Or, the risks and benefits of going meta.

Because the world is now one of sound-bites (bytes?), abstract thinking or writing is less valued.  If I start a post with a very simple, concrete, and practical statement, it’s more interesting, right?

It is. But nevermind that.

It occurred to me the other day that I have a stable set of questions in which I’m very interested, and they direct most of the reading, thinking, and research I undertake.   This is not unrelated to various “life mission” type of discovery projects, I might point out.

So, in this ongoing develop of the cabinet of my curiosities, we find some themes:

Freedom (of the individual emotional, intellectual, will, and spiritual type)

  • How does do I find the time to start thinking from first principles? All the patterns of thought that I have developed are shortcuts. It’s considered a luxury to think for oneself- yet that is freedom.
  • Similarly, emotions get caught up in habit and become self-perpetuating beasts. Should I be asking: how do we domesticate them? Or how do we unleash them?
  • What is self-actualization, exactly?
  • Self-discipline seems like treating oneself like an animal in training. I’m interested in how actual development of will differs from the everyday variety of self-discipline.
  • What are values and ethics, and why aren’t they universal?
  • Why, given the same data, do people reach different conclusions?
  • Why are some people atheists and others have faith? Why are educated people more likely to be atheists (esp. in the west)?


  • What is intelligence? Are any parts of it are learnable? What parts are innate?
  • How does learning outside of the system encourage contrarian thought?
  • What is success?
  • What are the major flaws and blindspots in scientific thinking and methods?
  • Why are people so drawn to learning in institutions?  Why is that preferable to the majority?


  • Why is language so difficult to understand intellectually, but so easy for a child to learn?
  • How does having a non-dominant native language shape you?
  • What would it be like to not have access to most of the world’s published information in your native language?
  • What does it take to make a good (invisible) translation?
  • What is that which gets lost in translation? How effective, really, is anything that is translated across the time span of centuries or millennia?
  • Why do jokes translate so poorly?


  • When I look around me, I see formulaic relationships everywhere. (bachelorette parties preceding giant weddings, families that get together and talk about the weather, partners testing their relationship with a dog before they try it with a baby) Why is the formula so appealing to many?
  • What are the patterns of strong friendships?
  • What are the patterns of marriages that don’t last? That last?
  • What are the patterns I’m living in my relationships with family, friends, Daniel? And do I like these patterns and wish to perpetuate them?

2014-03-26 16.31.09


Posted by:Brook DeLorme

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