What Is Art?

Art is something that plays a part in everybody’s life. Anyone, from any walk of life, can make or appreciate art. But what, exactly, is it?

There are several ways of thinking about art.

For example, it is that stuff that you go to see at a museum. From the paintings hanging on the walls to the sculptures on pedestals, you can go and look at Art, with a capital “A”.

But it is more than that, of course. At the museum gift shop, you can buy a print of some of the pieces, and hang them on your wall at home. Surely, a reproduction of a work of art is still art, right?

You might buy a painting from an artist who is not a household name. Or you might even paint something yourself. All those are examples of artwork. So it would seem that the pedigree of the person producing the work is not what determines if it is art.

Does intention matter? If I sit down at an easel, with a paint brush, I can produce a painting. The finished product might not be very good, but it is an effort of creation.

However, let’s say I find an elaborate spider-web in the morning, glistening with dew. Is that art? The spider that spun the web did so as an act of creation, but didn’t intend to make artwork — it was just following a biological imperative. Maybe I’m so impressed, I take a picture. Does the act of photography make it more or less artistic?

Perhaps only the appreciation matters. If someone appreciates something as being aesthetically pleasing, is that thing automatically a work of art? But doesn’t that mean that anything can be so classified? And if that is true, does that devalue what the word “art” even means?

Related questions: How important is the artist to art? Art: create or consume? When did you last push the boundaries of your comfort zone?

Are You Aging Well?

If there is one thing that is certain in life, it is that aging happens. You are going to age. But are you aging well?

We all age, every day, for years on end. This is true despite socioeconomic background, race, age, political party, or language spoken. We all get older, inexorably, a second at a time.

Given that simple fact, it is reasonable to evaluate that aging process. We all do it, but it is true that some people are going to do it better than others.

But what does “better” even mean, in this context? What does it mean to “age well”?

For some, it might mean doing everything you can to life a long life.After all, if aging means “getting old”, why not do everything possible to stay young for as long as possible? Eat healthy food, stay physically fit, don’t take any unnecessary risks, and in general do what you can to live as long as you can.


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


For others, it might mean taking advantage of every moment, even if that means the total time is reduced. Seize the day! What is life if it is not experienced fully? Taking risks can lead to thrilling, exciting moments of feeling truly alive.

Another definition might be having the greatest impact. If you spread you love, kindness, and generosity to as many people as possible, you will be remembered fondly by a large population. If people are happy you existed because of the way you improved their life, isn’t that “living well”?

Ultimately, the definition is yours alone. You decide what it means to live well, and you also get to evaluate if you manage to meet your own definition.

It also can be done at any age. Teenagers can decide if they are becoming a good (or useful) person. Middle-aged people can determine if they are better than they were years ago. Someone in their twilight years can decide if their body is holding up to the passage of time.

However you decide to define it, are you aging well? What criteria are you using?

Related questions: What is the best part about getting older? The worst? What makes you feel old? What is time?

How Do You Demonstrate Your Values?

We all have values that we live our lives by. How do you live those values? What do you to do demonstrate them?

An individual, a company, or a country has values that are important to them. These can may be openly stated, or simply internal. Nonetheless, they exist and are on display.

The first, and most common, value is self-preservation. You want to continue to go on living, preferably improving your lot in life as you go along. In extreme situations, some of us may choose to give up our lives for something we value even more, but that is unusual, to say the least.


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


Beyond self-preservation, the values we could possibly have can be many. And the sum total of all possible ones among the population of the earth is truly staggering.

Some may value family and friends, and connections with others. Others, perhaps money and luxury. Perhaps what motivates you is justice, for yourself and others.

Of course, you can have more than one competing for your attention. The reasoning about what to do in any given situation can involve a complicated, complex series of considerations, in order to satisfy your many values as closely as possible.

As an individual, do you know what your values are? What actions or behaviors do you perform on a daily, monthly, or annual basis to live by those values? How do you demonstrate them?

Related questions: What gives a person value? Is value intrinsic or relative? What are your values? How do you set priorities? What is important?

Is Value Intrinsic Or Relative?

Is the value of something inherent in that thing, or does it depend on the environment? Do I have value just for being me, or is my value relative to those around me?

Share why if you wish.

Is Value Intrinsic Or Relative?

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?