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?

How Do You Adopt New Ideas?

We are constantly being exposed to new ideas. How is it that you adopt some of them which end up being a part of who you are?

Adopting new ideas is really a multi-step process.

First, is the exposure to new ideas. That might come about through reading, conversation, travel, or others ways you might expand your personal views.

Second, you have to recognize the good ideas from the rest. Frankly, this step remains something of a mystery. How do you choose an idea as good? Or at least deserving of further consideration?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What beliefs do you have that might be wrong?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What makes a place feel like home?’


The third step is the one that is the focus of today’s question. Once you pick an idea as worthy (however you might do that), what is next? How do you actually incorporate it into your worldview? How does someone put into practice this new way of thinking?

All of the ideas that are floating around in your head, that make up your personality and help guide your decision making, started out as new at some point. Those ideas were plucked from your experiences, and incorporated into your self.

How did that happen? Can you make happen in the future? If so, how? How do you adopt new ideas?

Related questions: Where do ideas come from? Where do shared ideas exist? What is necessary to change your mind? How can you change your attitude?

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?

Just Or Unjust?

In your opinion, is life more just or unjust? Is there something that makes you feel that way?

Share why if you wish.

Just Or Unjust?

How Do You Justify Your Existence?

Author Isaac Asimov wrote a series of mystery stories about a group called the Black Widowers. In nearly every story, a question was asked of a guest character: How do you justify your existence?


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


In the stories, the answer to this question always leads to a mystery or a puzzle of some sort being presented and eventually solved. In real life, of course, there probably will not be a mystery. But we can still have the discussion.

So how, dear reader, would you answer this question? What is your justification for your time on this earth? The question is simple, but the answer may not be.

Related questions: What gives you purpose? Why are we here? How do you judge yourself? What do you do that matters?