In some ways, we exalt the ceremonies in our lives. Between following a prescribed set of actions and repeating certain words, a ritual can make us feel grounded in reality or soaring among the stars. A ceremony, whether it is religious or secular in nature, cements our place in a community.
However, our word choices sometimes suggest that they are not so important. For example, if a role is “largely ceremonial” it means it has few if any actual duties or responsibilities.
It seems that we often treat ritual as a sacred event, but one that is divorced from everyday relevance. And yet, everyone is surrounded by ceremonial activities, often in many different walks of life.
So which is it? Do we live our lives according to the rituals set forth from those who have come before? Or do the ceremonies we attend have at most some symbolic place in our lives, but no real significance?
How important is ceremony?
Related questions: What makes a tradition? What does it mean to be thankful? Why do we feel the need to belong? What do we have in common? What makes a community?
The political discourse in the United States — and really, at many places all over the world — has gotten to be very negative. In times like this, to avoid becoming too depressed, it is important to remember the kindness that has been shown to you.
People can be kind in small ways or in large. Little things can help make your day a little better. And, of course, great acts of kindness can change the course of your entire life.
What is the kindest thing someone has done for you? How did you repay that kindness? What is the kindest thing you have done for someone else?
Related questions: What are our responsibilities to others? What does it mean to be thankful? What makes a community? How can we appreciate life more?
Friendship is something that everyone deals with. Even if you don’t have many — or any — friends, you probably have a pretty good idea of what you look for in a friend, even if only subconsciously.
There are many characteristics that someone might have in order to be considered a friend. Loyalty, perhaps. Being a good listener. Fun, thoughtful, networked, outgoing, goofy, shared interests, shared experiences, smart, a good conversationalist.
Of all the possible traits that a friend might have, which one is most important to you?
What makes a good friend?
To help uncover what’s important to you regarding friendship, think about these questions:
- If you think about the close friends you have, is there some trait that they have in common?
- What, if anything, does what you look for in a friend have to do with your experiences and your past?
- If you’ve had a friendship come to an end, was there something lacking that caused it to fail?
Related questions: Why do we care what strangers think of us? What makes a community? Who is the most important person in your life? Who inspires you?
Name someone who challenges you to be a better person, or who gives you inspiration to keep going.
Share why if you wish.
My proposed question is: What makes us comment on social media?
When we see a post on Facebook or other social media, why do we comment? Is it usually a visceral reaction? What makes us hold back from sharing our thoughts?
Many times I have spent 2-10 minutes crafting a response to something to ultimately decide not to post it. Sometimes it’s because I think my comment is controversial and I don’t want to offend anyone. I also don’t want to track the comment and follow up on others responses. Sometimes it’s because I don’t know the person well enough and suddenly feel it is not my place to contribute.
Often, on Intellectual Roundtable, I feel my desired responses are actually just more questions without conclusions so I don’t think I should share those. I also feel the void when I put something out into the world and no one responds. When participating in conversations in person, with strangers or friends, I am much more likely to voice my thoughts because I know I am likely to get a response.
Since I wrote this I’m going to submit it, but I oddly thought at the very end here I should delete the whole question. It feels really obvious and suddenly not like an intellectual question at all but just a way to feed the ego.
Perhaps this is why I don’t post many personal things on social media! 🙂
Related questions: What do you get out of social media? What social media platforms do you use? Why do we care what strangers think of us? How can we build confidence?