The Chinese have a saying: “The person who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; the one who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” I love asking questions, though not keen to offer answers. I am often comforted by the fact that a wise Rabbi, when asked why do Rabbis always answer a question with a question, replied “what’s the problem with that?” Hence, the idea of posing or posting some questions as we enter a new year (2012). I am sure that you will also have many questions floating around. Here are some of mine and I hope that together with yours, the contours of a conversation may take shape.
-Was 2011 really a bad year, as the many pundits have ruled, or is it that we humans have seen the worst in us displayed after most of the “holy cows” we genuflect to have failed us?
-Are we becoming dysfunctional because of or in spite of fear, insecurity and the implosion of so much that we hold dearly to?
-Would it be fair to deduce that media reporting, both feed on and feed the habits of fear, insecurity and a corrosive blame culture?
-Can we claim any moral right to make “fun” of or critique the governance and economics in developing countries, when we display mind-boggling incompetence and mediocrity in our own political and economic life together?
-In times of austerity: is thrift better than spending and how do we rethink priorities?
- Here is a problem to help us contemplate the matter more clearly: “A sojourner arrives on an island which has just started to use money, but has the good fortune to lack a sophisticated banking system. He buys a meal and pays by cheque. The natives are so impressed that it goes from one trader to another without being cashed. Who paid for the meal?”
-Are our instructions that easy to always understand? Whose logic do they follow? How well are we communicating? Here are a select few from the underground:
- Press the alarm signal button to alert the driver.
- The driver will stop if any part of the train is in a station.
- If not, the train will continue to the next station, where help can more easily be given.
- There is a £50 penalty for improper use.
Or perhaps we may wish to consider the first sentence of the British Nationality Act 1981 which is intended to be very clear:
- “A person born in the United Kingdom after commencement shall be a British citizen if at the time of the birth his father or mother is – (a) a British citizen; or (b) settled in the United Kingdom.”
-What do our phones know about us? Are our phones becoming our extended brains, yielding a repository of memories, offering a full inventory of friends, acquaintances, of all we have said and communicated and all the websites we have visited?
-What are some of the reasons to be hopeful in 2012?
© copyright December 31, 2011 [image (jagessar)]