Thursday, April 05, 2007

5 Questions

I threw my hat in the ring for the 5 questions meme, and I got mine from Chani.

1. If you controlled the flow of time, what would you change?

Jeez, we only have @10,000 years of recorded history! I can't decide, so I get two answers! In terms of world history, I would probably stop Archduke Franz Ferdinand from being assassinated. Europe, the middle east and various and sundry bits of the world were literally remapped after world war I in a way that, I believe, directly or indirectly has led to the majority of the conflict (and suffering) in Europe and the middle east since then.

In my life, I would not change anything. There are many things I wish I had done differently, but each was a learning experience. Primarily, though, my wife and children are the most important things in the world to me and I wouldn't change the path of my life that led me to them.

2. If it's true that our choices are a result of beliefs and desires, but desires and beliefs are based on what we are taught, are our choices really free?

Yes, in the large sense. Beliefs are shaped not only by what we are taught, but also upon our interpretation of that teaching. Every person experiences the world in a unique way. What we are taught, interpreted through the lens of personal experience, that makes each person's beliefs unique and therefore allows for free choice.

I don't know that I can accept that desires are based on what we are taught. (they can influenced surely, but based upon?). I don't think it is nearly as straightforward and that this is a question of nature vs. nurture.

3. Does the end justify the means?

No. We should be held accountable for how we live our lives, not by what we achieve.

4. If we are all "special", how does that make any individual special?

We are all "special" in the sense that we are individuals each with our own strengths - and weaknesses. That doesn't preclude that there are those people that have characteristics or abilities that are developed far beyond those around them. Not everyone can be a Mahatma Gandhi, or Albert Einstein, or Rosa Parks, or Benjamin Franklin, or Martin Luther.

If we would teach our children to accept themselves for who they are then we wouldn't have to have these interminable ceremonies where every child gets some kind of award or certificate for fear of them feeling inadequate or left out.

5. For the final irritating question, what would you choose as a universal priority?

That every person on this planet have the opportunity to be the best they can be.

Now - let the discussion begin!

13 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

The Atavist said...

Great answers, Bob. I always enjoy reading and listening to expressions of oneself that are carefully considered. Like you, I think that human beings have incredible potential and that they owe it to themselves to be the best that they can be.

Sober Briquette said...

These are familiar questions, as Chani has dealt with the topics on her blog, and I enjoyed reading your responses.

I seem to agree. I can't think of anything to add or argue with (though that could be blamed on the cold medicine).

meno said...

I especially agree with #4. I remember sitting through a "spelling bee" in which each child was given a personalized list of words before hand. One child would spell "apprehensive" and the next one would spell "bone". Then they all got blue ribbons, even if they misspelled a word.
That's just an example.

These questions are very Chani.

I can't think if anything to disagree with either, and i haven't even taken cold medicine. :)

Bob said...

Sieg - why, thank you.

De - familiar topics made better with antihistamines..

Meno - get with the program and chug some nyquil.

patches said...

You're no slouch getting Chani to ask the questions. It's an excellent balance. She puts as much thought into her questions as you do in your answers. I can tell from your replies (as well as a few previous posts) that you have a strong sense of responsibility. I commend you, and hope that it will serve you well in the future.

jen said...

bob, you are a good man. your answers are terrific, so telling about the man you are - a kind an honest and mindful soul.

Bob said...

Patches - I thought twice before I asked her! It took me a good bit of thinking to come up with my answers.

I would say the central theme in my upbringing was responsibility. Sometimes I take on more than I should, though.

Jen - you are making me blush....

urban-urchin said...

Bob- I wholeheartedly agree with Jen's assessment of you. And I am also nodding at #4.

I don't understand this mentality and what I've seen it create is a generation of individuals who feel entitled by the mere fact that they exsist. I don't agree with the constant praising for everything. I applaud effort, I also say I don't think you tried to do your best. My child knows I appreciate her trying and she also knows that I love her for who she is- she doesn't have to do anything for my love. But she also knows that she must try her hardest at things, and it's okay for her to know that she's not going to excel at everything- everyone has special talents.

I refuse to raise self entitled brats. (Okay my rant is over)

Thailand Gal said...

I agree with most of the comments here about the giving of awards for everything. It makes some sense for really young kids but not the older ones.. and certainly not adults.

This mentality is surfacing in workplaces, too, (or at least it was before I retired) and it's incredibly juvenilizing.

Your answer to #3 is a quotable!

Thanks for answering the questions. :)



heartinsanfrancisco said...

I LOVE your answers to these excellent questions. Number 4 is the stuff of great souls. They are all perfectly wonderful.

Thank you!

Mother of Invention said...

I would love to change the flow of time backwards and forwards just for interest! Would like to re-visit some parts of my life and see what things were like way back, and what they will be like in the future.

Universal priority...Hmmmm Peace and saving this planet would be good for starters!

The end seldom justafies the means. (This connotates the idea that the means was unsavoury.)

No 2 of us are the snowflakes...we each have our own "specialness".

Bob said...

Urban-urchin - you are sweet to say so.

#4 seems to have struck a chord in everyone. rant away!

Chani - I agree, in pre-school it is one thing, but by the time they are in grade school they are old enough to understand.

I enjoyed answering the questions, thanks for sending me them.

Hearts - thanks!

MoI - I've always envied Scrooge for his opportunity to visit his past, present, & future in the 3rd person, so to speak.

I'd like to think that if everyone were given the opportunity to do their best then peace, prosperity, and a better future for the planet would naturally follow.

there is certainly the potential that the means could be unsavory if we concentrate solely on the ends.

snowflakes, indeed. uniquely delicate crystalline structures. such as yourself.

Lex said...

Great answers. I would have been tempted to answer, "world peace" for each of them. :)

Seriously, you show true depth of character. I admire integrity.