1. Tell a joke about death.
2. The late 19th century Danish author Searing Alterrailgard begins his magnum opus with the following observation: “It was the fragility of my fragility that at first perplexed me. That I could with a thought, nay, with but a fluttering approaching the potency of a thought, imagine myself into the most utter sovereignty or the basest vulnerability—this was the foundation of all my future troubles. I told myself that all the problems of our age could be reduced to this one: that a man can, in all his virility, surrender ahead of the fact to the most excruciating humiliations and degradations and then, before the ink has dried on the rap sheet of his soul, transform himself into the most ruthless tyrant in the world, and all of this in the soul of that middle-aged accountant you passed this morning without the slightest ceremony.”
Argue either a) that Alterrailgard was doomed to his uncertainty by the blasphemous deeds of his father, and his father before him, and that therefore, any faith in human responsibility is a foolish superstition; or b) that it is not only the fragility of our fragility that should distress us, but that we must go further to fear even the fragility of the fragility of our fragility, and so on even to higher orders.
3. Does the certitude of what we see shackle us to a set of events that uncaring gods ordained eons ago, or is even the existence of our own bodies a tenuous illusion?
4. In his story “The Chasm of Gibraltar,” George Lou Borg writes, “I reached into the nothingness of my pocket, only to find nothingness I had when I left the house and nothing more.” In what ways do you feel your individuality being smothered by the herd?