All the questions I've asked myself to date have brought me here:
- Why don't I remember being before? (age 6)
- Why doesn't my sister think the way I do? (age 10)
- How can I become the best? (age 13)
- What does it feel like to not be? (age 15)
- What does it feel like to be on the verge of not being? (age 16)
- How do I take my life and time to its utmost limits? (age 17)
- How do I think of someone else when I never have before? (age 18)
- How do I get better, always? (age 19)
- What do I want to do? (age 20)
- Do I have it in me to jump off a cliff? (age 21)
- Can I build a sustainable closeness and sharing with another human being? (age 22)
- What do I really believe? What is truth? (age 23)
- How do I design my life? (age 24)
- How can I be present in my life? (age 25)
- How much am I willing to pay for what I love? (age 26)
- How can I become more human? (age 27)
- How can I push the boundaries of what I know? (age 28)
- Who am I? (age 29)
- Out of all the things that people want, what do I need? (age 30)
- What will my choices be? (age 31)
And also, all the other interesting questions along the way:
- Should humanity optimize for happiness or non-extinction?
- Is there a way to achieve the same liquidity as the financial system without the associated costs (e.g. transaction, coordination)?
- Is it possible to trade pure time as currency?
- Is there any fundamental reason except power and efficacy that individuals own natural resources?
- Are there good reasons for government to exist?
- Is the essence of being human empathy or free will?
- Are children closer to animals than human?
- How is art competitively differentiated vis-a-vis other genres?
- Can native freedoms have a cost attached?
- How much control can we have over our own biochemical state?
- Will it ever be possible to "know" ourselves, down to our biochemistry and below?
- Is the war for attention inevitably a rat race?
- Will we ever be able to scale education?
- How can we converge principles and outcomes?
- Is differentiation the answer to the status syndrome?
- In a world of disparate values, is radical transparency really the answer to the trust gap?
- What is the right balance of openness and closedness to optimize for creativity?
- What is the right level of empathy to have?
- Would the world be better if there was a universal language?
- As our lives get shorter, as we get older, what does that mean for how we approach the world as individuals?
- Should individuals be allowed to discriminate?
- How do we manage our memory and the stories of our lives?
- How do you rebuild a society that lacks trust?
- Do reparations beyond the victimized generation make sense?
- What is the right portfolio of strong ties vs. weak ties vs. spending time with oneself?
- Is it possible to reach an equilibrium in an environment of increasing individual power, or are there inevitable limits (state control) or end-states (mass destruction)?
- How do we break free of the silent ties that bind us and be the deus ex machina of our own and other people's lives, while still being human and connected?
I could create a list ten times as long but it would get tiring to both write and read. Suffice to say, through one lens, who I am has been shaped by questions and the few answers I've pieced together.
But I've been developing this inkling for awhile now... maybe because I live in SF, maybe because of where I am in my life, and just maybe because of where the world is now in its life stages. It's that while the questions are still important, how we answer them should maybe be different than how most of us askers have done in the past. That instead of just thinking and talking about the answers, we should answer by doing.
Ah, energetic ho hum. Business-making, authorship, conference-gathering, presentations, bit o' analysis. All good things, often with more than a dash of creativity required. But in the muted gold rush happening now, the tidal wave of market efficiency flooding the plains, are the big questions being answered? And in this melee, are these big questions being answered in a way that meets their stature squarely in the field?
What if instead of talking about it, we tried something. Moved a toe forward. Willed an action into being, an action that required a risk that we accepted and incurred, one that would never have happened otherwise. Maybe something more than a startup, a financial investment, a blog post. Something that changes the fabric of the world we live in, and its design.
I'm going to put my virtual pen down now, for a little while.