The Big Question

The learner who dares to ask a Big Question,
explore the interdisciplinarity, and curate the journey,
completes a true rite of passage.

Academy of One: The Power & Promise of Open-Source Learning

Learning is an active, creative, individual process. It’s demanding, and it will take you places you’ve never been. You will stumble, and you will fall. You have to want it badly enough to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get after it.

The term is Open-Source Learning, not Open-Source Being Taught. Open-Source Learning invites learners to a hero’s journey, an exploration that begins with a question about something that is personally relevant and meaningful.

In Open-Source Learning, learners follow their curiosities and passions through academic subjects, multimedia artifacts, hands-on experiences, and conversations with respected practitioners.

Actively co-creating learning experiences is an effective approach for learners of all ages and skill levels. However, it’s important to remember that many learners are never asked what they want to learn – so, as much as they may crave intellectual freedom, they are not prepared for the call to adventure.

Learners may genuinely have no idea what they can learn when they’re not being told what to do. They may reflect on their other schooling experiences and mistrust Open-Source Learning as something that’s “too good to be true.”

The Open-Source Learning teacher must therefore structure a conversation that gives some context, creates trust, and invites students to take the risk of expressing and pursuing what they really want to know.

As described in the book Academy of One: The Power & Promise of Open-Source Learning, teachers introduce learners to Open-Source Learning in dialogue. This page includes a sample course blog post that one teacher used to start such a conversation with a community of high school students.

You can see the original course post here, and additional examples from different academic years – complete with student responses – here, here, and here.

If you’d like to read more about introducing learners to Open-Source Learning in Academy of One, or share the book with your learning community, please scroll to the bottom of the page to receive your 20% discount code.

Teachers and Students: Please feel free to use the elements of the post below that work for you, and customize the approach for the learners in your network.

(Originally published online May 22, 2013)

Our minds are naturally inclined toward associative and interdisciplinary thinking.  We connect the dots in all sorts of ways, often when we don’t fully comprehend the experience – and sometimes when there aren’t even any dots!  

We have questions about the nature of the world: our experience of it, our place in it, our relationship to it, what lies beyond it, and everything else.  When we’re young we ask questions all the time.  We are insatiably curious.  It’s like somehow we intuitively understand that the more we ask, the more we learn, and the more we learn, the better we get at everything – including learning. 

Children don’t worry about curricular units or standards.  They have no test anxiety.  When we’re young we test ourselves all the time.  We love risk and we don’t care if we fail.  It’s always somebody else who’s saying, “Hey, come down from there, you’re going to get hurt!”* [*Of course, sometimes they’re right.  In any case they’re probably more experienced in estimating the odds of that was fun didn’t hurt vs. itchy leg cast for a month outcomes. 

But sometimes you just KNOW you can do it and it’s frustrating to be told you can’t.  Pushing the edge is what learning is all about.** {**As a teacher and responsible adult I must explicitly remind you to do this (i.e., learn and push your limits to create new neural pathways in your brain that actually change your mind) in ways that will not break laws or harm any sentient beings– most especially you– or offend, irritate, annoy, upset, or anger your parents.***} <***If you think this is a lot of footnotes, or whatever we’re calling the blogger’s equivalent, you should read David Foster Wallace (especially Infinite Jest).  He wrote the way Montaigne wrote – to capture his thoughts as they occurred to him. In fact, this is the perfect time for you to consider DFW’s commencement speech (which doesn’t contain footnotes, but does contain the sort of wisdom that more people should hear while there’s still time to do something about it.).  At any rate, if you’re still following this sentence you’ll do fine in this course.>}] 

Not only do we love climbing learning limbs when we’re young, we know it’s what we’re best at.  Most of us learn whole languages best between the ages of 5-12.  Our amazing brains manage the torrential inflow by creating schema

We have every incentive to accelerate and amplify our learning as we age.  Our future is increasingly complex and uncertain.  Our culture and economy favor those in the know.  Learning is increasingly your responsibility as individuals.  

You’re becoming more independent; soon enough you’ll be heading off to college, where your professors may not know you exist. They definitely won’t care how you organize your binder. 

As if all that isn’t motivation enough for you to get your learning on, it turns out that not learning may actually be bad for you.  We form new neurons and connections in our brains when we learn.  Scientists are investigating whether the lack of new neuron formation is a cause for depression or an interfering factor in recovery.

School makes learning hard

When it comes to thinking for yourself in the traditional high school setting, though, there are constraints.  By definition, individualism and divergent thinking don’t regress to the mean or conform to a one-size-fits-all syllabus. Inquiry that doesn’t “fit” in the classroom is too often seen as insubordinate. 

In order to explore reality together without fraying our connections, we will have to find ways to gracefully lose arguments and compromise. Taking the risk to argue is difficult in a culture of fear of punishment and embarrassment that pressures even the smartest and most successful learners to surrender and play the game. 

Motivated learning in the presence of no opportunity dies the same death as a fire in the presence of no oxygen.  The authors of “The Creativity Crisis” say we ask about 100 questions a day as preschoolers – but we quit asking altogether by middle school. 

In his book Orbiting the Giant Hairball, Gordon MacKenzie describes a familiar pattern he encountered when he visited schools as a guest speaker:

“I always began with the same introduction: ‘Hi My name is Gordon MacKenzie and, among other things, I am an artist... How many of you are artists?’
The pattern of responses never failed.

First grade: En mass the children leapt from their chairs, arms waving wildly, eager hands trying to reach the ceiling.  Every child was an artist.
Second grade: About half the kids raised their hands, shoulder high, no higher.  The raised hands were still.
Third grade: At best, 10 kids out of 30 would raise a hand.  Tentatively.  Self-consciously. 

And so on up through the grades.  The higher the grade, the fewer children raised their hands.  By the time I reached sixth grade, no more than one or two did so and then only ever-so-slightly—guardedly—their eyes dancing from side to side uneasily, betraying a fear of being identified by the group as a ‘closet artist.’”

Your future is bigger than school

Richard Saul Werman (the man who created the TED conference) said, In school we’re rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question.”  School and the way it works was designed back when things were very different and oriented around mass production; today, our world is dominated by digital culture. The biggest issues of our time – the environment,  

It is unreasonable to demand that students prepare for jobs that may not even exist after graduation.  And in the age of the search engine, there is no real point in learning facts for their own sake, especially since so many of them eventually turn out not to be facts after all

You have to develop the critical thinking, problem-solving, oppurtunity-seeking, and collaborative skills that will enable you to CREATE a role for yourself in the new economy.  (And don’t worry, if you’re not an entrepreneur by nature, these abilities will help you do whatever else you want to do more effectively.)

So, our first mission is to reclaim the power of the question.  Everything you ask has an interdisciplinary answer.  Show me a cup of tea and I’ll show you botany, ceramics, and the history of colonialism (for starters).  Wondering why your girlfriend doesn’t love you any more?  Psychology, poetry, probability… you get the idea. 

No matter what the question or the answers, you’re going to have to sort the signal from the noise and determine how best to share the sense you make.

What’s your Big Question?  

What have you always wanted to know?  What are you thinking about now that you’ve been asked?  What answers would make a difference in your life, or in the community, or in the world?  What do you wish you could invent?  What problem do you want to solve? 

This is not a trick and there are no limits.  Please comment to this post with your question and post it to your course blog (title: MY BIG QUESTION).  You can always change your question or ask another.  If you need some inspiration, check out this year’s Eng 3 Big Questions here.


  1. Brenna May 22, 2013 at 8:05 PM What is the reason for knowledge being the primary determining factor of our intelligence level, but not imagination or creativity?(Inspired by Albert Einstein)
    • Lisa.KM June 9, 2013 at 5:44 PM Hello Brenna, I have an idea for you. When people decided that they wanted to measure intelligence, they wanted something definite and easily quantified for comparison. Knowledge works well for that, because it can be evaluated with questions/answers that are either right or wrong, which can be tallied and turned into a number score (like IQ tests/tests in general). Imagination and creativity aren’t easily measured, especially since people can have different perceptions of creativity, so any number score given would be arbitrary. Knowledge can be quantified and imagination cannot, so in our hyper-technological society where numbers and statistics are revered above all else, unfortunately intelligence is usually determined by knowledge rather than creativity.
  2. Unknown May 22, 2013 at 8:27 PM Why is the word ‘lisp’ so incredibly hard to pronounce?
    What happens beyond space? It has to end somewhere right?
    • Jacob May 22, 2013 at 9:35 PM Hey Mia, well there are a lot of different theories. For example one of them is that the universe is expanding at a constant rate which would mean there has to be a edge of sorts. However this theory cant be proven due to the fact that viewing that far away would only show you the light and heat signatures given off billions of years ago… so to be honest nobody really knows and it cant be proven any time.
    • Lisa.KM June 9, 2013 at 5:52 PM Well, another viewpoint is that it isn’t the *universe* that’s expanding, just the matter contained in the universe. Space is infinite, but the amount of matter is limited, and has been expanding outwards since the Big Bang. Technically, there would be an “edge” of the expansion of matter, but that wouldn’t be the edge of the universe because space would continue beyond that edge (there would just be nothing in it).
  3. Kelsey May 22, 2013 at 10:49 PM What happens after you die? Not physically, to your body. But to your mind, that little voice inside your head. Does it just turn off? Like someone unplugged the cord? Or is there a sort of “life after death” type situation where your conscious keeps on going?
  4. Unknown May 24, 2013 at 1:34 PM How do you solve a Rubik’s Cube without strategy guides?
    In which ways can you survive in the desert for one week?
    Where did the concept of dimensions come from?
    In Los Angeles there are two notorious gangs (Bloods and Crips), what is stopping them to become at peace?
    Why do field handlers (Strawberry pickers) get such low wages?
  5. Ashley May 25, 2013 at 11:43 AM Why are some people not as positive in their thinking than others? Some people go through hardships in their lives and say that if life didn’t have its tough times, there would be no worth in living; we would simply be “living” but not “alive.” Why is it that when we fail at some things, we can’t be like Timothy Green and say, “I can only get better”? Why is it that one failure, no matter how big or small, can affect us so negatively that we convince ourselves that we are most definitely going to fail if we try again? Why can’t we just accept the fact that if we keep trying, we have a chance of succeeding? Is it the failure that keeps us distressed- or is it because the success can be daunting itself?
  6. Unknown May 29, 2013 at 8:11 AM Why is it that when you get a “broken heart” it feels like its your actual heart?
  7. Lisa.KM June 9, 2013 at 5:23 PM Does everyone see colors the same way? As in, we all see grass as “green,” but perhaps everyone perceives “green” differently?
  8. Miranda June 11, 2013 at 3:13 PM Do events in life occur by chance or happen by fate? and Why is time perceived at different rates? Ex. When you’re having a wonderful time with friends, time seems to fly by. On the other hand, when you’re waiting for an appointment or such, time seems to occur as slow as a snail
    • Lisa.KM June 12, 2013 at 8:10 PM Hi Miranda, my guess is that it’s because of the relative amount of “mental downtime.” For example, when hanging out with friends, there’s always something happening, so there aren’t many opportunities to think about the time. Then suddenly when you DO get to think about the time, it’s like “wow, that went by so fast!” Ho wever, when waiting/doing nothing, there isn’t much happening, so instead you’re more likely to dwell on the time so then it seems to be going slower
    • Miranda July 7, 2013 at 2:32 PM Hey Lisa thanks for the reply, that’s an interesting way to put time passing. Now building off from what you said about waiting/doing nothing causes mental downtime, why is it during class some students can’t focus on what’s happening now in front of them, such as learning a lesson or completing an assignment, even though that is “something happening”?
    • Lisa.KM August 13, 2013 at 8:48 PM I would actually argue that in that moment, when the student is having difficulty focusing on a teacher or assignment, the problem is that to the student it doesn’t count as “something happening.” This is horribly vague, but I guess we’ve defined “something happening” as anything that fully engages your attention, like playing a sport or watching an interesting movie. Other things like reading a dictionary or doing repetitive math homework don’t capture your full attention, so your mind wanders and it feels like “nothing happening.” Hopefully that makes sense 😛
  9. Unknown June 17, 2013 at 9:18 PM Why is world peace sooooo hard to obtain? I mean, if EVERYONE took in consideration other people and stopped being selfish, world peace would not be so hard to obtain!

    Why can’t ALL humans cooperate with each other and make the Earth a better planet to live in? without any violence, corruption, or misery?
  10. Unknown June 19, 2013 at 7:15 PM Where does one draw the line at “motivational” encouragement and detrimental attacks on an individual’s mind?

    In other words, you can compare this to the idea of constructive criticism, when do you decide, and how do you decide when what your saying is no longer constructive, but hurtful? My question follows the same idea. Parents are the most obvious example of this sort of situation; where there is a constant push for their child to do well. They come from a good place, but are they really helping at a certain point? From personal experience I don’t believe telling your child to do everything “perfect” and setting extremely high expectations are helpful. From a young age this slight push to excel in what you do, then begins to manifest itself into something else altogether. It creates mental standards that children often feel they must achieve and if they don’t do the best, it just isn’t good enough, even if what they achieved was perfectly fine. In my opinion the cause of this is the hurtful “encouragement” to succeed is from not only parents, but also the education system, and society as a whole. If these high “standards” aren’t meant you are considered a failure in our society, but is that really true? I suppose my question asks to call into question the cause and the effect.
  11. Unknown June 24, 2013 at 8:10 PM How can one’s mood change by a small thing (picture, word(s), lyrics, melody, name, etc.)?
  12. Miki July 10, 2013 at 2:25 PM How am I going to die? (Plane crash, disease, old age?)
    How long is forever?
  13. Hannah July 22, 2013 at 10:56 AM Why are we as humans so dependent on love? Is it possible to live a fulfilling, rewarding life without loving or being loved in return?
  14. Maddie July 27, 2013 at 12:45 PM How do we determine what is right and what is wrong? Each and everyday we are faced with choices that can determine our path of life and what we could or will become in the future. Decisions we make at different points in time may seem right in that moment, but is it really the best choice? With college applications coming up, this has been on my mind lately.
  15. Allyson July 27, 2013 at 3:39 PM If mirrors or clear reflections didn’t exist, would there still be a concept of beauty and ugliness? Would people risk comparing the appearances of others when they are unfamiliar with their own?
  1. Unknown August 12, 2013 at 1:23 PM I once read a book, and I can’t remember what it was called, but I remember an excerpt of it, and it was set in a Viking time period and this young girl is being admired by a man for the first time in her life, and she doesn’t believe him. She is extremely jealous of an older girl who is supposed to be the very pretty long brown haired beauty, and all she has is curly blonde hair and light skin-both of which she hates. So this man describes her looks (face and his opinion of her hair and skin) to her and continues to admire her, and over time she begins to feel that she is pretty. And so, as the book goes on she becomes more and more conceited, and this one Viking dude has a lot of command over the rest of the village and they start to look at her too, and they all fall in love with her.
    But of course there’s another chick that’s really the prettiest, but she doesn’t actually know what she looks like, she just knows based on what all these men think of her and tell her. So in the end she ends up losing all her self confidence and the new pretty girl starts to manipulate her into not taking care of herself and washing her face, and eventually kills her.
    It was a really messed up story, and some other stuff happened after that, but my point is, while reflections and all of this uphold vanity, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. (In my opinion)
    I believe no matter if there are reflections or pictures or magazines, people are still able to compare what they see to what they believe is their own self, and like that girl, she was oblivious to her beauty because she did not see straight brown hair or a an body similar to this girl that was the prettiest and was getting all of this attention. Until of course, someone else told her, which ended up turning her evil, but that’s another thing…
  2. Unknown August 11, 2013 at 12:11 PM I find it funny that so many people disparage and dislike others based on social standards. We keep these institutions called asylums for all these people we feel can’t operate in society, but maybe we’re the real ones not operating. Maybe we’re the real nuts, unable to think beyond certain limits, unable to do beyond certain limits.
    And to that point, I find it a complete oxymoron that while they are hating on the ones that they deem different, those marked as different hate right back for those they deem to be normal, feeding right back into the vicious circle. And I do it too. I hate so many things, I hate so many different aspects of life and humans and society and of myself.
    And then everyone tells you not to hate. Not to discriminate, not to pass judgment. One love, one soul- all that junk.
    But, are there not so many obvious problems? How can we all pretend to love each other when kids get run over by cars, people get molested, others are shot, animals are harmed, natural resources are over used, politics are manipulated, and good people suffer for the selfish acts of others? Whether on a small scale of bullying on a first grade playground to the worldwide media obsession with inexplicably horrid and gruesome news, are we not all entertained and/or affected by cruelty and hate?
    I guess my question is, why is it so bad to hate?
    Why can I not, with my personal freedoms, choose to hate and be disgusted by the acts of others and society and such? Why is everyone so afraid of hate? You can hate something and still be diplomatic and civil, hate does not immediately mean war or discrimination or death. Hate is an excuse, hate is a word we like to throw in to pretend like it was the issue. Hate, hate is not the problem, the problem is how people use it.
    Did whites hate the blacks, or were they afraid of them?
    Is that young girl screaming at her mother because she hates her, or because she is confused?
    Do you hate that book, or do you just not understand it?
    In conclusion, my even bigger question is, what is the real definition of hate? What does it really mean when someone or something is defined as hating another thing?
  3. Unknown August 11, 2013 at 7:07 PM If our ancestors had decided that rocks and dirt were valuable instead of diamonds and oil, would we be fighting wars over gravel right now?Reply
  4. Rebecca August 11, 2013 at 9:20 PM Why do some people have so much while others have so little? How can one person work so hard and still suffer while another person does very little work but can still have an easy life? Parts of the world are moving on and developing more and more complex things while other parts are left behind without even the ability survive past past childhood.
    The world is unfair and bad things happen to good people but why do we accept this unfairness? Instead of focusing so hard on moving ourselves forward maybe we need to look back at the parts of the world that are left behind and help them catch up.
    Why is it normal for us to waste so much while we know there are people around the world struggling to survive off of so little?
    Why is it such a priority to develop the Iphone 5 but not as much of a priority to develop solutions to world hunger?
    Why is Congress spending ridiculous amounts of time and getting paid well doing everything in their power to oppose the opposite party instead of working together to help people in their county who have nothing?
    Why am I allowed to go to school and live in a house and get a wonderful education while a person in a different country will never get those opportunities?
    Why do we allow all of this to happen?
  5. Unknown August 11, 2013 at 11:25 PM Why are people so quick to judge other people? Whether it be by their clothes or the way they look. Is it because they are insecure about their own flaws?
    1. Anonymous August 12, 2013 at 2:02 PM This comment has been removed by the author.
    2. Eri August 12, 2013 at 4:13 PM I sometimes wonder that myself, and to be honest i have not yet come to any kind of conclusion. What i do know is that as a kid your parents instill in you certain ideas, thoughts and/or opinions. These thoughts may be right or wrong. As you develop your own ideas you decide which ones to throw out and which ones to renew. To accept people you must have an open mind and unfortunately some people refuse to think for themselves and change their ways. I also think it has a lot to do with social media telling us what is “cool” and what is not. It varies, but for sure there are a lot of factor that contribute to this world wide problem.
  6. Unknown August 11, 2013 at 11:43 PM If we all lived in a ” perfect” world would there be such a thing as true happiness, or would it just be considered the normal day-to-day feeling? Would life be boring if nothing went wrong, and there was no excitement? Does having rough patches in life truly help us become better and wiser individuals?
  7. Unknown August 12, 2013 at 11:53 AM What would the world be like now without electronics? Would we all be different and how would we be different?
    1. Unknown August 12, 2013 at 1:12 PM There would be alot of steampunk. And that would be pretty legit. Have you ever seen Wild Wild West with Will Smith? It would probably be like that, all the inventions would run on levers and steam and coal. That sounds really cool.
  8. Elisia August 12, 2013 at 12:27 PM “We all care too much about not caring enough, ’cause we’re all too scared to leave behind our youth.” – Deaf Havana

    Why is everyone so quick to tell someone they don’t care? When in reality, they probably do. Why is the generations to come so quick to have the desire to grow up and think, ” I can’t wait to grow up.” Why is youth always tied into a worry free attitude and innocence? It is not what it always seems

  9. Unknown August 12, 2013 at 1:47 PM Well, I really have spent all summer trying to figure out my big question and I guess I have a lot more to ask than one….. So here it goes….

    So many people are critical on people they have never met before. All their previous knowledge of a person comes from others and not a first hand account, whether it be a rumor or not. So, how would the world be if we didn’t form judgements of people prior to meeting them?

    In advertisements, most commercials or ads feature young, skinny beautiful people when the average American isn’t a model… Why do advertisements create this false sense of reality and do they see how it damages our youth’s self-esteem and self-worth?

    What if we had a media that reported complete facts with no agenda or bias which let us form our own opinions on events, how different would our world be?

    Why do people feel like everything in life is a competition? Life isn’t a race to the finish line, why must we act like it is?

    What makes you who you are? What defines your life? What defines your “living”?
  10. Anonymous August 12, 2013 at 1:55 PM This comment has been removed by the author.
  11. Unknown August 12, 2013 at 4:05 PM Do all people experience emotions on the same level? Is one person’s “rock bottom” another person’s everyday norm? Is one person’s happiest moment another’s average mental state? What makes some people feel deeper or more extreme than others? What stretches this emotional scale? And will this scale ever be measurable?

  12. Eri August 12, 2013 at 4:12 PM Why is it that people in society are intensely interested in pleasing others and/or fitting in to the “perfect” world society has drawn for us? Why the desire to live in that world?
  13. Colter August 12, 2013 at 6:25 PM How are people capable of finding happiness in destitute conditions, yet are also able to find misery or at least discontent in the most optimal of circumstances?
  14. Unknown August 12, 2013 at 7:03 PM Do people ever think about all the other lives that they pass on the street or in the hallways? I used to think about them as other people, but when you think about them all as individual lives, each that sense and have as much experience as you do, it all seems more profound. Would thinking like this has any effect on the way you treat people?
  15. Unknown August 12, 2013 at 7:09 PM Why do people automatically assume the worst in each situation? Are we born like that or are we raised up in a society that thinks like that?
  16. Marisol August 12, 2013 at 8:36 PM Why is it that individuals never seem to truly value life, or what they have until it’s taken from them?

    People often say, “Things happen for a reason.” Do things really happen for a reason?

    Does a person’s name play a role in determining their personality or affecting their decisions?
  17. Meghan August 12, 2013 at 8:49 PM In the end, does good really triumph over evil? Obviously bad things happen every single day, but do those bad events really guide us toward an end that is ultamitely just and fair? In the whole scheme of things, are horrible events, such as an innocent child dying or a wicked man getting off free from a crime he committed, really justified, or can life be ultamitely unfair for some?
  18. Unknown August 12, 2013 at 9:26 PM Why are people 100% ok with being ignorant? We have a vibrant and diverse world out there, why don’t we want to learn all that it has to teach us?
    1. Unknown August 12, 2013 at 9:52 PM That’s a good question Daniel. If I were to change my “Big Question,” I would add on to yours by asking why ignorance is bliss. It sounds cliche, but I have trouble understanding why wisdom reveals feelings of pain while ignorance can lead to a happy, fulfilling life on its own. You’re also right on how we do have an incredible and diverse world, and it is much more fun to go out and explore it than to sit at home and pretend it isn’t there.
  19. Serena August 12, 2013 at 9:56 PM Why is racism so heavily present in today’s society? From subtle things like Miley Cyrus mocking black culture as a whole to blatant race crimes such as Trayvon Martin’s murder.

    And also…Who gets to decide which books students read in school are “good enough”. Just because it’s three thousand years old doesn’t make it automatically profound.
  20. Unknown August 12, 2013 at 10:00 PM Do we help others for the sake of helping others, or do we simply do it to say we did it? To clarify, I look around at a humanitarian community service project and see all of the other volunteers seemingly fake their smiles and get through the day. I’ve always asked myself, do they really enjoy helping others or do they simply wish to add “save the world” to their resume to achieve a sense of higher merit? I guess my question could expand onto something more vague, like are people born good (even though I do believe they are)? Has society shaped the students of America to become so competitive with one another that their values for other human beings almost vanish?
  21. Unknown August 13, 2013 at 2:25 PM To what extent do you shape your own destiny, and what part is left to fate?
  22. Unknown August 13, 2013 at 2:58 PM If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

  23. UnknownAugust 13, 2013 at 3:24 PM They say that music can affect one’s personality and the way they view the world. My question is, how? I feel like the music I listen to has no real affect on me, so does it on others?
    1. Lisa.KM August 13, 2013 at 9:16 PM Listening to music that you like actually releases dopamine, a.k.a. “the happy chemical.” (It’s a little more complicated than that– dopamine is involved in mood, motivation, and reward, but I don’t know enough about it to explain it fully.) This is the part where I ask you if you’ve ever felt a rush of happiness from listening to your favorite song played really loud, but you already said you don’t feel very affected by music. Instead, I hope you’ll take my word when I tell you that when I’m feeling tired or unmotivated, I have a few go-to songs that I can play that always make me feel better.

      Besides dopamine release, I think the overall tone of a song can affect your mood– meter, tempo/BPM, major vs. minor tonality, lyrics, etc. can lend a song a certain emotion, which can change how you feel when you hear it.
  24. Unknown August 13, 2013 at 3:31 PM Why do people change there mood or opinion of someone so quickly?
  25. Unknown August 13, 2013 at 3:39 PM Why people think they have to impress anybody? Why change yourself to fit in? Why do people have to be so judgmental towards others that are different?
  26. Unknown August 13, 2013 at 4:37 PM Are we alone? In the universe and in life itself?
    What’s worse: apathy or ignorance?
    Why is there more loud idiots than quiet geniuses?
    1. Unknown November 6, 2013 at 5:16 PM Haha aren’t all idiots discovered by being loud?
  27. kevin August 13, 2013 at 5:31 PM What is the difference between a life and a soul?
    Is there something created in life that goes beyond some cells?
  28. Unknown August 13, 2013 at 5:49 PM My friends have always thought I was weird because my mind has been blown by this for quite some time…
    Have you ever thought about how it’s impossible to make another color? No matter what you do or how hard you think about it, you can never create a brand new color. I go psycho over this idea.
  29. Unknown August 13, 2013 at 6:05 PM How did language begin? Who decided what each object would be named and how did it spread all over the world?
  30. Unknown August 13, 2013 at 6:41 PM Why are we so quick to judge someone based on appearance?
  31. Haley August 13, 2013 at 8:43 PM Why is there so much poverty in this world? Why don’t we seriously help those in serious need more? Do we not care enough, or too focused on our own lives to worry about anybody else’s? Also the thought going on and on forever bothers me, how does it simply go on and on forever? I just can’t seem to comprehend that.
    1. hawkion March 15, 2016 at 7:31 PM In order for some to live a life of privilege and luxury others must support that. There is no such thing as true equality, if there is top to aim for then there must also be bottom. However humans dont have to be that bottom, I believe that technology can help us reach a point where the people at the bottom can have all of their needs met in order to reach self actualization,.
  32. Unknown August 13, 2013 at 9:02 PM Why are humans so arrogant as to believe that Earth is the only planet in the universe with intelligent life?
    What does my dog dream about?

  33. Unknown August 13, 2013 at 9:19 PM Why can’t we just love each other and not create any problems with each other? Why can’t we use our time wisely instead of wasting our time on other things that will just bring us down? Why can’t we forget about being angry, and focus more on helping people? Why do people create stereotypes and talk bad about other people by just their looks and actions? Why can’t we be united, forget about our problems, forget about putting other people down, and just help others to make a better world?
  34. Nikki August 13, 2013 at 11:07 PM This comment has been removed by the author.
  35. Unknown August 13, 2013 at 11:44 PM “It always rains the hardest on those who deserve the sun.”
    Those that are genuinely good people, who do no wrong against others, are hard working, and have always struggled cannot seem to catch a break. Why is this so?

    Also why is our society good at “pretending”? We pretend to be happy or pretend to be something we’re not. Nowadays pretending seems what we do best. Society seems to be faking it to make it. Why must we pretend? Why must we pretend to be something other than ourselves? Why aren’t our standards good enough for society, that we have to stoop to their unattainable idea of perfection? For in the end, we only lose ourselves to what we pretend to be. Is pretending truly worth it?
  36. Kylie August 14, 2013 at 1:17 AM Here are a few of the more thought provoking questions that I have come up with. The rest of the questions will be posted to my blog if anyone is willing to read them!

    1. Why do some people grow complacent? For example: some people are natural born athletes with all the talent in the world. But they aren’t willing to push themselves and are complacent with just being “good enough.”
    2. If president candidates presented their platforms without any knowledge of their looks or political party, do you think biased opinions would still exist?
    3. It’s said that humans have access to only 5% of their brain capacity. If we were capable of more… What could humanity accomplish?
    4. Do you ever look at all the strangers that pass by you in the hallways and the street and wonder what their story is?
    If science proved or disproved the existence of God, would that change your views on religion?
  37. Unknown August 14, 2013 at 1:40 AM 1.Why is it so much easier to see the negative aspects of other people rather than negative aspects of oursevles?
    2. Why do people dream? What causes us to dream what we dream?
  38. Unknown August 14, 2013 at 5:14 PM 1. Why is ignorance bliss? (eventually it’ll catch up with you, and you’ll just be broken down like on old Chevy, right??)

    2. Why is it that some people have different personalities? Basically, why were we not all born the same? Why are we all different?

  39. Unknown August 14, 2013 at 8:10 PM Why is it that mothers are so much more loving and careful with their last born child? Is it because they don’t want the child to be like the older siblings? Orrrrrr?
  40. Unknown August 14, 2013 at 11:22 PM How is it that other people value there lives (, family etc…) less then anything that they have now?? Why doesn’t it become clear to them that its the only thing they have to stay on earth.
  41. Nikki August 15, 2013 at 12:10 AM My big question is why we can’t appreciate what we have? As I am typing this on my computer that was gifted to me, in my house, where I obtain Internet access, food, and shelter at no cost to me, for a class in which I receive a free public education, I realized that I am very fortunate to possess the tools to finish this Blogger post. There are people in the world who do not have these resources; free educational system, advance placement classes, cheap transportation, electricity, Internet access, food, shelter, water. Yet, I find myself and those around me complaining about how are lives are hard compared to those around us. Which is true, everyone has their own struggles and experiences life differently; but to what extent? As a high school senior, I have more advanced placement classes than I probably should have and also attend a community college part-time and juggle education with my part-time job and extracurricular activities. I find myself striving to fit ever activity into every second of the day and when I pause to watch television and come across a commercial about sending $10 a month to a starving child in Africa or a group of people trying to build homes that have been destroyed by natural disasters, I want to help, I want to send money, I want to put in as much time as I can. Its an interesting distraction from my very scheduled life, leaving to a foreign country and helping others, but how are we supposed to help others when we cannot find the means to help ourselves, nor do we have the funds or resources? I base My Big Question on the Marxist Social Theory: what distinguishes one type of society from another is its mode of production (i.e. the nature of its technology and division of labour,) and each mode of production engenders a distinctive class system in which one class controls and directs the process of production while another class is, or other classes are, the direct producers and providers of services to the dominant class. (Encyclopedia Britannica) The humans who populate this Earth will never be completely satisfied but we may be all on the same social class level in the future. This is ultimately let us appreciate what we have.
  42. Unknown September 16, 2013 at 10:59 AM In our culture today we use a common phrase”if you tell a lie long enough and often enough then it becomes truth”
    So are lies the truth?
  43. Unknown September 23, 2013 at 6:43 PM I have actually two questions..
    1) How are our minds part of the universe?
    2) how do we connect to music with no lyrics?

Lissette’s journey November 6, 2013 at 12:41 PM So I just realized that I did not post my big question on here for some w\strange reason.. Any who. here it is. (copy pasted from my blog post in August)

Why is is that as students, we let other students influence our dreams? and sometime we don’t even peruse them because we’re scared of what others have to say…It’s sad.

You can learn more about ways to engage Open-Source Learners in Academy of One – available wherever you like to buy your books online. To receive a discount of 20% click on the image below & use code RLEGEN20 to order directly from the publisher.