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?
Whether it is on a playground, in a board room, or in international politics, you are likely to find yourself, at some point, faced with a bully. How should you handle it?
There is one school of thought that the only language a bully understands is violence. The best way to deal with one on the schoolyard, as this theory goes, is to bloody their nose.
Of course, this is not universally applicable. If you punch a bullying co-worker in the nose, you are likely to be fired.
Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘Where does authority come from?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What does your favorite music say about you?’
Another possible way of dealing with a bully is to ignore them. Don’t let them goad you into an action you may regret. However, if an aggressive action goes unanswered, it might embolden more abusive behavior.
So what is the best way to handle this situation? How should you stand up to a bully?
Related questions: Why do we put up with unhappiness? How can we build confidence? Hold firm or compromise? How much power does an individual have?
There is little doubt that technology impacts our lives every single day. It is one of the defining characteristics of the human race. For better or worse, the devices we have constructed have allowed transformative change for how we live, as well as for the planet we live on.
Some technology is obviously good. We have extended life spans, reduced or eliminated diseases, and increased the available food supply.
However, there is a dark side to it, as well. Climate change, species extinction, and overpopulation are the consequences of some of these technological innovations.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘Is technology neutral?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘Freedom or security?’
On a personal level, which inventions or innovations have made the biggest impact on your life? Perhaps a medical advance that saved your life? Eyeglasses that allow you to see clearly? Printing presses that allow for knowledge aggregation? Indoor plumbing to reduce disease and increase comfort? Airplanes that allow you to travel just about anywhere on the surface of the earth? The Internet for pulling together so many different areas of information? Or the smartphone that allows you to bring it with you wherever you go?
What technology most impacts your life? Which one has most negatively impacted your life?
Related questions: What skills have you lost due to technology? What role does technology play in your life? Will technology save us? What new technology do you want? Is technology neutral?
One thing that every single person has in common is that we are getting older every moment. As we age, some things improve; others get worse.
Maturing brings with it numerous changes. For a child going through puberty, these changes can be awkward. A senior citizen may find their body starts to deteriorate. At any age, you may start to become more comfortable in your own skin.
Whatever your current age, what have you noticed about getting older? What are the positive and negative aspects of aging?
What is the best part about aging? And what is the worst?
Related questions: How have you changed? Youth or wisdom? How can we appreciate life more?
Throughout this entire year, it feels like we have been waiting for something. For the virus to be vanquished. For racial justice tensions to be meaningfully addressed. Or for the presidential election to be completed.
None of those things have been completed; still we wait.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What are you waiting for?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘Are science and religion compatible?’
But in a larger sense, it is easy to wait for something coming juuuust around the corner. Once it happens, life can begin.
Once you graduate from high school, you can get on with your life. A romantic partner would make things complete. That raise at work will make everything worthwhile. After the kids leave the house, we can do all the tings we have wanted to get around to.
Eventually, life marches on, if you are waiting for something or not. And yet, the allure of something big just over the horizon is very appealing.
What about you? Is there something in your life that needs to complete before you can move on to the next thing? What are you waiting for?
Related questions: How can we build confidence? How do you set priorities? Now or later? What are you saving for?