the interesting idea... the start of this project... the conversations to come

I'm a member of Post Crossing, the internet site for postcard exchange. I sent a card to another Post Crosser, Ilona from Germany. She asked that people tell her which magical power they would like to have. Her question really made me think!

In turn, I thought it would be an interesting project to ask people to pose Thought-Provoking Questions. I would do my best to answer with my opinion, and I would encourage others to add theirs.

And, so was born this blog! I hope that it will be the home for many interesting conversations in the year ahead!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Greetings, Spaceling!

Kate, from Russia, asks
What would you say the first time you meet an "alien"?
Well, first... did I go somewhere to encounter this person? If it was a long trip, I'd probably ask "where's the restroom?"
If the alien came to my neighborhood, I'm not sure WHAT I'd ask... Offer a brewski? I'll be thinking about this one all day!

Monday, July 25, 2011


Some famous author (can't remember who) reputedly thought that "cellardoor" was the most delightful sounding English word - disregarding for a moment that it's not one word...

Saskia from Belgium, asks:

What is the most beautiful word for you?

For what it means: peace
For what it sounds like: susurrus
For how it tickles my brain: omphaloskepsis

You mean other people can actually pick just one? Weird.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Can you hear me?

Aya, from Japan, asks this question:

What is the best way to understand people from different cultures?

I think the key to success here is to listen more than you speak. I've found astonishing things when I've just shut my piehole and listened to what other people have to say.

So: Be quiet!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Postcard from.... the laser lab!

Well, from a physicist, anyway!
Soren, from Germany, who is an actual physicist in an actual lab working with ultra cold atoms, lasers and "a lot of quantum mechanics" sent a mind-boggling question (as befitting a deep thinking scientist kinda guy):
Can the human mind understand itself, i.e. be completely aware of itself, understanding its own purpose, reactions, etc? Or will we build artificial minds/computers that are so complex that we cannot understand them anymore?

I believe that the divine in us resides in that corner of the mind that we can never really comprehend.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Power of Three, plus a bonus

Three is something of a magical number, no? "Three wishes from the genie in the bottle" immediately leaps to mind.

From Indiana, this three-fer question:

If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

From Victoria on a card showing the workings of a Welsh coal mining operation:

If you were far underground, what three things would you take down with you and what three things would you leave "upstairs"?

And the bonus question, on a card from Moldova:

Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Is it better to know the reality (real life) or to live in a fantasy, no matter how false it can be?

Break into small groups, discuss, prepare to report back to the group...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

God Save the Queen!

Martin, from Jersey (the Channel Island, not the state in the US) wonders
Is there a place in the modern world for a monarchy?
We "colonials" here in the US have something of a romantic idea about royalty. I confess: I was married at the Renaissance Faire and am fond of telling people that Queen Elizabeth came to my wedding!
What the reality of living under a monarchy actually IS, I have no idea. In the end, I think I am unqualified to answer the question.

Monday, July 4, 2011

This IS a thought provoker!

From Italy (on a card that reminds me to relax!) comes this intriguing question:

How would you explain to a blind person what colours are?

The best course I can think of is to draw an analogy to taste or texture. This one really does have me thinking hard!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Time to Curate

We're beginning July. In two months' time, this project will be a year old. I am tickled by the response, and I'm already working on ways to keep the backs of the postcards interesting. Questions are still arriving, sometimes as many as a half-dozen a day!

It's hard to keep up!

So, I'm going to have to switch to a "curated" approach, especially because some of the questions are starting to be "repeats." I can hardly expect a person to scan every single post to determine if his or her question has already been asked!

From now on, I'll post questions that I haven't received before. That way, I'll be able to register cards at Post Crossing in a timely way, but still keep things entertaining over here.

For today: Would you risk your life for a perfect stranger?

I'm thinking that in an impulsive situation, I probably would. I'd push someone out of the way of a vehicle, for example.

In a more calculated way, I'd assess risk, I guess.

What about you? (I know you're out there, reading!)