Does everyone have a big question that drives their life? Do you? This week to celebrate 100 episodes of the Havana Cafe Sessions Podcast and 100 questions we are still pondering…we asked you — what’s that question that drives you?
Here are a few responses:
* How can we come to terms with the truth that nothing lasts forever and everyone dies? How can this understanding help us really live?
* To what extent do we repeat things our parents & grandparents did — outings, favourite meals, hobbies etc. — and how important are these to our present lives and happiness?
* What is life for? And what is a life for?
* Do we actually life/hate the things we claim to like/hate or have we just been programmed by society or conditioned by our loved ones to these preferences?
* How does shame and fear organise our lives and what does it take to moved beyond them?
Philosophical questions sit at the foundations of our lives. While we might concern ourselves more with our To Do List and our day-to-day activities, these questions, values and perspectives on Life shape our actions and priorities.
And yet life can be busy, as we all know, and time for self-reflection can feel in short supply.
Reflecting on the bigger questions can also feel slightly daunting, as they take us away from ‘knowing where we’re at’ and lead us out into the unknown.
As Jennifer Porter points out in her article in the Harvard Business Review, “Reflection…requires us to slow down, to adopt a mindset of not knowing, to tolerate messiness and take personal responsibility.” And all these things can be difficult to do.
And yet without reflection and contemplation we can lose touch with ourselves. We become like a ship without a rudder, a wanderer without a map, and we forget why we are doing these things that make us so busy.
We can forget what we are actually living for.
Taking time each week to sit at the Havana Cafe and ask ourselves bigger questions about life and the world around us brings a quality to our life no other activity can replace.
Pausing to explore the question…to honour questioning itself…
…it was the way Socrates carved out wisdom from the experiences of life, the way philosophers ever since have distilled their own perspective on ‘the good life’. And over two thousand years later, we’re still using this same method to explore the myriad aspects of Life — how we understand our Self & how we relate to the world around us.
In a great commentary on the importance of philosophical questions, philosopher Slavoj Zizek explains, “I’m not saying that philosophy can provide answers. It can do something which is maybe even more important. As important as providing answers and a condition for it…is to ask the right question. There are not just wrong answers. There are also wrong questions…questions which deal with a real problem but the way they are formulated they…obfuscate, mysteries, confuse the problem. Here philosophy enters correcting the question. Enabling us to ask the right question.”