Some not so big questions

Cross section

Collected here are interesting questions that are of less importance or generality than the major IFAQ.

Unless otherwise stated all articles are by Tad Boniecki. You are welcome to copy, print or quote from any of these essays, unless otherwise specified. If quoting please acknowledge the source.


What is the difference between being in love and projection? Written in March 2016.
¿Cual es la diferencia entre enamorarse y amar? (en español)

The film Spotlight highlights the sexual abuse of children by priests. Why did the Catholic hierarchy consistently conceal these crimes? Written and posted in March 2016.

What do we all have to be grateful about? Written and posted in November 2015.

Are there any advantages to getting older? Written and posted in November 2015.

A short opinion piece on Charlie Hebdo and the fundamentalsits. Written and posted in February 2015.

How do we think? Do we use words or images, or something else? Written and posted in July 2014, updated in February 2017.

People talk loosely about having passions, but what is this thing called passion? Written and posted in June 2011.

What makes a joke funny? Written and posted in July 2007. Updated in May 2014.

What's new and promising in psychotherapy? Here is an introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Worry and Stress. The first part deals with the practical and mental aspects of solving problems. The second part deals with the emotional aspects of solving problems and diminishing stress. Written and posted in November 2006, updated in October 2009. Part 2 was updated on 4 Dec 2007.

What was sin and what is it now? The classical Seven Deadly Sins were lust, anger, sloth, pride, envy, covetousness and gluttony. I define the modern equivalent as an offence against the self. My list: ego, guilt, self-pity, blame, negativity, Having Mode and not living in the present. 3 pages, 2258 words. Written in May 1990, posted on 4 June 2000.

Do we prefer heaven or hell? We like to think that what we do is for the best, but is that really so? I examine the proposition that the human mind is more oriented towards the negative than the positive, and that there is an essential asymmetry between these two factors in an objective sense. 8 pages, 4452 words. Written in November 1991, posted on 18 June 2000.

What is the Enneagram personality typology? The Enneagram classifies people into nine distinct character structures and can provide considerable insight into ourselves. 6 pages, 3647 words. Written in August 1990, posted on 4 June 2000.

What is the nature and purpose of dreaming? 6 pages, 3797 words. Written in March 1991, posted on 4 June 2000.

What is insanity? This is a distillation of a book by Emma Pierce, who went mad and came back to tell her story. It offers some first-hand insights on what makes people become unhinged and what helps them be sane. 7 pages, 3147 words. Written in 1990, posted on 4 June 2000.

Should one give advice? This article asks whether a counsellor (or anyone else) should give advice. 5 pages, 2632 words. Written in 1991, posted on 4 June 2000.

What is the unconscious? 2 pages, 1279 words. Written in April 1990, posted on 4 June 2000.

Philosophy and spirituality

Does Buddhism mitigate or prevent violence? Written and posted in May 2017.

Was Heraclitus right that we cannot repeat an experience? Written and posted in September 2015.

Is being in the moment compatible with leading an inner life? About 5,600 words. Written in July 2013, posted on 15 July 2013.

Why do paradoxes arise and what do they teach us? About 2,000 words. Written in January 2002, posted on 13 January 2002.

Does washing your car make it rain? More generally, what are the paradoxes of material implication and how are they resolved? Written in January 2013, updated in May 2014.

What is Zen about? 7 pages, 4757 words. Written in December 1995, posted on 4 June 2000.

Has our culture lost its innocence? The West has lost its belief in religion, country and the social order which is common to all other civilisations. We know that human beings are causing nearly all the worst problems suffered around the world. Losing cultural innocence amounts to gaining awareness, thinking for oneself and hopefully, assuming responsibility. 15 pages, 6483 words. Written in April 1995, posted on 4 June 2000.

Ever wondered what New Age is all about? I take a very broad view. 5 pages, 2197 words. Written in 1992, posted on 4 June 2000.

Science and computing

Have I discovered the "missing link" between the complex numbers and the quaternions? This paper describes a number system that allows us to add, multiply and divide three-dimensional Cartesian co-ordinates. Written in January 2014, posted in December 2015, and corrected in May 2017 to fix an error spotted by a person with the alias Arctic Tern. Updated in June 2017.

Why does the moon appear larger when near the horizon? This illusion still baffles the boffins. Written and posted in November 2013.

What is non-Euclidean geometry? Written and posted in August 2009.

How was the secret Nazi code called Enigma broken during 1932 to 1945? Written in July 2009, updated in May 2014.

Have we run out of inventions? I argue that despite apparently rapid technological change, there are very few new inventions of any importance. Why is this so? 5 pages, 1903 words. Written in January 1991, posted on 4 June 2000.

How does one create a Website? 2400 words. Written in March 2006, updated 15 April 2011.

What are analogue computers? Written in February 2009.


A cure for cramps
On 21 November 2015 it was 38 degrees C when I got to the squash courts. I played for 2 1/2 hours almost without a break, so naturally I woke with cramps in both legs (calves and ankles) at 2 am. This time I was prepared, having been tipped off by a fellow-sufferer. My bottle of magnesium oil was next to the bed. I sprayed with one hand and massaged it in with the other. Relief was quick. After decades of suffering cramps I finally have a remedy that works. Since that time I now smear on some oil before going to bed each time I think I am likely to get cramps. This works and is much better than waking up with cramps and frantically smearing oil.

The product I bought is called Organic Magnesium Oil, made by Amazing Oils. I got it for $40 from here. It can probably be purchased online more cheaply or you may find it in a pharmacy. I think that a magnesium tablet or powder would not be as effective.

Does post traumatic stress disorder last for life? Written by Jenni Falconer, posted October 2016.

Culture and travel

A visit to the Sahara in Morocco. Written and posted in October 2017.

What is it like to travel in Cuba? Written and posted in October 2016.

I used to wonder about musical interpretation. How does a pianist interpret a Chopin mazurka? Here is a non-technical explanation. Written and posted in September 2015.

What is the point of Abstract Art? 23 printed pages, 7497 words. Written in May 2004, updated on 25 September 2011.

What are commercial movies? How are they different from so-called art films? 3 pages, 1282 words. Written in July 1990, posted on 9 July 2000.

What is the best music? 2 pages, 1119 words. Written in January 1996, posted on 9 July 2000.

Fractals are computer generated graphics based on mathematical equations. Nearly all the images on this site are fractals made by me. Are fractals art? 2556 words, written in January 2000, posted on 6 June 2000.


What is involved in becoming proficient in another language as an adult?


What makes Cuba and its history so interesting? 8 pages, 5,730 words, written in September 2016. Posted in September 2016.
La version en español de mis pensamientos sobre la Cuba esta acqui: Havana Times  

What is wrong with Marx? Written and posted in October 2016.

Is conservatism defensible? 3 pages, 1924 words. Written in June 1998, posted on 9 June 2000.

Should we spare the holy cows? 3 pages, 1008 words. Written in October 1997, posted on 16 June 2000.

Relationships and Sex

Why are stockings so alluring to men? Written in 1988, posted in March 2015.

Why were men invented? If you are male, you have never given this a thought, but instead are mystified why women fall for jerks. If you are female, you have probably pondered this question, but without success. 8 pages, 6156 words, written in July 1992, posted on 21 July 2000.

What are the root causes of sexism? Why have men suppressed women throughout history? 8 pages, 5469 words, written in August 1991, posted on 26 July 2000.

Why are men so hooked on pornography? 5 pages, 3240 words, written in August 1990, posted on 12 August 2000.

What's so good about prudery? 4 pages, 1918 words, written in October 1993, posted on 18 August 2000.


What skills are needed to play good chess? Posted on 27 December 2011, updated in April 2016.
Does chess make us smarter? Posted in October 2016.
Now about these blunders... Posted on 28 December 2011.
How to improve? Posted on 29 December 2011.
What are the Seven Deadly Sins of chess? Posted on 30 December 2011.
Can mature zebras improve their chess? Posted on 3 April 2014.
How to decide on the next move? Posted on 31 December 2011.
What are the three dimensions of chess? Posted on 1 January 2012.
Are there tides in chess? Posted on 2 January 2012.
Is chess a conversation? Posted on 3 January 2012.
How to evaluate a position? Posted on 5 January 2012.
What about women in chess? Posted on 6 January 2012.
Is chess a zero-sum game? Posted on 5 March 2012.
Why do chess problems? Posted on 5 March 2012.
How to win at chess? Posted on 10 March 2012.
How to raise your rating? Posted on 16 March 2012.
How do computers see chess differently from us? Posted on 14 April 2012.
What is this prophylaxis business? Posted on 2 July 2012.
Why do we make errors and how to avoid them? Posted on 4 October 2012.
What computers cannot work out. Posted on 12 October 2013.

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