“Philosophy begins in wonder.” ~Plato
1.) Do you really have free will, or is it just an illusion?
“We must recognize that we are puny and insignificant — primates running on hormones and synapses. But we must also recognize that we are powerful beyond belief, that each of our decisions reaches out into the future, and that our decisions define our future.” ~Jonny Thomson
The best way to look at the concept of free will is to compare it to the concept of time. Perceptually, time exists; actually, time is an illusion. Likewise, perceptually, we have free will; actually, free will is an illusion.
But this does not mean that time and free will are not useful. They are incredibly useful. They are, in fact, detrimental to our survival. Without the perception of time, we become disoriented. Without the perception of free will, we become chaotic. Without both, we are left without the ability to create meaning. And without meaning, we go mad.
2.) Is it worse to fail at something or to never make the attempt?
“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” ~The Buddha
Life is too short to wallow in indecision, procrastination, and self-pity. Choose adventure over comfort. Change your relationship with failure. Embrace it as a steppingstone rather than a setback. Failure should not be avoided at the expense of growth. Growth should be embraced at the risk of failure.
Punch fear in the face. Get out of your own way. When you go all in, you go beyond. When you dive in, you transcend.
Failure is a whetstone. You are the blade. Sharpen yourself. As Jen Sincero said, “There is no riskier risk than refusing to risk at all.”
3.) Is there such a thing as a moral absolute? Or is morality relative?
“It does not matter what you bear, but how you bear it.” ~Seneca
Best never to deal in absolutes. But there may be a way to objectively base morality in the concept of health. Health can be a valid benchmark for right/wrong, good/bad, moral/immoral. Without this benchmark, we cannot discern what is useful from what is not useful.
Because health is not a matter of opinion. Rather, it is dictated by an indifferent universe with universal laws that apply to everyone, despite our interests, biases, opinions, or beliefs. And this applies to everyone not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.
4.) How do you square the circle of knowing you will die?
“The thought that we must die, is the reason we must live well.” ~Pico Iyer
It will always be easier to die than to live. In the vastness of the universe death is the rule. Life is the exception to that rule. True warriors understand this. They sculpt their mind-body-soul by the rule. They sharpen it, hone it, make it a thing that is antifragile rather than fragile.
Reality is a juggernaut of death. On a long enough timeline, there are no timelines. Death eventually eats everything. But this is not a reason for ennui or base nihilism. Not at all.
True warriors don’t balk. They use death as a compass. They understand that death is a reason to celebrate life. Everything in life is made more meaningful because it will eventually end.
Happy is the soul that engages in unique, invigorating, and creative combat with death—and succeeds.
5.) Is it better to be poor doing work you love or rich doing work you dislike?
“If you follow your bliss, you will always have your bliss, money or not. If you follow money, you may lose it, and you will have nothing.” ~Joseph Campbell
Working for money is a work of labor; working for love is work as laboratory. Wealth then becomes relative to joy.
When you work for love, the world is a giant laboratory that you passionately navigate with your heart as a compass. Where others merely labor for the money to live, you’ll be risking your labor on love, and money comes as a side effect of doing what you love. This is en