All posts tagged: philosophy

Week 48 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Great Gifts

Christmas is coming, and I’ve realized that I’m pretty terrible at choosing gifts.  My family was not big on celebrations or frivolous gifts. The gifts I received were always practical, bought on a deal, and/or rarely made me feel special.  On the bright side, I got a lot of use out of practical gifts, and I’m not complaining.

However, in the last couple of years I’ve received some gifts that were either totally impractical or expensive.  They were also well chosen and made me feel special!  This got me thinking: what is the difference between the gifts of my past and these gifts?  Of course I did some research, and this post is what I came up with. 

Thinking about gifts has certainly made gift shopping more fun – I no longer agonize over it and hopefully I won’t give more crappy gifts.  I hope this week’s topic helps you as you do your holiday shopping this year!

Week 41 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Decisions

Do you suffer from analysis-paralysis? Trust me: there’s no PERFECT decision. What you need is to know what best motivates YOUR decisions, and what makes a good decision FOR YOU. Some people are satisfied by a choice motivated by their religious faith, others choose according to their personal values, and some people want to maximize probability of a desired outcome. What makes you choose option A over option B?

Week 39 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Clutter

We’re obsessed with stuff.  We fill our homes with things we’ve collected, and when there’s no more room we rent storage lockers to house our stuff. I’ve been there, too. For at least a year I paid $200 a month for a storage locker.  When I look back at that time, I ask myself: What was I thinking?  It’s just a few years later and I have none of the things that I paid so much money to hold on to!  Why didn’t I just let go of it all in the first place, instead of paying at least $2400 to keep a bunch of stuff in a big, dark box?

I’m not the only one who has been through this experience.  It’s made me curious to know, what is the meaning of clutter? And why can’t we let go of all this stuff!?

Click for writing prompts to help you get to the bottom of your clutter.

Week 38 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Promises

Promises are a big deal.  Really.  Can you imagine what society would be like without promises? We rely on others to do as they assure us that they will. How would human relationships, partnerships, and friendships function without promises? 

People have different ideas of what a promise is – what it means to promise, how a promise occurs, and what consequences to expect or dole out in response to a broken promise.  The foggy understanding of promises adds tension to relationships.  Improving your understanding of promises has the potential to transform and benefit your interpersonal relationships.  Let’s figure this out! Click to read more.

Week 37 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Trust

“He was confused.  He had never asked her to trust him or said anything to make her believe he was worth her trust.  And she knew his past – so what did she expect? She had trusted him – to do what, exactly?”

Do you know what it means to trust someone? What about trusting yourself?  Answer quickly, before philosophy gets in the way. You think you know, until you realize that you do not know at all what it means to trust and be trusted.

Click to visit this week’s post to learn about trust.
Plus, journal questions to help you understand how and why you trust!

Week 36 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Architecture

Because of rising housing costs and scarcity, renters are forced to make decisions based on criteria such as square footage and utility instead of artistic design and psychological effects. Buyers are apt to make decisions based on price speculation – a property that increases in value is the smart buy. However, despite not being at the forefront of importance, the architecture of the buildings we inhabit matters to us for its subtle effects on daily life.

Find out about how architecture transcends physical reality (!) and journal questions to reflect on your own home.

Week 29 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Tools

Humans are differentiated from other animals by our extensive use of tools.  Yes, other animals use tools, but the use is relatively rare, and the tools are basic.  What counts as a tool for an otter might just be the use of a rock to smash shellfish from their shells.  A rock and a jackhammer are hardly comparable, though.  Comparing basic animal tools to complex human tools is like comparing communicative animal cries to human language. Viewing the comparison that way, it’s clear that human tools are in a special category.

Human tools also have symbolic meaning. What is a dream catcher, a magic wand, or a ghost trap?

Keep reading to find out what makes human tool use special and what your attachment to tools says about you!

Week 28 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Art

You love the arts and want your government to spend more on grants and public art, right? Well, even if you don’t, there are many good reasons for devoting effort and resources to the arts, such as cultural development, social activism and community engagement, and childhood education.  The artists themselves insist that art is good for us as human beings.

But there are plenty of reasons to reject funding the arts, too.  Top of the list: it costs a lot of money, it “does nothing”, and we can’t even agree on what counts as art.  The alternative is to spend money on things that give us utility – we can all agree on what’s useful to society.  In contrast, words probably never said about art: “That’s really useful.”

Let’s explore the Top 5 reasons to reject art as a concept and as a recipient of funding!

Week 27 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: AI & Tech Ethics

Who’s making up the ethical rules when it comes to AI and tech? Labs in America and China are racing to make AI ready for consumers, for economic growth, and for warfare. It’s clear that 21st century warfare will be fought with smart drones instead of humans.  In the economy, AI robots are being sent on suicide missions to do jobs that humans do not want to do. How does it feel to know that your next intelligent, self-driving car is programmed to either kill you or a pedestrian when it encounters an imminent collision situation? 

This is the mere tip of iceberg of ethical issues – issues that human beings have never had to think about before now.

Visit the post to get informed about the future. As usual, the daily journal prompts are here to help you mine your mind.