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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Inquiry Conundrums

INQUIRY- a seeking or request for truth, information, or knowledge; study, scrutiny, exploration. [Inquiry week starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.] Also, if you haven't done so already, please hop on over and take this VERY short, five question Survey.

I had grand visions for today's post. The "big questions" revisited or something like that where I delve into all those unanswerable things I enjoy thinking about. Unfortunately my inquiry today will be more on the "how do I continue to entertain a three year old who has been confined to her home for the last five days because of a stomach virus?" front, rather then the more interesting deeper pursuits. Yes I believe it is back to the Jungle for us but fear not dear readers you are welcome to delve deep with this re-visit of an earlier post:

"The Universe" from the Institute of Physics

The so called BIG QUESTIONS are ideal for delving into inquiry. Since there are no agreed upon truths the process of study and exploration can be enjoyed and experienced without the necessity of an answer. Perhaps you remember that when I chose INQUIRY as one of my virtues of Bliss, "INQUIRY was almost discovery until I realized the process of looking thrilled me even more then actually finding." That is why I LOVE the big questions. If there were absolute answers then it just wouldn't be any fun!

"There is no conclusive evidence of life after death, but there is no evidence of any sort against it. Soon enough you will know, so why fret about it?" 
— Robert A. Heinlein in Time Enough For Love

Dr Geoffrey Klempner, Director of Studies, International Society for Philosophers has a web site devoted to, what he calls, The 10 Big Questions. I have to admit I've mused on all of them at one point or another and delightfully there still remains no absolute truth to any of them! I can continue to enjoy the inquiry! You can too, click on the links in Dr. Klemner's list to get started!

Big Bang Theory — how and why did the universe begin?
Time Travel — is time travel physically or logically possible?
Meaning of Life — what's the point of living? why are we here?
Creation vs. Evolution — are we descended from apes?
Artificial Intelligence — could a computer have a mind?
Life After Death — what is death and why should we fear it?
Extraterrestrial Life — are we alone in the universe?
Cultural Relativism — are moral values relative or absolute?
Ethical Dilemmas — how do we decide between right and wrong?
Social Justice — should the rich help the poor?

"If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.” 
— C.S. Lewis in God in the Dock 

For a comic spin check out this Wired Magazine's compilation  of What We Don't Know, including a fun piece From the Desk of John Hodgeman who begins, "Now, I know exactly what you are thinking: Ha ha. Big Questions? Right. Like I need Wired to tell me what Earth’s core is made of. Or what noncoding DNA is for. Oh, and that “Riemann hypothesis”... is that one as unsolvable as the Poincar√© Conjecture - the BS Mensa math problem that was just solved by a crazy recluse... in RUSSIA? Give me a break, pinheads..."

All about Philosophy offers an interesting group of discussions on many of the BIG topics. "Do you want a rational investigation of the truth? Philosophy poses many questions. Where did I come from and why am I here? Why is there suffering? Is there a God? What is my purpose in life? Get started on your trek to find answers to life's most important questions." Click on the link to check it out.

So what inquiry will you be conducting today?

Next Post - Inquiry week wrap up

My 13 bliss virtues are joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, and surprise.

This week we are studying Inquiry. Next up is Community Week.


  1. Great blog Kathy. Thanks for stopping by the Mom Squad blog too :)

  2. p.s How did you get that awesome "like" facebook app on your left sidebar? I love it and love one for my blog!

  3. I have to say that I think that I like the humorous take on this a little better. Otherwise, my head starts to hurt!

    Thanks for visiting me on my SITS day last Monday!

  4. Ahhh...some of my favorite questions to discuss! We actually hold regular conversations about these things in our home. We both have an interest in them, so it just fun to discuss and discover together! ...and disagree from time to time! LOL! Multiple Universes and the many variations of Quantum theory have been high on the chit chat agenda lately! It's SO much fun to explore the possibilities! Did you know that there is another YOU out there? Yup. Identical. That is just TOO COOL! Oh...and as for the meaning of life... it's 42. Just say'n. (Google it if you are confused! ;-)

  5. The latest inquiry in our home is trying to decode "LOST." Seriously. There's a lot to digest in this show...Quantum physics, biblical references, time travel, parallel universes, good vs evil, Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, philosophers, classic literature (Watership Down, Alice in Wonderland). There is a lot to try and comprehend. My husband and I debate at the end of each episode, and we look forward to discovering whether our theories are correct! Theresa


Thank you "very so much" (the construct I stole from my 3 year old!) for your comments! I reply to every comment. I will ALWAYS reply over here on the blog so if you haven't heard from directly please do check back here. If you become a Disqus member you will be automatically updated via email as well!

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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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