Before jumping into this article I will warn that it is a little strange. Instead of being an article on one topic, thoroughly covered, it consists of many short ideas. Have fun and comment if you would like to see a longer article on one (or many of these) topics!
The primacy of questions:
To ask a question is a simple task that many people do on a daily basis. Mostly questions such as “what’s the weather?” and “how are you?” Many questions are used not so much to find things out as just to facilitate conversation or to be polite, it is doubtful that someone asking “how are you?” to a cashier is truly inquiring after their well-being. These sorts of questions are important; however, there are questions that are far more important. Obviously important questions would be things like “why is there something rather than nothing,” and “what is the meaning of life?” These questions do not have clear answers. Nevertheless, there are questions that are less obviously important while having tremendous importance in life. One such question is “why?” or “for what reason?” Why is the most overlooked and underused questions in life. At some point one might run out of answers but they will never run out of questions, this is the reason that questions are so important. Never stop asking.
Anything can be true:
It may seem an outlandish proposition to say that any statement can be true (here meaning without error). This means that a ridiculous statement like “the Pope is a married bachelor” can be true. The reason for this is that using the right definitions one can make any statement be without error. For example if one were to define “married” as “in a committed relationship to anyone or a anything,” “bachelor” as “any man not wedded to a person;” therefore, the Pope is, in fact (truly), a “married” (to the church) “bachelor” (not wedded to a person). Therefore, anything can be semantically true, though not objectively true.
Philosophy should be taught in high school:
There are a few ways that I would reform education (increased focus on literacy, encouragement of bilingualism from the start, etc.), but one of the major reforms I would like to see is that everyone high school student takes two classes which I call “philosophy.” One of those classes would be an argumentation and rhetoric class (this is the bedrock of all philosophy and perhaps all knowledge) and the other would be a great survey class of major schools of philosophy. These two classes (especially, the rhetoric class) would greatly improve students abilities to think clearly and logically, improve their abilities to see the world through different perspectives, improve their abilities to think things through, and expose them to a wide range of ideas. The practical (i.e. non-academic) value of this would be to help foster students’ abilities to come up with novel solutions to real problems.
I love drinking tea. I love many varieties of tea and rarely turn down a cuppa. There are few finer things in life than a simple cuppa. However, I do not merely love tea for the taste. There are many things that I enjoy the taste of but would not say I love. Tea is as much about taste as it is about culture, history, and companionship. There is great amounts of culture conjured up by merely drinking a certain cup of tea, it transcends physical, linguistic, and temporal borders. Tea is deeply tied to history, not merely of one nation or place, but of the world. For good or bad tea has been a powerful force in human history. There are few things (at least for me) that cement companionships than having a cup of tea (or coffee) together. Food has always been a major relationship building device, for example look at the word companionship for a moment. Com comes from the the Latin con meaning with (it changes from con to com when it meets the p in pan; just try saying conpanion without it sounding like companion). Tea is not merely a matter of taste, it is a cultural experience, a doorway to history, and a builder of relationships.
The one phrase that defines the 2016 U.S. presidential election:
There is one phrase that defines the entire 2016 U.S. presidential election: party over principle. Indeed, this may be the defining phrase of every election in a liberal democracy with a strong party system. The party system is a perfect breeding ground for corruption, elitism, and nepotism. There is a great pressure to support one’s party even if the chosen candidate is in opposition to some (or all) of one’s political principles. The 2016 U.S. presidential election is making this plain to see. There are socially conservative individuals are lining up for a man that is offensive to the principle they hold dear (chastity, morality, honesty) and social democrats (who had a candidate cheated out of nomination) are lining up for a woman whose actions are against their principles (taking money from Wall Street). They do this because they think the other party’s candidate will be so much worse, nonetheless, they are placing party over principle.