A question to answer a question.

Good at what? Imagine you’re shopping for a community. What inspires you about its purpose?

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, where am I?
If not now, when?
{Hillel}
I think many people assume … that a company exists simply to make money. W(e) have to go deeper and find the real reasons for our being.{David Packard}

Bruce Jones, the senior programming director at the Disney Institute, shares a fascinating insight in Talking Point, the Disney Institute journal:

Purpose answers why? and mission answers what?

“A mission is something that describes the organization’s business,” Jones says, “and it projects into the future to provide focus for management and staff.” My take-away from Jones is that missions may change over time, and should, but purpose needs no historical context: if purpose means why then the same answer is as valid now as it was in 1958. Put slightly differently, one does not fulfil a purpose.

Hillel’s Riddle

One does not fulfil purpose — it is a why, not a what — but it is possible to leave purpose unfulfilled, and to overcome this dilemma we must pose three other questions — who? where? and when?Adding these three questions still leaves the question how unanswered, and we will answer it below. This is Hillel’s riddle (my answers are on the second row):

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am for myself alone, where am I?
If not now, when?
No one
Alone
Never

The riddle, originally stated in Hebrew, poses an interesting dilemma: it’s perfectly sensible to translate the Hebrew of the second question as either “who am I?” or “what am I?”

English questions can sometimes be similarly hard to distinguish. Hebrew asks where but what does “where” mean? Aren’t I here? The simple answer: I cannot be alone in a group but I can be lonely, thus “alone” answers where and “lonely” answer what. Isolation is the consequence either way.

The Reality of Moral Philosophy

I have no idea why moral points need a philosophical basis. Ethics are the rules humans make to get along with each other, and so morality is an expectation that humans can behave ethically. If moral points are an expectation, however, whose expectation are we to meet?

There is no way to avoid G!d. Even Einstein couldn’t avoid G!d.