your retreat from the world? What amazes you?
A tip of the Intellectual Roundtable cap to the the Edge.org series of books, which are a great source of inspiration for the Intellectual Roundtable. What Are You Optimistic About? is one of more than a dozen such compilations.
Navigating today’s world can be confusing. It is not possible to verify everything you hear or read. To function, you need to trust some people and some sources. Which ones? How can you judge if a person is trustworthy? How can you tell if a headline, or an article, or a website, or an entire news source should be believed?
How do you know who to trust?
Related questions: How can you repair broken trust? What is real? How can you get someone to trust you? What is necessary to change your mind?
This time of year in the U.S. is filled with traditions, from a big turkey meal to trimming the tree to making resolutions. These traditions can be small and extremely personal, or common and prevalent throughout the culture. Some are rooted in religious beliefs, some are centered around family, and some are just for fun.
But there is a larger question at work here: does a tradition have to be an annual event? Is it necessarily centered around a holiday? What is the difference between a tradition and a routine?
What makes a tradition?
Related questions: How do you make a tradition? What does it mean to be thankful? Where do shared ideas exist? How are patterns important?
I’m amazed by things big (like the universe) and small (like an heirloom seed). One is 13.8 billion years old and dying very slowly. The other is sitting in dormancy until the right conditions allow it to give birth to another version of itself.
What amazes you? All answers — grandiose and / or commonplace — are welcomed.
Related questions: How can we maintain wonder? What is important? Why do we like what we like? Why are things amazing?