In pre-flight instructions, you are always advised, in the case of emergency, to take care of yourself before assisting others. This makes sense, because you won’t be able to help another if you yourself are in jeopardy.
This reasoning could be extended, however, to never actually helping anyone other than yourself. That doesn’t seem right. Helping others can end up helping you — a rising tide lifts all boats, as the saying goes.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What are our responsibilities to others?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘Are we too busy?’
A balance between yourself and others needs to be found. Hence the question: What are our responsibilities to others?
Related questions: What is the best way to help others? What is the best way to help yourself?
We all know what time is — we experience it every moment of our conscious lives. If there is one thing that we all have in common, it may just be the passage of time as we get older.
But once you actually start trying to provide a definition of time, it eludes our grasp as if it was so much mist. Trying to come up with an explanation without using self-referential terms seems really difficult.
Maybe someone else will have better luck than me: What is time?
Related questions: What does “now” mean? Is free will important? What do we have in common?
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?
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘How much of our thoughts are our own?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘How much is enough?’
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?
Fiction is all around us — in the movies we watch, the books we read, the stores we tell each other. We all consume fiction every day, and telling made-up stories has been a part of the human experience since the dawn of man.
But why should we care? Fiction must serve some purpose in our lives, or it wouldn’t matter so much to us. What are the benefits of fiction?
Related questions: What is the difference between lying and fiction? How can we strengthen our imagination? How important is the artist to art?
Money. We all use it, want it, dream about it, worry about it, spend it, save it, and trade portions of our life for it. We judge our place in society on how much we have, and rank our country based on how much each member possesses.
But how often do we actually think about what it is for, and why it is so important in our lives? What is the purpose of money?
Related questions: How are money and value related? How should we compare each other? Why are we greedy?