I think the timing of this wonderful short story could not be better. Here is a powerful message that I hope many of us can learn and act upon.
Once upon a time two brothers who lived on two farms beside each other fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without any trouble.
Then the long friendship fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by months of silence.
One morning there was a knock on one of the brothers door. He opened it to see a young man standing there. “I’m looking for a few days work,” he said.
“Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?”
“Yes,” said the older brother. “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor, in fact, it’s my brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I’ll go one better. See that pile of lumber by my barn? I want you to build me a fence – an 8-foot fence – so I won’t need to see him or his place anymore.”
The carpenter said, “I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and I’ll be able to do a job that pleases you.”
The older brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he set off for the day.
The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing.
It was around sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer’s eyes opened wide, and his jaw dropped.
There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge… a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A wonderful piece of work with handrails and all – and the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched.
“You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done.”
The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other’s hand. They turned to see the carpenter walking away. “No, wait! Stay a few days. I have a lot of other projects for you,” said the older brother.
“I’d love to stay on,” the carpenter said, “but, I have many more bridges to build.”
If you enjoyed this short story, please share it with your friends.
50 Thought Provoking Existential Questions
What are existential questions?
Existential questions are usually deep, philosophical questions that question just that — our very existence.
They can be great conversation starters and they can also sometimes make for a passionate discussion. The following existential questions can be a great way to get to know someone better and perhaps even learn new things about yourself.
The word existential comes from the Latin word “existentia”, which means to exist. Existential questions challenge our way of thinking, our beliefs and our perspective.
Is there a right or wrong answer to an existential question? Perhaps not, as each question usually just asks more questions.
I have put together the following list of thought provoking existential questions so that you can perhaps start an internal conversation with yourself or start an interesting debate with your friends.
50 Thought Provoking Existential Questions
1. Are there limits to human creativity?
2. What makes something beautiful?
3. How do we know if we’re doing the right thing?
4. Who am I?
5. What is one thing that every human should get to experience in their life?
6. Do you believe in a power greater than humanity?
7. Are we given enough time?
8. Is privacy a right?
9. What is the best way for a person to attain happiness?
10. Are we alone in the universe?
11. What is love?
12. How would you define genius?
13. What do you think your purpose is?
14. If babies are considered innocent, when do people cease to be innocent?
15. Is it better to expand your knowledge or to deepen it?
16. Why do you think we are here?
17. How important is ‘play’ in living a healthy and fulfilling life?
18. Do you have a right to be happy, or should you earn it?
19. What happens when I die?
20. What worries me the most about the future?
21. What is a person? Is it the mind, or the body?
22. Would the world be a better place if all leaders were women? If you answered yes, why?
23. What activity have I done that has made me feel the most alive?
24. Does truth exist without evidence?
25. If I had to instill one piece of advice in a newborn baby’s mind, what advice would I give?
26. Does a person have a soul? If so, where is it?
27. Is intelligence or wisdom more useful?
28. Is it more important to love or be loved?
29. What would make the world a better place?
30. How should we measure our lives? In years? In moments? In accomplishments? Something else?
31. What is the difference between living and simply existing?
32. If you died today, would you be satisfied with the life you’ve lived?
33. What advice would you tell your younger self?
34. Which is worse: failing or never trying?
35. Is a minimum wage a good idea? What about a maximum wage?
36. What is the most important goal every person should have?
37. Can anything ever really be considered ‘true’ or is everything subjective?
38. Is the world a better place with humans in it?
39. If extra-terrestrial life was discovered, how do you think humanity would react?
40. Is happiness just a mixture of chemicals circulating through our bodies?
41. Where do you think we go when we die?
42. Have I done anything lately worth remembering?
43. Can you ever have full control over your own life?
44. How do you know that you are not dreaming right now?
45. Is one lifetime enough?
46. What matters most in my life?
47. Is a person ever truly evil? If so, are they born that way?
48. What is the meaning of life?
49. Is humanity going in the right or wrong direction?
50. What does it mean to live a good life?
I hope that you enjoyed these thought provoking existential questions. I hope that they perhaps made you think about your beliefs, yourself and the world around you (the bigger picture). If you discuss these questions with a friend, remember, there is probably no right and wrong answers, usually just a matter of opinion.
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