FHS IB English Forum
Regarding the Meaning of Life

Questions to Ponder 2013

I-Beestes are pondering…

How do we go from a closed-in world to one with wide open spaces?  How do you use your freedom?

How do you weigh the importance of your current goals and the amount it will cost you?

How do relationships and travelling shape our personalities and affect our goals?

How do you deal with the stress of a financial crisis?

Why do people judge others by how they look or dress, which can cause harmful things?  What do the mean people get out of it?  Why cause harm to others?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

What makes success and meaning of life come together?  Is success the meaning of life?

How do you deal with long-distance relationships?

How can people decide the true meaning of happiness?

How does it tie into your stage in life?  Your wealth?  Your family?  The job you have?

What do you do when something happens accidentally, that was completely out of your control, and you can’t help but thinking, “What if…?”

How do you deal with being forced to end relationships due to one person leaving?

How do we prepare ourselves for college in this upcoming summer?

How do you choose whether to metaphorically crash and land your plane before it runs out of fuel or wait until it runs out of fuel and crashes without choice?  In life we can make these connections with our vital decisions (they don’t always have to mean life or death either).

Growing apart from childhood / middle school / high school friends as we go our own ways to college (or what have you)…

Why are we here?

How are we supposed to live with nature?

What elements in your book cause you to question society or the effects of society on the individual?

What does it mean to love??

Why do risks appeal to some, but not to others?

How do other people influence your life?  How do their choices affect your choices?

Is giving up an option in life?

Do we pass up opportunities that are right in front of us?  Do we not always see the opportunities that are available to us?

Does high school ever really end?

How do you let people get close to you?  How do you say goodbye to those people?  Why do we do it?

How does this novel discuss the development of a friendship/relationship?

Does fate exist?

When and how can a limitation become inspiration?

How does misfortune lead to modesty in life?

What does it mean to be alive?  In the sense of breathing, thinking, loving.

A good question would be the structure of society, how that really affects our lives and makes meaning of them.

Should the meaning of life include using everything you do to find yourself and to find who you truly are?

How did the characters’ misfortunes affect them overall?  Was it a blessing in disguise or a way to grow?

How do certain decisions affect your life?

Is it relationships that cause happiness?  Or should you find and rely on yourself for your happiness?

How would you like to remember your final weeks of high school?  What would you like your lasting high school memories to be?

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14 Responses to “Questions to Ponder 2013”

  1. In response to: Why do bad things happen to good people? – Bad things happen to everyone, it doesn’t matter if it happens to a good person or a bad person. Stuff happens and it doesn’t really matter why, what matters is how you handle what life happens to throw at you.

    • Depending upon your definition of bad, a person can live their entire lives without a single bad happenstance. As it was said in the book I’m reading, everything that is going on is a figment of the human mind’s imagination and creation. Therefore, good situations and bad, can be made out of any set of circumstances.

    • On the opposite side, I think bad things may happen more frequently, or at least equally, to bad people. As Miss. Prism said in Earnest “as a man sows so shall he reap”, meaning that those who consistently treat people badly or do unsavory things will often face deserved retribution. I agree with Jake’s comment that bad things happen to both good and bad people. I think people just recognize the bad things more frequently when they happen to good people because it feels undeserved, where when bad things happen to “bad” people it seems like payback for their actions.

  2. Bad things happen to good people because unfortunately life isn’t fair. It doesn’t have favorites or people it targets it just happens to everyone. Just because your a good person doesn’t make you immune to depressing circumstances such as cancer. Its how you handle those circumstances that determine how life affects you.

  3. In response to the question “Is it relationships that cause happiness? Or should you find and rely on yourself for your happiness?” I think there should be an equal balance between both. Building relationships can often temporarily cause happiness as well as help you develop as a person. But if something happens and a relationship ends due to many possible factors, whether it be with a friend, a significant other, or relative, it can cause a lot of emotional pain and give you sense of abandonment and loneliness, which then makes it important for you to rely on your own happiness so you don’t get too overcome with gried. If you rely on yourself for happiness it makes it much easier to handle life experiences and the end of relationships. Also, if you are rely on your own happiness, relationships can be healthier and more functional. There’s a quote by Axel Munthe that says, “A man can stand a lot as long as he can stand himself. He can live without hope, without friends, without books, even without music, as long as he can listen to his own thoughts.” Relationships are something that may come and go and bring you happiness at that moment, but I think being truly content with yourself can allow you to be happy throughout your entire life.

    • “Destiny is for losers. It’s just a stupid excuse to wait for things to happen instead of making them happen.”
      -B.W.

  4. “When and how can a limitation become inspiration?” To answer this question, an analysis of this quote may be helpful: “The smallest good deed, is better then the greatest good intention.” What this means is doing anything good, is better then waiting around for the opportunity to do something great. Philanthropists, mission trip members, and any person who doesn’t label themselves as any of these, can run into hardships which lead to a stop in the good things they are doing. Such as, financial, emotional or physical inability, or problems back home. Yet rather then let these hurdles cease all good work from happening, we should allow them to take us to other opportunities to do great things, which are available anywhere you look hard enough. Therefore, limitation should open doors, not close them.

  5. In response to the question, “How can people decide the true meaning of happiness?” – I believe that this all depends on who you are and what exactly makes you happy in life. There is not just one correct definition of true happiness, because everyone in this world is different. Everyone responds to certain things differently, everyone has their own opinions, and everyone has their own life. Depending on how, where, and what you live for can determine your happiness, so therefore everyone has their own definition of happiness.

  6. In response to the question, “Does fate exist?” — I truly believe that fate does exist. We all are destined to become something in our future, which was already set forth from the day we were born even if we were unaware of this fact. This question directly relates to the saying, “what’s meant to be will be.” There is a reason for everything in life, every loss, every achievement and it is important to remember this when faced at a cross roads. Every decision we make is what God planned.

  7. “Is giving up an option in life?” — I personally think that this should not even be a question. Giving up is far too easy. I have seen people give up in life and it only hurts those around them. The times that we feel like giving up are the time that make us stronger. Everything will be okay in the end and we just have to all remember that when we are in a tough situation.

  8. When I read the question, “Is it relationships that cause happiness? Or should you find and rely on yourself for your happiness?” I felt fairly conflicted with it. I feel that happiness comes from both ends of the spectrum. Relationships helps us grow and learn and are essential for life. Although, in order to achieve happiness in a relationship, we must first find happiness on our own. We need to know what people make us happy and have inner peace with who we are. This happiness is what will lead us to to the benefits we get out of relationships.

  9. In response to “why do risks appeal to some, but not to others?” I think a lot of it depends on your individual disposition, how you were raised, and what your goals are. Some people are naturally risk takers and prefer to live life on the edge, often for the excitement, where others fear taking risks because of the possible negative outcomes. Also, if you were raised in a sheltered setting you may be afraid to take risks because it would seem so foreign, or you may be driven to take risks in desire to rebel. I really think that your goals affect whether you take risks or not as well, and that could be in a positive or negative way. Some people take unhealthy/dangerous risks because of a lack of goals and sense of having nothing to lose. Other people may take risks that they think will get them a step closer to achieving their goals. It all depends on the individual.

  10. In response to “is giving up an option in life?”

    Of course it is an option. Life is filled with options. The option to get out of bed to get ready to school, or to keep with that deep sleep and not make a peep. The option to matriculate at a college or university, or not. The option to make the most of these last couple of months at home, or not. The first two options are the easier of the two, in that we are used to going to school, and we ultimately were able to decide what we wanted to do in the future (at least somewhat). But the last option deserves special consideration. In relation to the question, we do have an option to “give up” on this summer. We can sleep in every morning, laze around, and spend all our time thinking about college in the fall. Reading David Copperfield, I was reminded to focus more on the present, as what can make us feel more alive than the current moment – the here and now? Yes, future planning is important, and that is another option that we can either go with or not. My point is, don’t give up on yourself this summer. Don’t miss out on incredible memories with your friends and family. Don’t give up on your friends and family when you leave, either, as staying connected is important (and easy especially with the Facebook and the Twitter and the stuff). The options are out there, and its up to us to decide which options are opportunities, and which ones are giving up.

  11. In response to “What do you do when something happens accidentally, that was completely out of your control, and you can’t help but thinking, ‘What if…?”‘

    Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer is a fitting response to this question.

    God, give me grace to accept with serenity
    the things that cannot be changed,
    Courage to change the things
    which should be changed,
    and the Wisdom to distinguish
    the one from the other.

    This is only the first half of the prayer, and I do not believe that you have to be Christian to see the invaluable advice this prayer gives. Considering that the question asks of a situation in which “something happens…that was completely out of your control,” then my answer is to “accept with serenity” this thing “that cannot be changed.” There is a fine line between that which we can change and that which we cannot, and the difference between the two is often obscure. Especially in our time, when there are countless problems and crimes committed, it is critical for us to know the difference between what we can and cannot control, and to act accordingly. To condemn ourselves for things which we cannot control will result in a life of frustration and dejection, while not doing our part to change what we can and should will result in an unfulfilled life filled with regret. Luckily for us, understanding this nuance is something we can control, and so I exhort you to seek “the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other,” and by doing so live happily.


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