Is Faster Better?

Sometimes it seems that life moves very fast, and you need to move very fast just to keep up with it. But have you ever stopped to wonder: is faster better?

Looking at the issue in simple terms, it seems the answer is yes, faster is better. After all, the limiting factor in our lives is time. Even the longest living among us has a finite — and relatively short — amount of time to be alive. So if we move faster, we do more.

However, quantity is not the same as quality. Doing more is not the same as doing things well.

It is possible that doing one thing very well is more meaningful, more impactful, and more rewarding than doing several things less well.

Productivity is such a powerful notion, though. Productivity has steadily increased over the last several decades. This may have to do with us working harder. In addition, we have more tools than ever before to help us to be productive.

Companies like productive workers. Productive parents can do more for their children. You can be a better friend or family member through productivity. Or at least, that is the message from a society built around productivity.

That may be true for drudge work. If a machine helps you to wash dishes faster, for example, that leaves you with more time for other, more pleasant, activities.

But what about non-drudge work? Is it better to write faster? Read faster? Talk faster? Play faster? Are there some activities where doing things more slowly is better (however you define better)? Or is it the case that for everything we do in life, faster is better?

Related questions: How can we be more productive? Are we too busy? Fast or slow? What is the value of inefficiency?

 

 

How Do You Recognize Important Dates?

For each person, the annual calendar is filled with important dates. What do you do to celebrate them?

Everyone has several days that have special meaning to them. These meaningful dates might include holidays, like Christmas or Halloween. Or perhaps more individual examples, like birthdays or wedding anniversaries.

Chances are, you could recognize more special days in the calendar year than you already do.

Some couples, for instance, like to celebrate the day of their first date, in addition to a wedding anniversary and a holiday like Valentine’s Day. Remembering the day you started your job can be valuable, particularly if you use the opportunity to ask for a raise. People with pets may choose to recognize “gotcha day”, or the day that they adopted their dog or cat (or snake or bird or hamster or whatever).


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What makes a tradition?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What are you optimistic about?’


Whatever dates you deem significant, what, exactly, do you do to mark the occasion? Perhaps you give a toast to celebrate, or maybe exchange gifts. Dinner out at a fancy restaurant is one way, a card or a personalized note is another.

Today (March 26th, 2023) is a special day for Intellectual Roundtable. It marks the six year anniversary of our first-ever post. That question, Why do we like what we like?, was a clear example of the types of questions that would follow. Just a couple of weeks ago, we posted our 800th question, which is also a milestone worth denoting.

Whether you make a spectacle of your birthday, or you enjoy a more manufactured holiday like Star Wars Day (May the 4th) or Pi Day (3.14, or March 14), it is worth taking the opportunity to make as many days special as you can. In the process, think about what you would like to do to celebrate each special date that comes around.

Related questions: What makes a tradition? Birthday: celebrate or not? What is your favorite holiday? What is your favorite holiday memory?

What Is Genius?

The word “genius” gets used often these days. But what exactly is genius, and how can you tell it when you see it?

Either a person or an idea can be referred to as “genius”. Typically for a person, it might refer to someone with a particularly high IQ. This can be measured via an IQ test, and at least in theory, can be quantified.

However, it is also used in other contexts. For example, someone might be called a musical or artistic genius. Is there any possible way this can be measured? Is there some sort of threshold to be labeled as such in a creative field? Or is it entirely subjective?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What gives a person value?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What makes you you?’


When the word is used to describe a creative person, is it used for someone with a high level of expertise in a very specific field, or to someone with a broad skill set? That is, which is more of a musical genius: a guitar virtuoso, or someone who can play a dozen different instruments with a relatively high level of skill? Or perhaps both are?

If both, are we in danger of making the definition of the word so broad that it loses meaning? If everyone can be called a genius (in their own way), does the word cease to mean anything?

How do you use the word? Do you use it frequently, or know people who do? Does it simply mean “I think this is really great” or is it more than that?

What is genius?

Related questions: How can we measure intelligence? What is intelligence? How important are important people? How important is the artist to art?

Do You Make Your Bed?

When you get up in the morning, do you make your bed? Some people like to start off the day with an accomplishment, however small. Others think, “Hey, I’m just going to mess it up again when I go to bed at night.” Where do you fall?

Share why if you wish.

What Is The Nature Of Celebrity?

We all know the word celebrity means a person who is famous. But how famous does one need to be in order to become a celebrity? And what does fame even mean?

As an example, let us consider a simple measurement of fame: the number of Twitter followers someone has. 10 followers? Not famous. 10 million followers? Probably famous. But what about in between? Is there a specific number that changes a person from a regular person — even a popular one — to a celebrity?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What gives a person value?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What makes you you?’


Of course, you may not think that social media followings are a true test of popularity. But there are many people who may become well-known: actors, politicians, musicians, sports figures, business leaders, etc.

But what, exactly, does that fame mean? If someone is known for being a star basketball player, he or she may be known to millions of people around the world. Does that notoriety come with any responsibility? Oftentimes you will hear someone say that an athlete should “stick to sports” when they offer an opinion outside their sphere of influence. Should they?

A celebrity has a wider reach than a non-celebrity. How much should that wider reach be encouraged and used? Does something said by a famous person mean more than the same thing being said by you or me? Should it?

Ultimately, many people dream of becoming famous some day. It does have some perks, no doubt about it. However, fame often comes with a loss of privacy, and insincere relationships. Would you be willing to trade a normal life for one of fame?

In many respects, our culture venerates celebrity. But what does it even mean?

Related questions: How important are important people? What do you revere? How important is the artist to art? What makes a person interesting? Celebrity or anonymity?