Since the 50’s ended and people stopped being so concerned with how to be blissfully happy and avoid another war, a major resurgence in the field of philosophical whimsy has taken place, with people focusing on the supposed ‘big questions’ in life that are supposed to free our mind and make us realise who we truly are and what is really important.

Personally I don’t put much stock in the wet-dreams of hippies, so I tend to look at things a bit more analytically, oftentimes to the disapproval of other, more free-thinking individuals. Naturally I have my moments of calm reflection on what makes me happy and whether I’m doing it right now (such as making dinner or forsaking hunger for the sake of the citizens of Videogameland), but I realise that before I can leap into the life that will free my soul and give my mind the wings of ultimate destiny or some bollocks, practical issues need to be addressed.

So it is that upon stumbling across a webpage called “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind” I proceeded to pick apart these questions in my usual practical way – the subtitle for the website is even Practical Tips for Productive Living, so I not only felt a desire to submit these questions to my scrutiny, but I felt obligated to ensure that continue to provide content that lives up to their promised standard. So here are just a few questions taken from this article with my answers to them.

If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
Do you live in the modern world? Unless you’ve arrived here in a time-travelling DeLorean or other such means I shall assume you do. As such if you’re over the age of 18 and/or no longer live under the power of your parents, you will know that not only is this question nonsense but it is actively rage-inducing.

Everyone has things that they want to do – make a sandwich, go overseas, fly with dolphins, whatever – but they also know that there are things that they need to do, such as arranging home insurance, fixing a broken boiler, paying mortgages or rent, having to shower, and above all else working in whatever job you have to be able to afford to do these necessary things. Wanting to jet off to Vegas and spend your children’s inheritance doesn’t take precedence over having to work to pay for the rent this month. It’s not how the world works. Need comes first, and if you have any time and resources left after all of that, you do what you can with that.

If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
I find this an odd question, because if happiness was the national currency then life would be very different indeed. Why would people go to work doing the boring, difficult jobs that are required for a country to continue running if they can get far greater wealth by sitting at home and rubbing one out? Society would collapse as bin-men, sewage and construction-workers and all manner of public transport operatives promptly gave up their jobs to have sex for a living. Thinking about it, prostitution would be the single-most profitable business in the country – the 1% would be comprised solely of whores.

Also, as a side note, if happiness became the global currency, then Denmark would currently be the world’s wealthiest nation, with America being poorer than Ireland and Canada, and the UK being less well-off than Israel.

If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
This is a silly question – I could explain the complexities of string theory and quantum mechanics or I could relate the most recent of my bowel movements, it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference because I would be talking to a day-old infant without the cognitive skills to decipher the sounds coming out of my face as words.

How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
One word – context. Give a starving child in Ethiopia an iPhone and see how long you keep smiling once he realises he can’t eat it.

Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
Why do I have to choose this? This is a horrible question, you might as well ask ‘Do you want Alzheimer’s or senility?’

Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
This is a good question. Theological dick-waving is pretty much what it amounts to, or the equivalent of playground arguments that ‘my god could beat up your god’.

If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
Currently, $1,000,000 is worth roughly £630,400. After doing a quick look at current interest rates on bank accounts where you can still access your money, let’s say you put that money in an account with Nationwide that has a maximum deposit of £3,000,000 and an AER of 3.05%. This roughly equates to an annual interest of £19,227.20 – so if you were to quit your job and live solely off these winnings, you would have to live on an annual income of around that annual interest amount. If you go over and dip into your winnings for a big splurge item like a home-cinema or a fancy car, the interest will inevitably go down as well.

Considering these factors, you would be far better off continuing to work whatever job you have and using the winnings sparingly for a few luxury items, but mostly leaving it alone to mature with interest over several years, dipping into it for holidays and presents to yourself occasionally. These days, $1,000,000 is not that much in the grand scheme of things.

When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
Oh that is just mean, that’s like telling someone they’re now noticing their tongue in their mouth or that fact that they’re blinking.



  1. Great answers Rich! The happiness currency one is weird. Personally I do think that there should be a concerted effort for government to focus on developing ways to measure and improve gross national happiness but the idea of happiness being money is just stupid. Does that mean that to buy a pizza I have to make the delivery man happy by a certain amount and myself less happy by the corresponding amount? Sounds a bit depraved…

    • God, I never even considered payment. Delivery men would have to be sadists who would punch you in the gut for payment – that way you’re left less happy, and they leave happier, I guess.
      I did read briefly in one article about it that they’re heavily considering taking out the GDP of countries when determining national happiness, which I think is an interesting idea and probably a step in the right direction. As I said it’s only a brief mention, but here’s the article I found about it.

      • It is a problem trying to disconnect wealth with happiness because they are related but in a manner so complicated separating them is like identifying which parts of the colour green are yellow and which parts are blue.

        Money only makes people happy because money allows you to obtain and use things. Having lots of money doesn’t really help if things cost a lot of money or the infrastructure for things doesn’t exist (i.e. have all the money you like but if you don’t have a road, rail or rocket network you’re rather stuck where you are). Conversely there are countries in the world where individuals have comparatively less personal money owing to eye-watering tax brackets but thankfully that tax is spent ensuring that they have excellent quantity of quality public services.

        There’s also the quagmire of whether or not GDP and GDP per capita is really that useful in determining what the average life of your citizen is like. The GDPpC of an African refugee camp is pretty high if Bill Gates is visiting purely because spreading around $50 billion amongst a million people still leaves everyone with a lump sum equivalent to an average UK yearly wage.

        But getting back to the point at hand having a pizza delivery man punch me in the stomach would actually be quite desirable if he was working for Dominoes because lying on the floor unable to breathe for 20 minutes before dusting myself off and gingerly eating a pizza sounds fairer than having to pay nearly 20 quid for a sodding circle of bread covered in meat and tomato.


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