If you should hate small talk as much as I happen to hate it, these questions may make a difference to your experience on a crowded aeroplane, a busy bus. At a stilted family meal. The questions make for excellent small talk with people who have no clue how to speak from the heart – or they produce an interesting silence. I wonder which is more interesting some days. If you must talk to strangers and you are not inclined one bit towards feeding them with the kind of small talk they require, ignore them or ask a few of these provocative questions. They are funny. The people. When you ask them.
Questionnaire from Max Frisch
(From his Sketchbook, 1961-1971)
1. Are you really interested in the preservation of the human race once you and all the people you know are no longer alive?
2. State briefly why.
3. How many of your children do not owe their existence to deliberate intention?
4. Whom would you rather never have met?
5. Are you conscious of being in the wrong in relation to some other person (who need not necessarily be aware of it)? If so, does this make you hate yourself — or the other person?
6. Would you like to have perfect memory?
7. Give the name of a politician whose death through illness, accident, etc. would fill you with hope. Or do you consider none of them indispensible?
8. Which person or persons, now dead, would you like to see again?
9. Which not?
10. Would you rather have belonged to a different nation (or civilization)? If so, which?
11. To what age do you wish to live?
12. If you had the power to put into effect things you consider right, would you do so against the wishes of the majority? (Yes or no)
13. Why not, if you think they are right?
14. Which do you find it easier to hate, a group or an individual? And do you prefer to hate individually or as part of a group?
15. When did you stop believing you could become wiser–or do you still believe it? Give your age.
16. Are you convinced by your own self-criticism?
17. What in your opinion do others dislike about you, and what do you dislike about yourself? If not the same thing, which do you find it easier to excuse?
18. Do you find the thought that you might never have been born (if it ever occurs to you) disturbing?
19. When you think of someone dead, would you like him to speak to you, or would you rather say something more to him?
20. Do you love anybody?
21. How do you know?
22. Let us assume that you have never killed another human being. How do you account for it?
23. What do you need in order to be happy?
24. What are you grateful for?
25. Which would you rather do: die or live on as a healthy animal? Which animal?
Domination is an interesting game to play. We have all spent time trying to dominate – situations, people, opinions. The need to be dominant is a throw-back to our wild. Males and females both do it. Children try it on all the time. Domination is not wholly an unhealthy pursuit, it just depends how far you will go to be the dominator. Take Russia for example, they are busy playing dangerous domination games. They will dominate in Crimea, despite the rising tide of negative public opinion with regards this particular pursuit of power. It would seem that they imagine themselves invincible. Their view is irresponsible, provocative, and it does not sit easy with the global community. Perhaps Russia should give some thought to the fact that they are currently disturbing the balance on our planet. This has consequences. I do not believe that Russia has the right to decide that Crimea needs to be a part of its make-up. Crimea belongs to the Crimeans, not the Russians. In fact, it is peculiarly obnoxious for Russia to be stretching its borders to include land that does not belong under Russia’s thumb. It would seem that Vladimir Putin forgets that invasions did not work well for Hitler in the long run. His big ideas are small-minded. Outdated. In actuality – backward. In fact it has to be asked – who exactly does Russia think it is? It cannot convince anyone that its objectives are honourable, no matter how earnest its self-righteous claims.
Domination is a key factor in relationships. Traditionally, women have learned and played the submissive role. Men have been the dominators. Of course there are many exceptions to this rule, but conditioning has seen to it that men stand head and shoulders above women when it comes to being ‘in charge’. It is refreshing to see the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, making inroads in a male-dominated industry. Politics is an industry, as much as capitalism is an industry. It is encouraging to watch Hilary Clinton at work in her fields of expertise – the adherence to the ways of women bodes well for the future of global diplomacy. There are good reasons why women are usually better at diplomacy than men are. Theirs’ is a learned patience, an inherent understanding of how the world and its people work.
Sex is about domination. Base instinct sees males mounting females in Nature, although it should be remembered that mating in Nature is most often consensual. A male will seldom mount a female unless she has given him the go-ahead. With humans, it is not always this way. There seems to be a subliminal need for humans to demonstrate their prowess – their core ‘power’ – by being the person ‘on top’. Both men and women subscribe to this theory of sexuality and both use their wiles and their ways to make their statement of fact. Be aware that rape is about domination. Slavery is about domination. Domestic violence is about domination, as is child abuse. Think about it. Domination needs careful management. Ungoverned, it creates problems, pain, wars.