We all do things that we know are bad for us, for our individual selves or for our society or for our environment. And yet for one reason or another, for pleasure or convenience, for personal ease or peer pressure, we do them anyway.
What do you do that you know you shouldn’t?
Related questions: How much of our thoughts are our own? What are our responsibilities to others? How do you define success? When is it useful to fail?
Public speaking is a common fear. People, it seems, are afraid of embarrassing themselves in front of a large audience, and losing public approval.
Why should that be? If someone speaks in front of a large group of strangers, why should their reaction matter? Setting aside an instance, say, like a job interview, where a stranger’s impression of you has something to do with your future, what difference should it make whether complete strangers, who we have never met before and will never see again, should like or approve of us?
Why do we care what strangers think of us?
Related questions: Where do our fears come from? When is embarrassment a good thing? Why do we behave differently alone or in large groups?
Live sporting events have a certain thrill that comes from not knowing what is going to happen. Each year, the Super Bowl has a huge TV audience during the live broadcast, but outside of fans of the winning team, there is much less desire for recordings of past Super Bowls.
Why should that be? Where does that thrill come from? Why is it better to watch a sporting event live rather than recorded?
Related questions: What is time? Why are we fascinated with the unknown? Why do we like what we like? Why do people like games?
People have been playing games of one sort or another since the beginning of the species. As our technology advances, one of the first things that we do with that technology is to figure out new ways of adapting in order to play more games. The video gaming industry makes more money than the movie industry.
What is it about games – simple or complex – that appeals to us so? Why do people like games?
Related questions: Why do people like what they like? Do video games make us more or less violent? How are board games and card games like (and different from) video games?
If you take away everything we have, we are left with our thoughts. It would certainly seem like they form the very core of who we are, or our individuality. If I don’t own my thoughts, what else could I possibly own?
And yet great efforts are made to try and control how we think. A movie can make you cry, an ad campaign can make you buy a product, a politician can earn your vote. Manipulating someone’s thoughts to make them do something is incredibly powerful.
I want to believe that what I think is somehow up to me and me alone, but I know that isn’t true. Hence the question: How much of our thoughts are our own?
Related questions: How can we determine how we have been manipulated? What makes you you? Why do we like what we like?