Steve Donaldson's Burning Questions

  1. How can wisdom get to where it needs to go?
  2. What is the difference between joy and pleasure?
  3. Do thoughts come from thinking or do they come by themselves, uninvited?
  4. Can thinking ever be harmful?
  5. What does it mean to be civil?
  6. Where do sexual fantasies come from?
  7. Where does courage come from?
  8. Why do people talk so much?
  9. What is a thought?
  10. Does the end ever justify the means, as in using war to promote peace, or using racial preference to eradicate racial prejudice?
  11. What is the nature of God?
  12. Where does curiosity come from?
  13. How do we reconcile great spiritual truths with plain common sense?
  14. What is progress?
  15. Does matter matter?
  16. Why bother?
  17. How can we, or do we, distinguish between perception and imagination?
  18. How can we, or do we, check reality?
  19. Where does authority come from?
  20. How do you know when it is right to surrender?
  21. Does every person have a soul?
  22. What is music?
  23. Do we spend most of our time in a trance?
  24. What does it mean to be alive?
  25. Does equality mean having no one to look up to?
  26. Where does debauchery come from?
  27. What is the importance of professional sports? Why does it involve so much money?
  28. How can a group have a mission? Does that imply a group will or a group soul?
  29. Do animals have reproductive rights?
  30. Where does motivation come from?
  31. Where does power come from?
  32. Where does compassion come from?
  33. Why don't people listen to reason? (Discussed 2/26/03. See highlights.)
  34. What does it mean for something to have meaning?
  35. What is exploitation? Are state lotteries and college sports forms of state sponsored exploitation?
  36. Do animals have egos or are egos uniquely human?
  37. Could you stop having sex if your life depended on it? What is happening in Africa? Could you not think a thought if your life depended on it? Could you change how you feel? How much choice do we really have?
  38. Am I the same person I was 30 years ago? What is it that stays the same?
  39. Can something that defies logic be true? Is logic a reliable test for falseness? What is logic?
  40. Where do YOU go when you fall asleep? If you are dreaming, are YOU unconscious? If you never woke up, would YOU still be alive?
  41. Is there a relationship between democracy and ethics? Does democracy necessarily promote ethics in government if the voters always vote according to their self-interest? Is there any system that necessarily promotes ethics in government?
  42. What are rights? Where to they come from? How can you lose them?
  43. What are human rights? What are your human rights? Are there also human responsibilities?
  44. Are property rights more important than human rights? (How can property have rights?)
  45. What is security? How much do you need? What is a reasonable price to pay for it?
  46. What is a question? Where do questions come from?
  47. Where is sound located?
  48. What is the difference between thoughts, feelings, and sensations?
  49. Does an evil person know that he is evil? If not, how do you know if you might be evil? Is there a top-10 list that starts with "You know you might be evil if..."?
  50. Who or what keeps you honest as an individual? What does it take to keep an organization honest?
  51. What is the nature of healthy growth as opposed to unhealthy growth. A growing child and a growing cancer tumor are both forms of human growth. What about the growth of a business or a city or a nation? When is it healthy and when is it destructive? What about the growth of a philosophy discussion group? Are there limits, beyond which growth becomes counter-productive or even destructive? Is it ethical for early members to exclude those who come later? Do resources belong exclusively to those who come upon them first? What are a nation's rights and responsibilities toward humanity in controlling access to opportunities and resources in its territory through immigration laws? How does one ethically handle the problem of limited resources and limited carrying capacity? If there are not enough life boats, should all be welcome to climb aboard?
  52. Where does intuition come from and how reliable is it?
  53. James Michener is quoted as saying "Values are emotional rules by which a society organizes and disciplines itself...". Is this true? Are values, emotional rules? Is it good for rules to be emotional?
  54. What is the relationship between innocence and joy? Why is ignorance bliss? Why can't knowledge be bliss?
  55. What is philosophy good for?
  56. What is communication and how do you know if you are really communicating? Who or what can you communicate with?
  57. If everyone agrees with you, does that mean you're right?
  58. Is intellectual property really property and does it need to be protected at all costs?
  59. Is pleasure really only disguised work?
  60. Is sex sacred? Is it a basic human right? Is having children a basic human right? If the carrying capacity of the environment is limited, is it right to restrict reproductive rights of individuals?
  61. How does a group remain open and inclusive while pursuing a common goal or agenda? Can you really include individuals antagonistic to the group's mission?
  62. Is there such a thing as truly random?
  63. Where does culture come from? How does it change? Can it be changed by intent/design?
  64. Are we living in the age of cynicism, sarcasm, and snide attitude? If so, why? If not, why not?
  65. Is it wrong to judge, or is that being too judgmental?
  66. How can we test if our actions are voluntary (of our own free will) and not manipulated by "brainwashing" or other psychological techniques?
  67. What does it mean when we say "That's great!"? Is that a code for "we share the same world view"? Scott Peck said "The overall purpose of human communication is, or should be, reconciliation." Does "That's great" mean "that expresses/illustrates how I/we feel"?
  68. What is the power of a story? When you are touched by a story, what is actually happening? What do feelings mean?
  69. What is required to have a good relationship?
  70. What is home and how do we know when we are there? How do we find our way there when we are not there?
  71. What comes first, our belief or our reasons/justification for our belief?
  72. What is the difference between educating and training and which of these most characterizes our system of education today?
  73. What is the difference between talking to yourself and talking to someone else? Can you really know what you will think of next?
  74. Is there a way, meaning a test, to check the validity of our perceptions? How can one check or test if one is slowing becoming delusional or psychotic? This dilemma was illustrated in the movie, A Beautiful Mind, about the mathematician John Nash, who suffered from mental illness.
  75. How can you tell if you are lexdysic?
  76. How do we decide what to believe and what not to believe and is it really a choice? How can we best decide what to believe?
  77. Do thoughts cause behavior? What is the relationship between thoughts and behavior? What is thought?
  78. Does having an open mind mean having no opinions at all? If you hold a belief, does that not close you to the possibility of an opposing and incompatible belief? For example, does the belief in teleportation close your mind to the possibility that teleportation is not possible?
  79. Is our culture aware of itself? Is it a conscious culture?
  80. Do hierarchies serve any useful purpose? Can anything of value be accomplished on a grand scale without a hierarchy?