The 5th List is a list of things you want to know. It is a list of questions. The September issue of Time magazine was called the Question Everything issue. It was full of questions that are being debated in our culture. Chris Anderson’s TED Talk “Questions we don’t know the answer to (yet)” is full of what you might expect. Stephen Colbert, in the first few weeks of The Late Show has done a segment called Big Questions with Even Bigger Stars where he lays on a blanket and pretends to be looking at stars with another famous person. He has done this with Scarlet Johansen and Tom Hanks in the last few weeks. Here are a few questions from those three sources:

Will robots need rights?

Which fashions will we find appalling in the future?

Is monogamy over?

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Should we let ourselves be anonymous online?

How many universes are there?

Why can’t we see evidence of alien life?

What would it feel like to be a dog?

Do fish feel pain?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

What would you do with a time machine?

What really scares you?

Is there a difference between living and being alive?

Would you rather have feet for hands, or hands for feet?

The above questions did not originate with me, nor did they originate with the writers of Time, Chris Anderson, or Stephen Colbert’s writing staff. But they are good enough questions. The idea of this list is to get in the habit of asking questions and to start documenting things you really want to know. You can use questions you’ve heard from somewhere else. It would be pretty hard not to.

Getting in the habit of asking questions proves curiousity. One question leads to another, because questions cling to other questions the way barnacles cling to ships. Last week at school we had another rock concert during second period. At one point, the entire high school was singing along to an AC/DC song. This happened because someone asked a question to the band about the first music they learned how to play.

Anyway, asking is the first part. So ask away. Write a list of questions you legitimately want answered. Figuring out what is and isn’t a good question is another part. Getting answers is another. In a future post I will describe the three places we usually look for answers (God, Google, and Gustav) and tell you my three favorite stories about questions.

Until then, ask away.

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