Thursday, March 31

Copyright Law

I was reading through a friend's blog today, and she posted a video commemorating Tienanmen Square and the political violence that has occurred so many times in the past, and undoubtedly will in the future. I clicked to watch the video, and Youtube popped up with the following message:
Now, here's my question: Is this censorship? Is this kind of copyright protection acceptable? Mind you, this was created by a corporation, but the information the video contains is NEWS. Political forgetfulness is so much stronger if we don't have access to free video footage from the past. I personally find this reprehensible, but wanted to get other opinions...

Thursday, March 10

LinkedIn and Social News

LinkedIn is running a new social network news stream service. The basic concept is that the news which shows up is customized by you and influenced primarily by what other users share. This would make it so that you see things which are the closest to your own network, interests, and industry. Go check it out if you want. News Service

My question is, would you actually use something like this? Most people aren't super into reading the news, and when they do it is often more recreational than work-oriented: reading the sports page or the comics, rather than business news and so forth. If it were specifically targeted to you, however, would you read it?

Thursday, March 3


Today's question is a tiny bit morbid, so just bear with me for a minute. Everyone has seen or heard of interesting, strange, boring or even bizarre methods of death, from the Darwin Awards to an old woman quietly passing in her sleep. Of all the methods you've heard of, read about, witnessed, imagined or otherwise been involved with (hopefully not committed...), which method of death would you, personally, prefer to have? Would you rather have your head served to your enemy on a silver platter, or go out in a blaze of gory glory? Would you rather quietly pass in the night, or die in a mindbending set of coincidences that befuddle those mourning you?

Tuesday, March 1

Food? Food. Food!

The topic for today's question is courtesy of Starr, who has kindly offered several question topics for submission. A couple were already in place other places, but this one I hadn't been ready to approach yet. It is a little broad, and I may choose to narrow it later, but for now, here goes:

When it comes to food, everyone has their own ideas, philosophies, and quirks. Whether your diet is spectacularly color coded, you think eating meat is murder, or you simply like to cut out the toxic foods from your diet, you certainly have your own thing. What is peculiar about your own diet? What drives these choices? Do you ever vary from your philosophic decisions, or do you stick to your guns?

Question Requirements

This is mostly a maintenance page, but I wanted somewhere to point to when anyone asks whether they can contribute questions. The short answer is "Absolutely" and the long answer is to please follow the following guidelines:

  • Questions on any topic are welcome. The current topics I am writing questions for include (but are not limited to) religion, philosophy, politics, modernity, death, community, and randomness. 
  • If you want to suggest a question, please email me ( or send them via Facebook. 
  • Please let me know where you would like a link sent so that I can attribute the question properly.
  • Write more than just the question. If you read through my questions, they include explanations, background, stories, or just extra tidbits.
That's all for now. I may add more later, but if I do I'll post linking back here.

Friday, February 25

The Full Life

Today's question is complex, as philosophic questions typically are, and any answers should be thought out and reasoned. If that delays things a little bit, that's ok with me.

The first part of the question is about what it means to live a "Full Life," and here the definition of what that means, precisely, will probably vary from person to person, but in general this means a life that is more than a hollow shell. This means more than living the standard social stereotypes, but instead allowing yourself to become a deep well of knowledge, wisdom, love, strength, friendship, honor, or whatever other values are prioritized. It means more than wealth and vapid consumerism. Thus, the first part of today's question is what exactly do you consider a "Full Life?"

The second part of the question is even more difficult. Once you've come to a definition that works for your world view, how do you achieve this fullness of life? How do you make progress toward it? What goals and objectives do you have that will bring you closer to this ultimate objective?

The third part of the question is most difficult, as it stops involving merely you. With you definition, your goals and objectives firmly in mind, consider those around you who matter to you. Whether it is your friends, your family, your lover, your neighbors, or your child's child's child's child, take them into consideration. How do they fit into your definition? How does your definition fit with them? How can you help others who are struggling to come to a realization of the necessity for a full life, and, most importantly, how can you help them to grow, learn, deepen, and become full themselves?

Thursday, February 24

The Music at the Moment

Before you answer today's question, go put some music on. This is really important. Whether it is the radio, or your iPod on random, or Pandora, or whatever other method you have for listening to music, go do it. Now. Music is one of those amazing things that tells a story, brings images and memories to the surface, helps you feel joy or pain or simply the desire to dance. I can't possibly express how much I enjoy music. As I've aged, the music that I listen to has shifted slightly; I'm sure this happens to most people. The music I like now I would probably have been horrified by at 13 and simply confused by at 18, but I like a wide variety of music. I like alternative rock, dance music, hip hop, blues, jazz, classical, oldies rock, some country... and on and on. I just like music.

So here's the question: What song are you listening to right now? Who is it by? What does it make you think of? How does it make you feel?

Wednesday, February 23

Religious Examination

The path that people walk when it comes to religion is a complex one, involving many forks, branches, routes and possible pitfalls along the way. Not everyone walks the same path, and many avoid it entirely, wandering the forest lost or camping out and hoping a way will reveal itself to them. Although the analogy is imperfect, finding a genuinely legitimate map to the constantly shifting forest can be incredibly difficult, although many religions try to come up with approximate solutions.

Whatever path you are walking when it comes to religion, how closely are you examining it? How much do you question life, and how much do you question the map you're given in meetings, readings, or through other sources?

Saturday, February 19

Community at Home

This first question today is actually yesterday's question. I spent the preparing my house for two babysitters to hang out at my house for hours and hours and hours and hours, so I didn't get a chance to post. Sorry about that. I'll post another question tonight, too.

Today's question comes from a category I've had since the beginning, but this is the first question to come out of it! The basis of society is built around communities, and most of us are members of multiple community groups: our family, our friends, our church, our book club or game group or whatever other hobby we do organization. These communities our either inherited (family) or optional (friends), and vary in size, scope, and dynamics. One group is both inherited and optional, and this is the community built around the simple geography of where you live. Whether it is the apartment building you live in or the neighborhood you carefully selected, the geography of your home forces a community on you, with members you couldn't have anticipated and people you almost certainly don't get along with. Today's question comes in two parts: How long have you lived in your current area? Do you want to move, or are you really enjoying the community that comes with your current residence?

Thursday, February 17

Loyalty Forgotten

I considered throwing the system of question selection out the window and simply picking a question, but decided not to do so in favor of maintaining my organized system of chaos. I added it in as usual, and it happened to be the one that ended up getting selected after all! w007!
Also, I added a couple of new categories for questions, music and favorites, in order to lighten up the questions a little. It might work, although the deep discussions are one of the biggest reasons I'm doing the blog, so we'll see how I like them in the long run. I might decide to dive deep into specific songs instead of simply floating the surface, but for now the questions are pretty simple.

Anyway, I have been thinking about Patriarchy and systemic methodology a lot over the last couple of days (triggered by a discussion about arranged marriages in my Hindi class), and I realized that our society could have a fundamental issue that goes to the heart of the way we act as individuals, and this comes from us forsaking Loyalty.

Now, I don't really want to get into my theory too much in the question, I'll leave it for the answer, but the basics come down to this: Society is forged in the furnace of joint loyalty: a chief owes his people leadership and protection, they owe him food and pretty girls. A father owes his children leadership and education, they owe him honor and dignity in his old age. A priest owes his flock leadership and spiritual guidance, they owe him monetary assistance and um... choir boys? Ok, maybe not the best example.

Here's the question: What lines of loyalty do you have in your life right now? Now, I'm specifically talking about societal expectations and the idea that you don't just owe a favor, but that you owe the individual or organization something more, something to do with honor, something that surpasses mere legality or convenience. Do you owe anyone?

Wednesday, February 16

The first real religion question!

Although we had a brief discussion about Jon Huntsman Jr, which naturally included religion, this is the first genuinely religiously oriented question! All religions have history, and for most religions this history goes pretty deep into the past. Even if the actual religion is fairly modern, almost all of them claim lineage or origins from much deeper historic events (such as modern Neo-Paganism associated their beliefs and practices with the pre-monotheist Gods, or Islam claiming ties as far back as Abraham).

In the practice of many religions, pilgrimage is an important part of the process of being a member. Islam even considers the Pilgrimage to be one of the Five Pillars on which the entire religion is based. For other religions, pilgrimage isn't required, but it is still considered to be a sign of faith, commitment, or simply a route to a magnificent religious experience which deeply enhances faith.

What pilgrimage have you always wanted to embark on for your religious group?

If you aren't particularly religious, are there any sites that hold deep historic significance for you for one reason or another (such as Valley Forge, or Stonehenge, etc)?

Either way, where would you like to visit as a pilgrim? What about it makes it special to you?

Answer: Overnight Bag

Assuming that I was as in the dark as everyone else when it comes to packing an overnight bag, I would pack the following:
A full change of clothes.
An extra pair of socks.
A towel.
My personal items (toothpaste/brush, deodorant, razor, etc.)
Cell Phone and charger
NookColor and charger
Dice and Pencils

Tuesday, February 15


Sorry about the lack of a post yesterday. It was Valentine's Day, and I was busy pretty much the whole day.

Today's question is a little bit more random, so get ready for this!

Imagine for a moment that you needed to pack an overnight bag, whether it is for couchsurfing, going to a wedding out of town, or simply having a sleepover with a friend. There are two limitations: everything you pack MUST fit in a single bag that you own, and you have to make the list for someone else to pack for you. What do you write down? What is missing in the lists that others have posted?

Sunday, February 13

A minor change in procedure.

I decided today that instead of doing a major roundup each Sunday, each day's comments will be highlighted in a new post, with additional commentary from me, the following week. This eliminates the issue of Monday getting 6 days to the roundup while Saturday only gets a single day.

Check back tomorrow for another great question!

Also, if you would like to submit questions, they can be sent two ways: either simply send the basic question and let me fill in the details, or let me know you'd like to do something a little more complex and we can work out a guest post.


Saturday, February 12

A Mormon President?

When Mitt Romney was running for President back in 2008, I scoffed at the mere possibility of a Mormon president. However, as time as progressed and members of the LDS Church are becoming more politically powerful in the Conservative world, I find the likelihood of a Mormon getting elected to grow increasingly probable as time goes on. Doubtless shows such as Big Love have helped in this regard, making it clear that Mormons aren't evil, don't have horns, and only have one wife.

When Jon Huntsman Jr. was selected by Barack Obama to be the Ambassador to China I considered it a bold political stroke for both men; by removing a serious contender, Obama is much more likely to be elected. By placing himself in such a prominent and political position as the Chinese Ambassadorship, Huntsman placed himself in a prime position for running for president in 2016. As time went on, though, the likelihood of Obama being re-elected seems to have slowly declined, so that now most pundits seem to think he'll lose. With that looming, Huntsman waiting would mean waiting until 2020, something he obviously isn't willing to do, as he quit his position in China and is throwing his hat in the ring. Here's the question:

Do you think Huntsman can win the Republican Primaries? If so, could he win the general election? Why/why not? Consider his policies, his politics, his wealth, and (particularly) his competition.

Answer: Imperial Collapse

Whether or not you agree with the idea of America serving as an Empire (the evidence is strong, including territorial expansion, colonial development and the spread of influence via economics, culture, and religion), the question of collapse is a lot different. The historic vignettes of Imperial Collapse tell the same story over and over again: a society reaches the breaking point, and hovers on the edge, for decades or even centuries. Occasionally, this means moral issues, sometimes it involves health problems or climate change, but it almost invariably involves economics, including debt, over dependence on slave or low wage labor, import/export issues, and corruption.

Once a nation begins hovering on that brink, there is no turning back. The question isn't whether the society will collapse, but when. At this point, the single most common vignette occurs as follows:

The nation suffers unbearable problems. A great leader realizes the problems exist, gets into a position of power, and begins taking the reformative steps necessary to change the path of the nation. The populace is virtually unaffected, but the nobility suffers without the income from the graft and corruption, so they stir up the people in anger against the leader. Riots, wars, strikes, or simple assassination lead to the elimination of the great leader from power, usually by way of death. Once he is removed and things return to "normal," the people realize they have been fooled, and they react. Violently. From here things like cities being burned to the ground, noble estates being destroyed and neighboring kingdoms invading typically ensue, and the society suffers blow after blow far past the point of no return.

Can anyone else see the potential for this particular piece of the past to play itself out in the near future?

Friday, February 11

Rise and Fall of the American Empire

In studying the patterns of History, the potential for collapse becomes very clear: every Empire, no matter how large or powerful, must collapse or be conquered at some point. While the United States being conquered any time in the near future is unlikely, it seems a little more likely that the American Empire could be on the verge of collapsing into chaos and ruin. Bound to happen at some point, what do you think is the likelihood of it happening in the immediate future? What do you think the causes of this collapse would be, or what still needs to happen for the collapse to occur?

Method to the Madness

Although it may not seem like it, there is a method to chaos of the questions I've selected. I am intentionally doing a wide variety of questions, while trying to keep things time-related (a question about Egypt can't really wait until next year, a question about philosophic interpretations of breakfast cereals can). With that in mind, I write down any questions that I'm either really curious about hearing answers or that I think will inspire conversation or one that I feel needs exploration or input. Then, each day I select somewhere between 6 and 20 questions that I find are the most relevant or interesting, and I roll the dice, letting fate decide. This means that some questions will never be asked, while others may be written and selected the same day. That's ok with me.

If you have questions that you think I should be asking, feel free to send me an email: swpwinner at gmail. Or leave a comment on a Non-Question post like this one.

Thursday, February 10

Question: Resolutions and Goals

Now that January is solidly behind us, the furor over New Year's Resolutions is behind us, which means that when someone tries to change something about themselves they stop calling it a "resolution" and start calling it simply a "goal." Which is, really, a lot more accurate way of looking at it, particularly since a goal doesn't have the same time restrictions or simplicity that a resolution typically does.

Here's the question:
What goals are you currently working on accomplishing? Do you need encouragement, or are you doing great?

What it is All About

This blog exists primarily for three reasons:
  1. I'm trying to find a answers to questions of modernity, faith, belief, hope, souls, salvation, eternity, philosophy, life, happiness, honor, truth, justice, politics, and so forth. As such, this blog is built to address anything and everything, but is built around a particular format:
  2. Question and Answer: The idea of this blog isn't to simply post my own ideas, but rather to post questions meant to inspire responses. While some may be inflammatory, they are meant to be insightful and to build community that addresses deep ideas and fosters communication and deep understanding instead of shallow responses and flaming commentary. 
  3. This is my Blog Project for my seminar. As such, although it predates the Blog Projects, anything that I request others do with their blogs I will be doing with this blog. While I certainly do these things with other blogs, the idea here is to prove the concept that building community and establishing a following can certainly lead to success. 
With these three things in mind, the format will be as follows:

Every day (except Sunday) I will post a question. This question may be either simple or complicated, intense or relaxed, depending on how I feel that day. Every day I will post a response to the question on the blog I use that I feel is most fitting for the response. This blog will usually be used, but occasionally I will use one of my other blogs. If I do so, this blog will link to the post on the other one, just in case someone isn't following it.

If your comments are short, feel free to simply post them. If they are longer, you should repost the question and your answer on your own blog and link to the particular question, then comment with a link back to your own blog. This will allow the community to expand, readers to learn more about each other, and enhances the group environment as a whole. This also allows you to more easily comment directly on someone's response, either with a simple comment or another linked post. The first question will be posted shortly.

Finally, on each Sunday I will post a summary of the questions and links back to my own personal favorite responses. This post may end up being long, but I hope it helps tie things together and encourages people to check out questions and answers they missed during the week.