St Anthony's School Hampstead

St Anthony's Girls School Hampstead

Our Ethos

St. Anthony's aims to provide high quality education in a caring, supportive and Catholic environment, infused by Christ's Gospel, in order that each of our pupils is able to develop fully as an individual, well-adjusted to the wider community.

Headmaster's CorneR

Paul Keyte assumed the Headship of St Anthony's School in September 2010.  He is very familiar with the area, having held a Deputy Headship post at nearby Highgate School and, most recently, South Hampstead High School.  Paul graduated with First Class Honours at Oriel College, Oxford, where he read Philosophy and Theology.  He began his career at Dulwich College.  He was Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies at King's College School in Wimbledon.  After serving as a Pastoral Undermaster there, he went on to be Senior Master Academic at Winchester College.  He is married to Emily, who is an English Teacher, and has a Six year old son named Benedict.

Headmaster's Review - Easter 2017

Headmaster's Review - Summer 2016

Headmaster's Review - Easter 2016

Headmaster's Newsletter - Christmas 2015

Headmaster's Newsletter - Summer 2015

Headmaster's Newsletter - Easter 2015

Headmaster's Newsletter - Christmas 2014

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Paul's Puzzle

Each week the Headmaster sets puzzle questions to provoke discussion.  Pupils may answer in any form they think fit: answers include poetry, animated films, cartoons etc.

Paul's Puzzles this week are:

Either

 Could you have science without numbers?

 Or

 Why is it that there seem to be  so many significant examples of mathematical  and musical child prodigies, yet almost no examples of poetry prodigies? (The term child prodigy is normally defined as a person, under the age of ten, who produces meaningful output in some domain to the level of an adult expert performer!)

 Or

 How could you prove that a sheep dog can or cannot be ' ''counting" sheep' ? If they are not, what explains what they are doing?

 Or

 Does the word eternal mean the same thing as everlasting? (What do we mean when we say God or the Big Bang creates time? )

 

Many Congratulations to all those who took part in the UK Maths Challenge and special congratulations to the 8 Gold medallists and  3  Junior Maths Olympian Candidates.

    

Previous puzzles:

 

 Either

 

Do computers increase human safety or create even greater threats to human survival?

 

Or

 The comedian Eddie Izzard says we should be much more baffled by the fact that bees make honey and yet earwigs do not make chutney; that ant colonies work so efficiently yet flies fly into window panes? Does he have a point?

 Or

 Can anyone who seriously understands what we now know about the nervous systems and brains of chickens, cows and sheep honestly eat animals with a clear conscience?

  Or

 Sadie, Niayazi and I have all been to see 42nd Street and loved it. How can we explain, scientifically, the wonder and joy which tap dancing evokes? (Fred Astaire is surely one of the proofs for the existence of a divine force!)

 Either

 Is it possible to really understand human history, before the twentieth century, if you have not ridden a horse

 Or

 If a man's best friend is his dog, should we expect dogs to be resurrected in heaven to be with their owners? 

 Or

 Why are cats so deceitful and sneaky? Or is that just my bias?

 Or

 Are we the only animals that laugh?  (Q How do you count cows? A: With a cowculator. ...sorry!)

 Either

  How does; how can, a voice move us... even to tears?

 Or

 If you and I are having the same thought, for example, '3 x 3 =9', is the same part of our brain in exactly the same chemical state? If I have  this thought

in a dream, is that also the case? What about a dream which in which I  see colours but my eyes are closed? (I am dreaming about the green trees!)

  

Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,

Withdraws into its happiness;

The mind, that ocean where each kind

Does straight its own resemblance find,

Yet it creates, transcending these,

Far other worlds, and other seas;

Annihilating all that’s made

To a green thought in a green shade.

 (With apologies to my TG1 History set!)

 Or

 Why are some people more curious and fascinated than others? One man's mystery seems to be another man's cause to yawn?

  To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour

 Or

 Is playing an instrument which necessitates using your lungs and lips, throughout, more difficult than  one which doesn't? How did humans think of generating sounds in these odd ways?

 Either

 Why don't we have a strong desire to send men back to revisit the Moon? It was one of my dreams as a child and I had hoped to go there before popping my clogs!

Or

 What makes me still watch Dr Who so avidly? Does it show that I have not grown up properly... or the opposite?!

 Or

 How can anyone take Star Wars seriously once they have watched Dr Who? 

 Or

 How far does being successful depend on luck?

 Either

 Do wasps know how irritating they are?

 Or

 Is it really sensible to spend £4.6 million pounds of Lottery funding to save rare  butterflies, and bees etc., from extinction when innocent humans are dying all over the world? If we protect them, why don't we stop cats killing birds or teeny weeny mice?

 Or

 Watching 42nd Street  at Drury Lane last Saturday, and Sadie's Dance shows this week, gave me as much pleasure and fulfilment as anything I have 'read' or 'thought about' this year. Does that  tell me something  profound about dance or does it reveal a weakness and worrying lack of seriousness in me? (Am I living in Do La La Land?!)

 Or

 Why have beards come back in to fashion? What does a beard tell us about a person? (Or are they pointless?)

Paul’s Puzzles this week are: based on Niyazi and the staff and pupils' brilliant Shakespeare week!

 Either

 “We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded by a sleep.”

 

How can you prove you are not dreaming NOW?

Or

Horatio: O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!

Hamlet: And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Why do humans think that their tiny brains could ever understand the ultimate reasons for everything? Could there be aliens looking at us and our science with contempt and other aliens looking at those aliens with contempt too? (And so ad infinitum.....)

Or

 Juliet: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet."

Do any things have to have the names they have? If not, how do we actually know the meanings of any sequence of letters? What language does my brain read in? Welche Sprache liest mein Gehirn? Dans quelle langue mon cerveau est-il lu?

  Or

 Lorenzo: "The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils."

 

Is there any link at all between liking good music, or being a good composer and being a good person?

 

 

Either

Is it possible to measure,  define and explain what causes happiness? (I hate olives: you love them? Adele makes me cringe, yet she sells millions of records. I hate netball... but love basketball?)

Or

Do grey squirrels have a right to life, even if the red squirrels got to England first? How long do you have to live in a country, or habitat, to have a right to live there? 

Or

Can you be accused of cheating if what you do is within the rules of a sport or tax system? ( Think of Italian rugby, Bradley Wiggins, Jimmy Carr??....Greg Chappell!)

Or

At this time of the year, when I hear the first lawn mowers, and smell the first grass cuttings, nature's wonderful rebirth hits me? Will humans ever lose that sense of wonder for new buds and birdsong? Do birds and squirrels and trees 'feel' the new life?

These Larkin poems  have haunted and bewitched me since school; a kind of reticent English Existentialism is within both!

 “The trees are coming into leaf Like something almost being said; The recent buds relax and spread, Their greenness is a kind of grief. Is it that they are born again And we grow old? No, they die too. Their yearly trick of looking new Is written down in rings of grain. Yet still the unresting castles thresh In fullgrown thickness every May. Last year is dead, they seem to say, Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.”             

Ignorance

Strange to know nothing, never to be sure Of what is right, or true, or real But forced to qualify: Or so I feel Or: Well, it does seem so, Someone must know Strange to be ignorant of the way things work Their skill at finding what they need, Their sense of shape, and punctual spread of seed And willingness to change Yes, it is strange Even to wear such knowledge---for our flesh surrounds us with its own decisions--- and yet spend all our lives on imprecisions, that when we start to die have no idea why.

Either

Storm Doris made me feel how vulnerable we are under all our apparent sophistication. Is that an over-reaction or do we overate our mastery of nature?

 Or

Should parents who let their children eat 'the equivalent of 20 Custard Creams a day' (73g sugar!) be prosecuted? (What about Headmasters who hand out Golden Toffees?)

 Or

Do the fates of Wayne Rooney and Claudio Ranieri show how morally vacuous football is or prove its healthy focus on excellence and the avoidance of complacency?

 Or

Does President  Trump's use of Twitter provide the conclusive evidence of what an inherently pointless and stupid thing it really is, or does he simply corrupt a medium and channel of  democratic  expression ?

Either 

Is there a limit to the number of real friends a sensitive human being can realistically have? (If so, what is it?) 

(Year 8 may remember, from the Jean Vanier documentary, his observation that we have had a revolution in the ways to communicate, but a seeming reduction in 'being really present' to each other...!)

Or

In the Junior House assembly on Friday we discussed sustainable growth, and sang All Things Bright and Beautiful and then listened to: Here Comes the Sun, sung by Paul Simon, Stills and Nash. It was joyful moment and the Hall was suddenly irradiated and suffused by sunshine and smiles.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muFOeZSIC2U

 How does music have this power over our minds and bodies?

 Or

 Can you actually explain to your son what sunlight is, and torchlight and candlelight? (I can't!)

 Or

 How can I explain the fact that the colour and taste of BEETROOT continue to stop me in my tracks: whenever we have it in salad, or have beetroot soup, or I chop one up, it strikes me as a mini-miracle of vividness, like my sight of first summer buttercups.

 ( I know it is just BEETROOT.  Oddly, celeriac has the opposite effect and so does celery: creepy and dull and BORING. ((Cucumber used to too, but it too now exercises a similar mystery, but quietly, and subtly. )

 Either

Would you expect all inhabited planets in the universe to have birds on/in them?  (I still find the existence of birds deeply unlikely and queer, even though I did science A levels! (Thank you to Justin for his excellent assemblies on the RSPB today. Do encourage the boys to count the birds!))

Or

Are birds excited by flight or do they simply do it? How could you test if they feel exhilarated or joyful?

Or

Does the existence of giraffes underline the unexpected beauty of nature or its possible absurdity?

Or

Should a civilised country ban people from shooting grouse?

  1.  Why are shadows often more interesting than the things causing them?

 2.  Can God truly believe in something being 'random' yet still be all knowing?

 3.  Does my beloved dog Fred know how smelly he is or to him, does his smelliness have the fragrance of a fine aftershave? (Are 'smells' just subjective?)

 4.  Am I wrong to still be baffled and even astonished by the number and variety of languages human beings have evolved? There just seem to be too many relative to our common experiences? (And 'tenses and moods?)

 

 Either

Does it really matter, in the long run, if Pandas cease to exist?  If so, why? (Are you pandering to a sentimental view of animal life?)

Or 

Is it true that all countries have seven days in their week? If so, is that significant?

 Or

 Wouldn't elections be much more fun and maybe more fair, if polls were banned?

 Or

 It does not feel as if  I am  instructing  my fingers how to type this puzzle, or my 2nd and 3rd fingers,  in my right hand, how to play G sharp, with the 2nd and 3rd valve on my trumpet. I don't tell my eyelids to blink either: all three are still really mysterious to me.

However hard I think, and however many coloured science diagrams I look at, how come I don't feel I am anywhere more close to explaining these, than when I was first struck by them as a child beginning to type & beginning to learn my trumpet?

 

Either

 

Should a singer who receives the Nobel Prize for Literature, but does not acknowledge it for two weeks, be awarded

a Nobel Prize for Disdain? (*******)

Or

 

Why do we never lose our love of rhyme? (Children and adults seem blissfully united in this enduring pleasure?)

 

Or

Do you really understand the night sky and why the planets move as they do, better than the people we mock from the 17 Century?

 

 

Or

 

'Monkeys are so similar to humans, that it makes it  invaluable to experiment on them to save humans.'

Monkeys are so similar to humans: that's what makes it so immoral to experiment on them.'

 

Is there a way to address this dilemma if you really think human life is sacred? 

 

Or

 

If you are against experimenting on monkeys, to save dying humans, must you logically be a vegetarian?

 

Or

In a time of scarce and limited resources and increasing human tragedies, surely we should spend money training doctors rather than vets?

 

Or

 

What makes some sounds so particularly poignant and haunting; for me today: a deep church bell, the rustle of leaves in Autumn, the...plop...of a pebble thrown into a really still pond?

 

 

 

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

I can forgive Bob Dylan almost anything for the rhymes and melody in this perfect work of art!

 

They sat together in the park As the evening sky grew dark She looked at him and he felt a spark tingle to his bones ’Twas then he felt alone and wished that he’d gone straight And watched out for a simple twist of fate They walked along by the old canal A little confused, I remember well And stopped into a strange hotel with a neon burnin’ bright He felt the heat of the night hit him like a freight train Moving with a simple twist of fate A saxophone someplace far off played As she was walkin’ by the arcade As the light bust through a beat-up shade where he was wakin’ up, She dropped a coin into the cup of a blind man at the gate And forgot about a simple twist of fate He woke up, the room was bare He didn’t see her anywhere He told himself he didn’t care, pushed the window open wide Felt an emptiness inside to which he just could not relate Brought on by a simple twist of fate He hears the ticking of the clocks And walks along with a parrot that talks Hunts her down by the waterfront docks where the sailors all come in Maybe she’ll pick him out again, how long must he wait Once more for a simple twist of fate People tell me it’s a sin To know and feel too much within I still believe she was my twin, but I lost the ring She was born in spring, but I was born too late Blame it on a simple twist of fate

 

 

Either

Can pop lyrics really be considered worthy of a Nobel Prize for Literature? (Next year it surely has to be Leonard Cohen?!!)

Or

If it is legitimate to have a Nobel Prize for Literature, why isn't there one for music?

Or

Would you rather be a hammer or a nail?

Or

Is it possible to explain the joy of music to someone who is deaf?

Or

Is writing a great song a greater achievement than writing a great poem? 

Either

What is the difference between bending  a rule and exploiting it? (Is Bradley Wiggins really less guilty than Maria Sharapova?)

 Or

 Q. 'Why did the melon jump into the swimming pool?' A. 'Because it wanted to become a watermelon?'

 How can I explain the joy that simple shared silly joke gave me, when my 8 year old son told it to me? It was more pleasurable than all the clever jokes I have heard since.

 Or

 'Without hurricanes, we would not have the incentive to do science or geology or reflect on nature. These seemingly cruel natural events are needed if human beings are to be curious and thoughtful...'

 

Is that idea (expressed by one of my Year 8s) the beginning of an explanation of natural evils or a terrible twisting of ideas?

 Or

 Can you really be 'naturally' good at music or maths? If so, does that mean there is a scientific reason for this natural gift? If you are 'naturally good at it', should you get less praise than people like me who have to work our socks off to get to your level? !

Either

 Is it wrong for someone to swat irritating weirdly whining late summer wasps, if they are unlikely to be genuinely hurt by them? If so, should the beautiful fish ate at lunch today be accorded the same protection?

 Or

 Should we be pleased and encouraged that so many people watch and feel passionate  about the future of a programme about baking, or really worried and depressed about the waste of time thinking and writing about it?

 Or

 

Should schoolchildren in the UK pledge allegiance to the Union Jack in the way that American schoolchildren do their flag?  If not, why not? (If not, should American children stop doing what they do?) (With apologies to my year 8 US students!)

 Or

 Can any scientific theory fully explain why we have organs (musical ones!), bassoons, trumpets, oboes and violins.....?

 Either

 How can I  convince  my son that I actually understand what ultimately causes thunder and lightening?  He keeps asking me what electricity is REALLY? (I failed abysmally around 3.am this morning!)

 Or

 How can I convince my son that I actually understand what causes a heatwave?  (I failed abysmally around 3.am on Wed morning!) 

Or

 Is it possible that other animals are making jokes and laughing with each other?  How could we prove they have a sense of humour? Do spiders spin jokes about the world wide web? Do dogs laugh at doggerel? Can a Moose be amused?

 Or

 What explains why we love dancing and how it provokes such laughter and awe?

 Either

Does the Brexit vote show the beauty of the British democratic  system, or spell the end of it in its most wholesome and decent form?

Or

Do the Euros really matter in a Europe which is so troubled  by the effects of war and poverty and strife; how can we ignore the real news and worry about Wayne Rooney's calf muscles?

Or

Why do people bother to write sonnets? 

Or

A new supercomputer from China has topped the latest list of the world's most powerful machines.

The 93 petaflop Sunway TaihuLight is installed at the National Supercomputing Centre in Wuxi.

At its peak, the computer can perform around 93,000 trillion calculations per second.

Don't news reports such as this suggest that it is only a question of time before we are replaced or destroyed by machines? Why do we seem so unconcerned about the fact we are creating our own destroyers?

 

 

Either

Who really decides where the border of a country is and do they do it fairly? (Or is it a case of ..'The strong do what they want, and the weak suffer what they must!)

Or

How do  sound waves  become music? Does my dog know I am practising a Paul Simon song? Or does he just hear noises? (Does he secretly like 'You ain't nothing but a hound dog?')

(MANY THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO SUPPORTED THE CABARET DINNER.)

Or

Is it immoral to like boxing because those who box are inevitably destroying each other's brain cells? (Wouldn't teachers who encouraged such activities be sacked?)

Or

Can you fully explain why the first smell of summer's new mown grass, and the sound of cricket, can move someone to tears?

Either

 

Could an all powerful God destroy Jose Mourinhno? If not why not, if so why hasn't he?

 

Or

 

Why don't adults run around and have playtime / breaktime, as children do? Shouldn't they be given breaktime at work, where they play football, skip or simply play hide and seek? 

 

Or

 

Was I wrong to let a spider be washed down my bathroom sink today, when I was shaving, and could have easily let  it out onto the window- ledge?

 

 

 Or

 

Can anyone in your family really explain the origin of electricity and how the electric energy  in your brain works? I have been trying to with my seven year old son and have a headache. I bet computers don't get headaches!

 

 

******************************************************************************************************************************************************* Today brought this lovely poem to mind.

 

i thank You God for most this amazing

by  e e cummings

 

i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes (i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay great happening illimitably earth) how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any—lifted from the no of all nothing—human merely being doubt unimaginable You? (now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

 

Why shouldn't taxpayers know what the Queen says to people, if we feel entitled to know what the Prime Minister says? Isn't the way she is treated undemocratic?

 Or

More people die from horse-riding than boxing; ...does that mean that if boxing should be banned, so should horse-riding?

Or

Does Donald Trump's possible rising to power show the good in democracy or the fatal weakness?

Or

How can you rationally decide what counts as a morally appropriate wage for: Gary Lineker, Graham Norton, Fiona Bruce, Wayne Rooney or Adele? Should Rooney or Lineker be paid more than David Cameron?

Or

Why is constantly making fun of a male politician's hair and interpreting it, considered acceptable, but doing the same of a female politician's, deemed sexist and offensive? 

  

Either

Would aliens understand why we have pets? Do you? How can anyone take gerbils seriously? (With apologies to my y4 sets!)

Or

Do flies know that they are flying?

Or

Captain America Civil War? Captain America; total bore?

Why are so many films like this being made when the characters are just so obviously silly? (OK: I admit I quite liked Antman.)

Or

Are marathons more about mental strength than physical strength? How can we define will power?

 Paul's Puzzles April 22nd

Either

If we found out that monkeys thought about God, how would/should that change our attitude to putting them in cages, or experimenting on them?

Or

If it is true that we can understand how birds talk to each other, is it possible they have worked out how we do? 

Or

If my brain is really running some kind of computer programme, who wrote the code? Is there one super-coder responsible for all the sub codes?  If it is nature, are you saying that coding is the result of random processes?

Or

Is Minecraft more important than Mozart?

Or

Could you  programme a robot to be free? Could you programme a robot to think it were free, when it wasn't? Which is the smarter programme?

Either

Will computers ever be able to write convincing novels? If you say yes, does that mean we should not praise writers so much;  or we should praise programmers of the future even more than novelists!?

 Or

How is it possible for characters in novels to be as 'real' as real people? (Oliver Twist and David Copperfield  are as real to me as the boys I read the novel with at school !)

Or

How is it possible to re-read a novel, if the words have the same meanings?

Or

What happens to the characters in a novel when you close the book having read the last page? Where is Matilda now? Is the Giraffe still dancing?

Paul's Puzzles Feb 26th 2016

 

Either

Why did human beings start to write poetry? How does it help us evolve?

Or

Why do people worry so much about their haircuts?

Or

Will science ever explain why eating my ripe melon at lunch today gave me such a sense of joyfulness? I felt so alive, yet it is such a simple act. The colour of and eating of beetroot, bizarrely does the same!

Or

Elusive, effusive, allusive, illusive; invasive, evasive….how can little marks and ciphers, on paper, trigger the mind so effectively with so much MEANING? (Rig, Rug, Rag, Big, Bug, Bag, Bog, Hive, Live, Love, Lobe, Be, Bee, Been……..) 

 

Either

Do I really know how a battery works? Do you?

 Or

Is it possible that trees might have feelings?

 Or

If there is theoretically an infinite number of universes, is there theoretically a large number of them containing Stephen Hawkings and Brian Coxs… discussing the possibility?

 Or

Can we genuinely understand what it must be like to be a Bowhead whale? (And you thought bats were baffling!)

The bowhead whale is second only in size to the mighty blue whale. Its enormous bow-shaped mouth, the largest mouth of any animal, contains a baleen measuring three metres. The 300 plates filter out the tiny crustaceans from the water which make up its diet. Discoveries of ancient ivory and stone harpoon heads in the flesh of individuals suggest bowhead whales may live for more than 100 years, possibly up to 200 years. This would make them the longest lived mammal known.

Either 

('Think big-your brain can store 4.7bn books' … Headline: front page of The Times)

 How can brain cells ‘store’ ideas? (The more I try to think about it, the stranger and baffling it seems. My brain is so physically small, but what is ‘stores’ seems so big! Could someone put my memories on a memory ‘stick’?

 Or

 ‘Mystery of wandering man with no memory’; headline in Times p.23!

 How can you be sure your memories are your memories? If you lost all your memories, would you still be you? How would you know?!

 Or

 Why is it that I can remember some German words without seeming to be trying and yet some won’t…’stick’, however hard I try?

 Or

 Does my dog, Fred, remember his ‘puppyhood’ as I remember my ‘childhood’? (Does he recognise pictures of himself as a puppy?)

 *******************************************************************************************************************

Great is the power of memory, a fearful thing, a deep and boundless manifoldness; and this thing is the mind, and this I am myself. What am I then? What is my nature? A life various and manifold, and exceeding immense. Look, the plains and caves and caverns of my memory are innumerable and innumerably full of innumerable kinds of things, either through images, as all bodies; or by actual presence, as in knowledge of the arts; or by certain notions or impressions, as the emotions and feelings of the mind which—even when the mind does not feel—the memory retains. And whatever is in the memory is also in the mind—over all these different memories I run or I fly: I dive into memories on this side and on that, reaching as far as I can, and there is no end to them. So great is the force of memory, so great the force of life, even in the mortal life of man.

***********************************************************************************************************************

St Augustine

Either

Can pop music really have the significance suggested by the near hysterical reaction and praise of David Bowie? I am a fan; I was genuinely sad,  but, did he really merit the TV & press coverage he received?

Or

Star Wars; Star Bores! Should parents be fined for encouraging another generation of children to have their minds warped by such a silly epic and bank accounts emptied to buy silly squeaky robots?

Or

Can we really explain the pure and simply pleasure of looking at Christmas lights when you first switch them on, while the rest of the room is dark? Or fireworks? (Are they perhaps evoking folk memories of the Big Bang?)

Or

Can you really understand what it is to have a sense of smell? There seems no reason why things smell... as they do to us? (If you think this trivial , just consider for a minute the fascinating use of sniffer dogs by the police, and medics.) 

Either

Is it really possible that men and women have different kinds of mind or are they made to believe they have?

 Or

 Does refusing to use a nuclear weapon, in any circumstances, show moral courage or moral cowardice?

 Or

'If we truly understand the 'meaning of Christmas, shouldn't we donate all our Christmas present money to charity?'

'Donating all our Christmas present money to charity, will lead to massive unemployment at Christmas, for those who make Christmas presents?'

Is there a way to deal with this dilemma beloved of those economists who scorn religious simplicity? 

 Or

Does Santa Claus prove that men can multi-task, contrary to their reputation?

Either

Is it really possible that men and women have different kinds of mind or are they made to believe they have?

 Or

 Does refusing to use a nuclear weapon, in any circumstances, show moral courage or moral cowardice?

 Or

 

'If we truly understand the 'meaning of Christmas, shouldn't we donate all our Christmas present money to charity?'

'Donating all our Christmas present money to charity, will lead to massive unemployment at Christmas, for those who make Christmas presents?'

 Is there a way to deal with this dilemma beloved of those economists who scorn religious simplicity? 

 Or

 Does Santa Claus prove that men can multi-task, contrary to their reputation?

Either

Is it really possible that men and women have different kinds of mind or are they made to believe they have?

 Or

 Does refusing to use a nuclear weapon, in any circumstances, show moral courage or moral cowardice?

 Or

 

'If we truly understand the 'meaning of Christmas, shouldn't we donate all our Christmas present money to charity?'

'Donating all our Christmas present money to charity, will lead to massive unemployment at Christmas, for those who make Christmas presents?'

 Is there a way to deal with this dilemma beloved of those economists who scorn religious simplicity? 

 Or

 Does Santa Claus prove that men can multi-task, contrary to their reputation?

Why are we not astonished, daily, by birds and insects', (...even ants') ability to navigate so well and without refuelling mid-flight? (We need Satnav and petrol! If I disappeared for a few weeks and was filmed migrating across an ocean somebody would comment.)

 Or

We think the Tardis odd & amazing  because it is bigger on the inside, than on the outside: but are not our brains the most amazing version of a Tardis? And, we can time travel in them when we write and dream? (Our minds are  so much bigger than our heads!)

 Or

 

 

 

 

 

All Tim Vine Originals.

 

How can the same letters/sounds MEAN something so different? Will computers ever get these jokes or be progammed to understand them?

 Or

If I don't know the name of a colour, am I actually seeing/perceiving it?

 

Acid green

Aero

Aero blue

African violet

Air

Air Force blue (USAF)

Air superiority blue

Alabama crimson

Alice blue

Alien Armpit

Alizarin crimson

Alloy orange

Almond

Amaranth

Amaranth deep purple

Amaranth pink

Amaranth purple

Amaranth red

Amazon

Amber

American rose

Amethyst

Android green

Anti-flash white

Antique brass

Antique bronze

Antique fuchsia

Antique ruby

Antique white

Ao (English)

Apple green

Apricot

Aqua

Aquamarine

Arctic lime

Army green

Arsenic

Artichoke

Arylide yellow

Ash grey

Asparagus

Atomic tangerine

Auburn

Aureolin

AuroMetalSaurus

Avocado

Aztec Gold

Azure

Azure (web color)

   

Either

Is it possible that some people are 'joke-blind' in the way that some people are 'colour blind'? (S/he just doesn't get it!; the joke-penny never drops?)

Or

 

Why do some landscapes make us tingle with a sense of awe? Is this an animal reaction or 'human' reaction?(With apologies to my RS set.)

Or

How do you explain  the piquancy and sheer joy of a melting Malteser in the mouth. (Had one the other day, and it was as delightful as lunch at the Ivy! I feel the same with Quavers which combine tastiness and nostalgia....)

Or

Am I  mad  to be sad about the lone late November wasp which has haunted my office these past two days; or the spider I accidently washed down my sink this morning when shaving?

(Kierkegaard said that the mere being of a fly terrified him..)

Or

Bonus film buff question for Hunger Games Fans

What explains the power of Katniss Everdeen over adults and boys and girls' imagination. ? Isn't she far more interesting than

Harry Potter or Alex Rider, or James Bond?? 

 

Either

Is it wrong for me to spend more on my dog Fred's pet food than I do on helping starving refugees?

Or

Is spin bowling a proof for the existence of God? Surely, nothing so exquisite and so trivial (and so causally efficacious) could be the result of chance?

Or

Is it scientifically possible that we really are the only intelligent conscious life in the universe? What makes that an unscientific claim? Why is it credible to claim that it is obvious that there are so many others that we should not be surprised by us? (Why don't these n's/millions of other intelligences make themselves known to us?)

Or

Is it possible to imagine a world where Jose Mourinho's luck will really run out and Arsene Wenger's actually kick in?

Does it  make sense to say we make our  own luck?

Either

Aren't the real 'tricks and treats' during Halloween that supermarkets (and other outlets) trick children and  parents out of pocket money, while  they make absurd profits with overpriced and pointless things? Surely the money should be given to worthier causes?

Or

Are we naive to believe that the security services and police don't already monitor all our web browsing and phone calls?

Or

Isn't James Bond about the worst kind of role model for us to look up to?  (...Would a Jenny Bond be any better?)

Or

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~Albert Camus

After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things....
It is difficult even to choose the adjective
For this blank cold, this sadness without cause...

~Wallace Stevens

Is it possible to fully explain why nature affects our moods so powerfully? It seems to have a piercing, poignant, poetic impact of its own.

Two beautiful renditions of Schubert's (Autumn) Herbst!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7bE5QCoxmM

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oJWk3DschM

Either

Is it possible that we are genetically programmed to like poetry? How would you prove it?

 Or

 Is it true that some poems cannot be translated between languages? If so, does that mean that some thoughts are unique to different languages?

 Or

 Could we programme a computer to enjoy and feel the pleasure of a great metaphor or simile; won't it just translate the meaning but miss the joy? ( The philosopher feels upon his cheek the tear whereof he cannot speak...)

 Or

 What's the best definition of poetry you have ever heard?

 

My favourite poem is below!

 

On a Drop of Dew 

 

See how the orient dew,

 

Shed from the bosom of the morn

 

Into the blowing roses,

 

Yet careless of its mansion new,

 

For the clear region where ’twas born

 

Round in itself incloses:

 

And in its little globe’s extent,

 

Frames as it can its native element.

 

How it the purple flow’r does slight,

 

Scarce touching where it lies,

 

But gazing back upon the skies,

 

Shines with a mournful light,

 

Like its own tear,

 

Because so long divided from the sphere.

 

Restless it rolls and unsecure,

 

Trembling lest it grow impure,

 

Till the warm sun pity its pain,

 

And to the skies exhale it back again.

 

So the soul, that drop, that ray

 

Of the clear fountain of eternal day,

 

Could it within the human flow’r be seen,

 

Remembering still its former height,

 

Shuns the sweet leaves and blossoms green,

 

And recollecting its own light,

 

Does, in its pure and circling thoughts, express

 

The greater heaven in an heaven less.

 

In how coy a figure wound,

 

Every way it turns away:

 

So the world excluding round,

 

Yet receiving in the day,

 

Dark beneath, but bright above,

 

Here disdaining, there in love.

 

How loose and easy hence to go,

 

How girt and ready to ascend,

 

Moving but on a point below,

 

It all about does upwards bend.

 

Such did the manna’s sacred dew distill,

 

White and entire, though congealed and chill,

 

Congealed on earth : but does, dissolving, run

 

Into the glories of th’ almighty sun.

 

  

 

Andrew Marvell

 

 

Either

If you could clone yourself, would you? If the process were successful, who made the decision?

 

Or

If people are impressed,  for the right reasons, by the Pope driving a Fiat, do these reasons for being impressed make it a duty for the Papacy to sell all its painting and palaces and give the money to house the poor? If not, why not?

 

( If you have not seen the film, The Shoes of the Fisherman,  maybe now is an interesting moment...) 

 

Or

 

I am convinced my dog Fred was sad and wistful last night? Is that really possible or am I imagining it? (Was he troubled  by the de-selection of Ford, or something less important such as: 'Why is a dog's lifespan so short compared to their owners'?

 

Or

 

In a documentary watched by Y8 this week, we were told that you cannot be a member of the Papal Swiss Guard, if you are under 174 cm (5 8.5 Ft)? If this is true, should we insist that future Popes are at least 174 cm tall. (That rules me out!)

Either

Is it a sign of rudeness or a sign of integrity for a politician not to bow before the Queen , if he does not believe in the monarchy?

Or

If there is an infinite number of universes does that mean there is an infinite amount of pain or infinite amount of joy.

 Or

What is the difference between happiness and joy?

 Or

Any thing can have a different name in another language: cerveza ; Beer?

Does that mean that the names of things is 'sort of' random? Does that matter?

 

Either

 

If an athlete sincerely repents and apologises for having cheated in, for example, athletics or cricket, should they be given a second chance? Surely a life ban goes against decent notions of forgiveness?

 

Or 

 

Is it really possible to comprehend a sentence such as: '...About 400 million years after the Big Bang, the universe began to emerge from the cosmic dark ages during the epoch of reionization.' *****

 

 (I was watching a documentary last night and my mind was numbed!)

 

Or

 

If you were making Inside/Out 2, what would you add to: Fear; Anger; Disgust; Joy and Sadness?  (Ennui??)

 

 Or

 

How is it possible to make plastic/plasticine creatures such as Wallace and Grommit or Pingu so genuinely moving?

 

 (Quoted  on Last Night's Horizon!!

 

Can you really imagine being transformed into a mouse, as happens to the main character in The Witches?  If you cannot, does that show lack of imagination or that you really do have imagination? What about being transformed into ant? A turtle???

Or

Could it ever be justified to worry more seriously about the destruction of an historic building or work or art, than the death and destruction of a human being? 

Or

Why are ping-pong/table-tennis balls so wilful and irritating Is it possible that they are possessed; or programmed by evil spirits to elude our grasp?

Or

Why are the waves of the sea so mesmerising and sleeping,  where we can hear the sea, so deeply relaxing?

 

Either:

Does it really matter how many species there are? Surely it is the quality, not the quantity that is important?

Or

Why are English people so obsessed by the weather?

Or

How would you prove that someone (something)  is NOT  a sophisticated Android or Robot? (Mums and dads watching Humans or the new  Terminator  film may submit answers too!)

Or

If you had to decide whether to live 200 years ago, in the past, or 200 years in the future, which would you choose?

 

Either

Does the Queen really have a right to use taxpayers money to rewire Buckingham Palace?

Or

Should medals in sport be awarded for effort rather than achievement? If I find it easy to run 100m, do I deserve more praise than someone who runs hard but finds it hard?

Or

Why do Minions make us laugh so much? They are crazy!

Or

How do I explain what a ‘currency’ is to my 6 year old son? (Euro, Pound, Dollar?) If you think it is a trivial question, just you try! (It was difficult enough explaining how radios work! Or electric current!)

 

Either

Why is everyone  expressing such  surprise that football is run by corrupt people?  Just look at all the cheating which goes on, on the pitch: why expect a miracle off it? 

Or 

How do you decide what counts as a fair wage for an MP? Should they be paid more, or less than a Headteacher or Midwife? 

Or 

Is it possible to treat seriously someone who wants to re-legalise fox hunting? If so; consider the following question:  If a large fox successfully hunted a small human being in an area agreed to be overpopulated, should it be celebrated for its sense of freedom of action and tolerance of different ways of having fun? 

Or

Why is jazz so cool? Can God predict every move of a really classy jazz pianist? How??? 

Or 

Is the fact that computers can beat our best chess players significant? Does it indicate that there will be a time in thenear future when we will be less intelligent than machines we have created? Or, is chess in some profound sense trivial or pointless?

 

Either

If an event is random, can there be a reason for its being random? If so, is it really random?

Or

Could monkeys ever take over the world?

Or

How would you explain the importance of songs and singing to an alien who had no ears or vocal chords?

Or

How can science explain the joy of watching a good Test Match? Isn't cricket's beauty and utter pointlessness a proof for the existence of God?

 

EITHER


Can The Times today be right in claiming that a goldfish’s attention span is longer than an average human being’s? (9 seconds versus 8!)

OR

Can any painting really be worth 179 million dollars? Does the sale price say more about money and greed than artistic merit and artistic values?

OR
Does the way Kevin Pietersen is being treated show the honourable nature of cricket or its spitefulness?

OR
Is it possible to truly imagine being a bumble bee: ...from the inside? (With apologies to T Nagel and Monty Python)

OR
Do you smell the same overwhelmingly beautiful scent of summer blossom as I do? (How do you really know? Does the bumble bee?)

 

 

Either

If 50 % of voters were women, should 50% of MPs be women?

Or

Is it really fair if you get 3,875,409 votes, but only one seat/MP in parliament? Is it fair if you get 1,454,436 and 56 seats/MPs in parliament?

Or

If I can enlist in the army aged 16, doesn’t it follow that I should be able to vote at 16? Surely if I can die for my country, I should be able to vote in my country?

Or

If juries are selected at random, (and we trust and assume they will be just and reasonable), might it be sensible to trial selecting MPs at random and pay them a convincing salary to do the job?

 

Either

If there were no physical universe would there still be numbers? (For example: there is no ((0); zero) universe?) Could numbers exist before/predate the Big Bang? Are numbers invisible, but real? If they are visible, how are they seen?

(Thanks to the boys in Y4 Thursday  puzzle club for these.)

Or

How can we explain Shakespeare's genius? Do we act his plays, or do his plays act us?

(Congratulations to all the boys and staff for the wonderfully satisfying production of Romeo and Juliet.)

Or

Given that we are one of the few countries where voting really can affect who governs us, should we fine people for not voting, or perhaps ban them from voting at the next election? 

Or

Are we  testing  the mettle of our politicians by the way we grill and challenge them, or are we bullying them?

 Or

How far does a football  manager's success depend on the psychological  games he plays off the field. (For example, José Mourihno's defining 'boring' as  Arsenal's not winning the league for 10 years!)

 

Either
 
Do animals look at clouds, or waves or the awesome night sky with a sense of wonder as we do? Do eagles get exhilarated  when flying or do we dream that they do? (Fleas??; Midges????)
 
Or
 
Is there a moment when you are growing up when you become the person you will be for the rest of your life; or, can you always change at some point?
 
Or
 
Will we ever invent a brain scanner which could look just at my brain and tell what tune I am humming silently to myself? Would it have been able to hear Mozart's musical thoughts?
 
Or
 
What do birds think when they see aeroplanes, helicopters or drones flying past? Do they know they are machines?
 
Or
 
Is being clever a matter of luck?

 

Either

Why is dancing such fun? Can you really be born with a sense of rhythm?

Or

Shouldn't the mysterious feeling we experience when thinking about, and watching an eclipse, make us realise that, if we are honest, we don't really comprehend that much about our universe and the cycles of time it involves? Are you really that much closer to the truth than ancient men and women baffled and awestruck by the waves of the ocean and majesty of the night sky?

Or

I -phone, therefore I am! Is it possible to be a person in the 21st century without owning a mobile phone?

Or

Is it possible to measure the length and time the duration of a thought? Do thoughts have dimensions or coordinates? (How can something be on the tip of your tongue...?)

Or

Can I explain convincingly (even to myself) how a radio works? (... Really; really!)

Or

Why does time feel so odd and different when you are on a train, especially if you are seated against the direction of travel?

Or

When we think of Easter eggs, why are we not more surprised by how chicks emerge from their eggs? Isn't it fascinating? (Familiarity breeds contempt?)

 

Either

Can you really learn anything significant about a politician from their kitchens?

Or

Is there any justification for dog shows like Crufts; they just strike me as mad, yet I love dogs?

Or

The sunrise this morning was a stunning eruption of orange* and I was reduced to a mixture of joy and tearful wonder: do animals ever experience this kind of response to natural events? Do dogs and cats marvel at the moon or become wistful about cherry blossom?

 (* It brought to mind Ted Hughes great poem, Horses.)

Or

What is the point of ballet? (I tried to explain my love of it to Y4 to their evident amusement and bafflement!) 

  

*Ted Hughes, The Horses

I climbed through woods in the hour-before-dawn dark.
Evil air, a frost-making stillness,

Not a leaf, not a bird -
A world cast in frost. I came out above the wood

Where my breath left tortuous statues in the iron light.
But the valleys were draining the darkness

Till the moorline - blackening dregs of the brightening grey -
Halved the sky ahead. And I saw the horses:

Huge in the dense grey - ten together -
Megalith-still. They breathed, making no move,

with draped manes and tilted hind-hooves,
Making no sound.

I passed: not one snorted or jerked its head.
Grey silent fragments

Of a grey silent world.

I listened in emptiness on the moor-ridge.
The curlew's tear turned its edge on the silence.

 

Either

Who first  thought of making up stories and why?

Or

Do characters in books exist once we have read them into our thoughts? (Do they exist in mental spaces in our heads or within the letters on the pages in the books themselves? What happens to them when you switch off your Kindle???)

Or

How can it be that we can cry about sad events in fiction books, yet simultaneously ignore real sad events in the real world which cry out for our tears?

Or

Will Harry Potter be thought about in a hundred years' time? If so, why???

Or

If you are short of time, isn't it better to read about real events (history, science etc., ) rather than about goblins and worms and lions and wardrobes?

Or 

Will science ever be able to explain why or how a novelist creates a character and plot? Can science explainimagination when science itself depends on it? ...Aren't scientists kinds of storytellers?

 

 

Either 

Today, a colour-blind potential parent asked what seeing green was really like? Can we really answer him?

Or

Can you be sure your dog sees green fields as you see them? (He certainly seems to smell smells differently!)

Or

Some people tell me my allergy to fish is 'all in the mind'? Is that possible? To me the feeling of sickness seems very real?

Or

He was feeling blue? She was green with envy. You are in a black mood. Are the colour words we use for emotional moods random or is there some deep reason for them? Is the future really orange or lilac?

i thank You God for most this amazing

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

– e.e. cummings

 

Either

If adverts for smoking are banned because they promote terrible addiction, why don't we ban adverts for gambling, which also create devastating addiction too? (With thanks to Nicky.)

Or

If chess became a compulsory subject, should it be within the PE/sport curriculum or Mathematics?

Or

Could you test an animal for verbal and non-verbal reasoning? If so, how? (Fetch Fido! Round-up the sheep Lassie; What was that Skippy? )

Or

If something is actually legal, is it fair to criticise someone for doing it or not doing it? (Tax avoidance , for example, or not giving to a worthy charity?)

Or

Is it wrong to send yourself a Valentine's day card, if it encourages others to and cheers you up?

 

Either

The Times, today, claims that Dutch chimpanzees have learnt how to communicate using Scottish grunts from their new location in an Edinburgh zoo: is that really true, or journalistic monkey business?

Or

Would elections be more fair if children from Y8 upwards could vote? If they are expected to listen to the local parliamentary candidates in assemblies, should they get a vote or maybe half a vote?

Or

Why  is it that people feel and experience things like temperature so differently? (Dana keeps saying my office is too cold, but to me it seems too warm and  stuffy?)

Or 

laugh

lɑːf/ verb: laugh; 3rd person present: laughs; past tense: laughed; past participle: laughed; gerund or present participle: laughing

  1. 1.

make the spontaneous sounds and movements of the face and body that are the instinctive expressions of lively amusement and sometimes also of derision.

"he rarely smiled or laughed"

synonyms:

guffaw, chuckle, chortle, cackle, howl, roar, hah-ha    fall about, roar/hoot with laughter, shake with laughter, be convulsed with laughter, dissolve into laughter, split one's sides, be doubled up;

What makes the way some people laugh infectious and joyful, but other people's laughter grating? Why do human beings make such strange noises and grimaces anyway in response to be being amused? (Is there a chemical that causes you to move from a smile to full blown laughter?)

Either

Why are children in the 21st century still so obsessed by dinosaurs, which apparently died out about 66,038,000 years ago - give or take 11,000 years?

Or

Can we really imagine or predict what creatures will be on the planet earth in about 66,038,000 years in the future?

Or

(Mozart started composing, aged 5.)

Will science be able to predict when another prodigy like Mozart is likely to appear, or was he just a freak?

Or

Can you imagine intelligent aliens who do not have/use numbers or maths?

Or

'Blueberry and Vanilla Scones; Chocolate Sponge served with Chocolate Custard; Plum Tarte Tatin served with cream on the side; Apple and Honey iced Buns; Raspberry Jelly Pots; Earwigs with Beetle-juice; Worms and mud custard; Ant Pie with grated spiders' legs, Aphid cheesecake with butterfly pupae jus?

Is there any important reason why we like certain foods or is taste ultimately just habits we inherit?

 

Either

Why are shops allowed to sell cigarettes when we know they kill people in huge numbers?

Or

Is it possible that bees actually know or understand that they are making hexagonal objects?

Or

Do you have to be ruthless and devious to be a great football manager? Or, is being in a rich club what really counts?

Or

Is it possible that birds, and dolphins & whales and monkeys and dogs have regional accents? If we have different languages and accents, yet the same type of bodies and mouths, might they? (With thanks to Year 4!)

 

Either

Is it really possible to have complete freedom of speech, if you really respect other people’s views?

Or

Is there any real point to chess? (How can our minds make such little wooden objects mean so much while we are playing?!)

 

Or

Why do we love fireworks so much?

 

Or

Is it right that top comedians earn more money than the President or Prime Minister?

 

Either

If Stephen Hawking is right about AI and future robots, should schools ban computing?

Or

Why don't we take the question: 'Which came first, the chicken or egg?' more seriously?

Or

Should we expect there to be laws, behind, the laws of physics and laws, behind the laws, behind the laws, of physics and laws behind, the laws behind the laws, behind the laws, behind the laws of physics?

Or

How can the Muppets' Christmas Carol make us cry almost as much as the fully human versions?

Or

How is it possible for us to see suffering, yet continue to ignore it?

 

Either

Do you have to be pompous and arrogant to become a cabinet minister or does becoming a cabinet minister make you pompous and arrogant?

Or

Did Lewis Hamilton win the World Championship... or did his car?

Or

Why do grown-ups keep giving children books about talking bears, Hobbits and (existentialist) rabbits? (Animals do NOT talk!)

Or

Was Humpty Dumpty pushed or did he fall? (...an eggcentric question from the late P D James RIP?)

Or

Could there be a life form that does not feel pain? If so, would it be happy or simply 'unfeeling'?

 

Either

 
Who is responsible for the ongoing conspiracy  to deny the obvious fact that 'tweeting' does more harm to human beings than good? 
 
Or
 
Why shouldn't parents who allow their children to become dangerously obese get fined? 
 
Or
 
Can we  ever really explain or understand why falling snowflakes are so touching and evocative?
 
Or
 Is it true that ants and termites share more information with each other than dolphins do? (How would one prove that?)

Either

Should there be a maximum age for soldiers?  If so, should it apply to Presidents? (Presidents are Commander –in-Chief.)

(N.B. Joe Biden Vice-President  is 71, Hilary Clinton is 67; Ronald Regan was 69 when he became President.)

Or

Do beards or moustaches have any purpose or point?  (If not, why has evolution not eliminated the need for shaving?)

Or

If we are on the only planet with intelligent life forms, does that make the uninhabited and sterile planets a waste of space?

Or

If there are other planets with intelligent life forms, will they have religion(s)?


Or

If you had to design something to replace the “Poppy”, but it have to be as powerful and moving, what would it be?

 

Either


Are there sounds in the universe which really exist, but which humans will never 'hear' and particles they will never discover, detect or see?


Or

Why do so many of my friends pretend that they understand what the word 'gravity' means, and how it works, when clearly they do not? (!)


Or


Why are fireworks so thrilling to watch? Why are flames so bewitching and mesmerising?



Or


What is the point of a giraffe? Are some animals simply silly? (Does it really matter if they become extinct?)

 

 

Either
 
 Is it possible that a Daddy Long Legs has a sense of time?
 
Or
 
Can we prove with certainty that plants do NOT have feelings?
 
Or
 
Why don't we see that Halloween is just a way for supermarkets to exploit families and make children eat unhealthily?
 
Or
 
Why does the word wobbly always make me smile? Are some words just magical and delightful  in that way? 
 
Or
 
What accounts for the exquisite beauty of roses? 

 

Either 


Why do animals have such vastly differing life spans? (Some tortoises live for 150 years. Is living longer a sign of success or failure or neither?)

Or

Why are there so many silly films made about vampires when we know they do not exist? Should we ban Halloween?

Or

Why do we enjoy watching animals race each other, and humans race each other? Does Lewis Hamilton's life have any real purpose? What is the point of dogs chasing electrical hare or horses jumping over fences... over and over again?

Or

After Beethoven went deaf, was he still able to understand his music? Is there an 'inner hearing' akin to the way we can hear/read a book's dialogue... noiselessly?

 

Either

Should anyone entering parliament have done a 'proper job' first? (If so, what counts as a 'proper job?')

Or

Do haircuts or hairstyles really tell you anything about a person's real character?

Or

 Will there be a time when computers fool us into thinking they are not thinking,... when they really are?

 Or

Why has the  appearance of autumn leaves always brought tears to my eyes?

 

 

Either

Do computers do so much for us now, that we are becoming less clever, or are they freeing up our minds to do more creative things?

 Or

How is it possible for my dream-time clock to be so different from my waking clock? (Last night, I woke up, then fell asleep: within the remaining half an hour I was asleep, I dreamt about a whole week!)

Or

Do dolphins and whales understand daytime passing into night time?

Or

If Scottish 16 year olds are reasonably allowed to vote in the Scottish Referendum, does it follow that all 16 year olds should be able to vote in normal elections? (Or, is it that they are wee bit glice...) ((Cleverer!))

Or

Why are handwritten letters and postcards more moving and evocative than e-mails?

Or

Is being a doctor more important than being a poet?

(With apologies to Keats, William Carlos Williams and Dannie Abse (RIP) * Parents: see below!)

 *These three websites may be of interest:

 1.      http://hippocrates-poetry.org/about-us.html

  1. 2.     http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(10)60427-8/fulltext
  2. 3.     http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11126588/Dannie-Abse-obituary.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter     

The rose is obsolete
but each petal ends in
an edge, the double facet
cementing the grooved
columns of air--The edge
cuts without cutting
meets--nothing--renews
itself in metal or porcelain--

whither? It ends--

But if it ends
the start is begun
so that to engage roses
becomes a geometry--

Sharper, neater, more cutting
figured in majolica--
the broken plate
glazed with a rose

Somewhere the sense
makes copper roses
steel roses--

The rose carried weight of love
but love is at an end--of roses

It is at the edge of the
petal that love waits

Crisp, worked to defeat
laboredness--fragile
plucked, moist, half-raised
cold, precise, touching

What

The place between the petal's
edge and the

From the petal's edge a line starts
that being of steel
infinitely fine, infinitely
rigid penetrates
the Milky Way
without contact--lifting
from it--neither hanging
nor pushing--

The fragility of the flower
unbruised
penetrates space                                                                                                (William Carlos Williams.)

 

 

Either

 

When I watch Doctor Who, how is it possible that ,'inside', I  really feel like I am 10 again, rather than my actual age?

 

Or

 

How is it possible to remember things without trying (lyrics to songs etc.,) but so difficult to remember some things when we try really hard to remember them?

 

Or

 

How do flags get to be so important that people cry and fight over them and their colours?

 

Or

 

Why aren't we more astonished that we grow, that cuts heal and toenails extend?

 

 

Bonus Question for  Musical Parents.

 

Do the existence, persistence, and creative brilliance of  Leonard Cohen provide further evidence for a benevolent and divine force in the universe?

Either

 

Why is the sight of dying, drowsy wasps at the end of summer so sad, yet swotting them when they irritate you at the beginning of summer so satisfying?

 

  (With apologies to Eddie Izzard and  John Keats)

 

Or

 

How small could a country be? Could Hampstead legitimately declare independence?

 

Or

 

Is the use of drones wise because it saves our pilots' lives or cowardly because you lose a sense of the moral seriousness of what you might do with them?

 

 

Or

Should the fact that so many people are excited by another Royal pregnancy shock us or reassure us that we live in a good country with great traditions?

 

Either

 

Should someone who wilfully bites another person be prosecuted for assault, especially if they lie about it? If so, has Suarez got off lightly?

 

Or

 

If someone admits to a crime and is found guilty, should they receive a lighter (jail) sentence?

 

Or

 

Do we invent new songs or discover them?

 

Or

 

Does my dog Fred, know that he is getting old, slowing down and just a bit pongy now? Is it possible that he is sad about his decline or is he just happily oblivious, (like me)?!

 

Either

 

Is it immoral to be more interested in who wins Wimbledon or The World Cup, than the fate of Iraq or Syria…or just human?

 

Or

 

Does the fact that women only play three-set matches at Wimbledon prove that they are inferior athletes to men? (Why are the marathon distances the same for men and women? Why do they play 18 holes of golf rather than 12?)

 

Or

 

Is it possible to succeed in the modern era of sport and retain true sportsmanship?

 

Or

 

Why do human beings spend so much energy, thought and time watching and talking about sport, when they could be doing arguably more creative and constructive things with their time?

 

Either

 

Is Rooney brilliant but unlucky?

Is Suarez brilliant and lucky?

 

(Do life’s great challenges ultimately turn on luck?)

 

 

OR

 

Can you imagine a computer or robot which could hear and feel music as we do?

 

OR

 

Does playing cricket require more intelligence than playing football? How do you decide?

 

OR

 

Could a poet ever adequately capture the joy of an ice lolly at 4 pm in weather like this? Could a scientist ever adequately explain that it isn’t just about food, or water, or sweetness!

 

Either

Is a government morally irresponsible if it spends vast amounts of money putting on the World Cup which could have gone to feeding, clothing and nursing its poor and ill citizens?

(A piece in Rio de Janeiro by the street artist Paulo Ito showing a starving young boy being served a football to eat. Photograph: Nelson Almeida/AFP)

OR

Was it true that 2+2=4 even before there was a universe with anything in it to be counted?

OR

Will we ever be in a position to answer the following question precisely: ‘Dad, exactly how many grains of sand are there in the world on all its beaches?’?

OR

Can you conceive of interesting, intelligent and imaginative aliens who never tell each other jokes?

(A Martian, a Vulcan and Earthman go into a pub. The barman looks up and asks: Is this some kind of joke?’)

 

Either

If an action is within the rules of a game, can it be deemed cheating?

OR

Can you teach yourself to become braver?

OR

How can you prove that an animal (e.g., a bird, dolphin or whale) is singing rather than talking with an interesting accent? What is the difference between music and noise?

OR

Why do human beings feel the urge to write poems rather than simply use prose?

OR

Will there ever be a machine that could locate exactly where in your brain you are having a thought? What will it say about something which is ‘on the tip of your tongue’ or you think you know but cannot remember?

 

Either

Is loving test cricket a sign of sophisticated intelligence or a sign of an irrationally high boredom threshold?

 OR

What do crickets think when they find themselves watching cricket?

OR

Why is believing in the possibility of an infinite number of universes considered more respectable than believing in one God with infinite powers?  (With apologies to the Y8 CE boys!)

OR

Can science explain the exquisite pleasure of smelling the fragrance of a summer rose cradling and cupping its morning dew?

OR

What is going on inside a wasp’s brain: or for that matter, an ants?!

 

 

Either

Is it really credible to believe that a cat really understood that it was defending its owners’ child from an attack by a hostile dog? If so, does that mean a cat is guilty of cruelty if it attacks a bird it does not need to eat?

OR

Does a migrating swallow know that it is migrating?

OR

Should MPs have to take an IQ test before being promoted to the Cabinet?

OR

Why is it that our minds take cartoons, animated films and puppets as seriously as ‘REAL’ things, and sometimes, mores seriously? ‘(Frozen is not about any real people; neither is Toy Story!)

Either

Should you have to be born in a country to qualify to be the leader of that country?

OR

Should you have to be born in a country to manage that country’s national football team?

OR

Could you have been born in another century and still be you? What about in another year?

OR

“When I was born, I was so surprised I didn't talk for a year and a half.” Grace Allen- American Comedian

Should we be more surprised than we are that we exist and have been born? (When do we start taking it for granted?)

 

 

Either             

Does running a marathon require more mental strength than running the hundred metres?

Marathon Success

 

Congratulations to Paul Cheetham (Deputy Head, Pastoral) and Sarah Anderson (Bursar) who both successfully completed the 2014 London Marathon.  Paul qualified for the Championship Start this year, and completed the course in a personal best time of 2:38:19 finishing in an outstanding 147th place out of 36,000 starters.

Sarah ran at a slightly more sedate pace (5:07), and finished a little further down the field!  She is, however, very pleased to have raised almost £2,800 for the St. John's Hospice, which is part of the Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth in St. John's Wood.

 If you would like to contribute to Sarah’s chosen charity, please go this link.

 http://www.justgiving.com/Sarah-Anderson22

 Or

 Can you prove for certain that plants are not thinking and feeling?

 Or

If you are totally bilingual, how do you know which language you are thinking in? (…with apologies to 4P & 4C!)

 Or

 Why are the flames of burning candles so fascinating?

 

Either

‘Dancing is the poetry of the foot.’ - John Dryden

Why do you think we spend so much time dancing? (Could Darwin explain it or do we need to speak to the priests and philosophers!)

Many thanks to Sadie for a wonderful week of dancing.

OR

Do you think any possible intelligent alien life form will make music?

(Many thanks to Karl and Joe for a wonderful JH concert.

OR

 Is it really possible that some people can smell numbers or hear colours?

(With apologies to my Y8 RS class.)

OR

 If there really is an infinite number of parallel universes, planets and life forms, does that mean that there is possibly a near infinite number of horrible things happening all the time?

 

Either

 “It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what.”

 ― John Galsworthy,  The Forsyte Saga

Why do we react to weather such as todays and yesterday’s so intensely? …Isn’t it just weather?!

Or

Are French people right to be critical of English food or do they simply have different taste buds?

Or

How do you know that your taste buds are conveying the same taste as someone else’s?

Or

If you know that by giving to a charity you can save a life, does it follow that if you do not give to the charity you really know, in your heart, that you are taking a life?

 

 

 Either

Can a photograph ever be as impressive and profound as a painting?

 Or

Can someone who believes in a loving God support jail sentences where the person’s life sentence really is for life? Should they always consider a person can be saved and reformed?

Or

If you had the power to create a seventh sense, what would it be?

Or

Why is whistling such fun?

Either

Are floods actually good because they teach us not to be so arrogant about our technology and control over the planet? Can suffering be good if it teaches you humility?

 OR

Can you learn how to be really funny in the way that you can learn to be a magician?

OR

If bankers can be paid a massive bonus even when their bank is failing, does it follow that pupils should get good grades even when their work is poor? If not, why not? What is the difference?

OR

Some of us find tears well up in our eyes when we recall Torvill and Dean winning their Olympic Gold medal; this event happened 30 years ago! How can dancing on ice or ballet move us in this way?

&      How can memories cause tears to flow even more quickly than onions do?

Either

Is it wrong to enjoy Winter Olympic events because you enjoy seeing people fall over on ice, fall out of their bobsleds and off their skis? 

OR

How can any sane person take curling seriously?

OR

Is refusing to celebrate the victory of WW1 an ‘insult to the brave dead’ or a ‘tribute to the compassion of the living politicians of the 21st Century’?

OR

Does the Pope’s tweeting, (even if in Latin), set a bad example in a world already full of trivia, or show that Francis understands how to spread the word effectively?

OR

If half of the population is female, does it follow that half of the MPs in parliament should be women?

 

Either

How does a bird decide what it is going to sing?

 

OR

Are giraffes beautiful to look at or really silly? What about spiny anteaters? (With apologies to Eddie Izzard.)

 

 OR

 Is Mourinho just a bad loser or a brilliant psychological tactician?

 

 OR

 Why are mirrors and shadows so fascinating?

 

Either

 A robin redbreast in a cage

Puts all heaven in a rage.

William Blake

Is it cruel to keep pet goldfish or budgerigars? Don’t they deserve the seas or open skies?

 OR

Should young pop stars be treated more leniently than ordinary members of the public when caught speeding, resisting arrest and drunk when driving?

OR

Why do human beings seek unnecessary and possible fatal danger? For example, why do they relish skiing off piste, sky-diving or parachuting?

OR

Is it ever right for a President or Prime-Minister to lie to their country, and fellow political colleagues, if a significant number of lives could be saved by their doing so?

 

Either

What makes a coin or banknote have the value that it does? (The paper in a £20 note doesn’t cost £20, nor does a £1 coin contain £1 pound of metal..)

OR

Why would any sane person choose to be a fireman or join the bomb disposal squad?

 

OR

Today’s Times claims that 2/3rds of parents help their children with their homework.

Are the 1/3rd that don’t, better or worse parents?

OR

Why do we so naturally make pictures from the clouds and the stars of things that aren’t really there? Do aliens on other planets, if they exist, do the same?

Either

Why do we like detective stories when they involve so many horrible, devious and cruel people and horrible crimes?

OR

Should the Summer or Winter Olympics ever be held in countries which abuse human rights?

 

OR

 

Is it cruel to take eggs from a chicken which has just laid them? Do they realise what is happening?

OR

In a democracy, should I have a right to sell myself into slavery? (With apologies to R M Hare.)

 

 Either

 

Is objecting to cutting down Christmas trees a sign of responsible parenting, or Eco-babble-Scroogery?

 

OR

 

Does Santaclaustrophobia really exist?

 

OR

 

Can you  object, consistently, to people  hunting foxes on Boxing Day, if you’ve eaten non- organic/ non-free-range reared Turkey or Goose on Christmas Day?

 

OR

 

Should the inventors (and marketers) of TransformersLego-Transformers and Lego-Ninjas, be condemned to everlasting servitude?

 

AND A BONUS ONE!

 

How do parents convince children that when they  reply, ‘Obviously NOT!’ to the question: ‘Is Santa getting me an I-Pad or I-phone?’ , they really mean it; and sobbing won’t make Santa any more likely to deliver one

 

Is it possible to explain why some people grow through suffering (Nelson Mandela?), yet others become bitter?

 

Or

 

If we really understand the message of Christmas, should we donate all the money normally spent on presents (and things such as ski-trips) to the poor?

 

 

Or

 

Is it possible to enjoy Christmas in a country without snow?

 

Or

 

Why do well-intentioned, seemingly sane people, ruin wine by mulling it?

 

“Rugby is a lot like life.”  Pope Francis.  Is it really?

 

(N.B. This was not an infallible pronouncement!)

 

Or

 

            If I do something bad but with a good intention, should I be punished?

 

Or

 

            Would you need infinite time to count an infinite sequence of numbers?

 

Or

            Do turkeys have a right to survive Christmas?

 

 

Why do you think Dr Who has lasted for 50 Earth years?

or

If you lived for 900 years, would the universe be more or less interesting?

or

People say because we are so small and the universe so big, somehow that makes us insignificant. If you were the size of the planet Jupiter, should that make you feel better?

(With apologies to Thomas Nagel!)

If you had the power to go backwards or forwards in time, should you use it? If so, for what purpose?

 

Either

Is Princess Anne mad or sane in encouraging us to eat horsemeat?

OR

Is the pain experienced by an animal as significant as that experienced by a human being?

OR

Is doing crosswords a sign of creative intelligence or wasted intelligence?

OR

Is it true that cats are cleverer than dogs? How would you test this? (Why does it rain both?)

 

Either

If 34 terror plots really have been foiled by bugging foreign telephones, does that it mean it is morally justified? If not, what if that figure were 200?

 Or

If wearing a burka in court is wrong, because justice requires jurors having the possibility of seeing facial reactions, does that mean that blind people should not be allowed to be jurors?

If so, what do you say to someone who says that your answer is not just prejudiced against burka wearers, but also blind people?

 Or

 If you had to design a new symbol to replace the poppy, what would it look like?

 Or

Why do we love fireworks? (Why do I love the word explode?)

 

Either

 

If animals will not have the chance to go to Heaven, does that mean that God was unfair in creating them?

 

Or

 

Is it possible to teach someone to be kind?  

 

Or

 

Does a brilliant sportsman have to be very intelligent? Is the answer different for different sports?

 

Or

 

Is it genuinely possible to be truly good and massively rich…. at the same time?

 

 

Either

 If you could create a new Nobel Prize category, what would it be and why?

 Or

 Should a policeman who lies be punished more severely than an ordinary member of the public?

 Or

Why do you think that a creature with such a small brain as human beings have, is deluded into thinking it can really find out the ultimate building blocks of the Universe?

 Or

What on Earth is a Higgs Boson Particle? 

Are most people just pretending to understand what it is?

 

Either

 

Why do children love to rhyme?

Is rhyming important or a waste of time?

 

 

Or

 

Will scientists ever really explain why Shakespeare’s sonnets haunt our brain?

Is there a gene that creates a poet, or DNA which forms a sonnet;

Is Seamus Heaney the result of chance;

Ted Hughes merely happenstance?

Or, is poetry something deeper and more real

Which looking at atoms will never reveal?

 

 

Or

 

Is alliteration just an irritation?

Similes and metaphors created by silly bores?

Sonnet form and terza rima designed to make you screama!

Is poetry significant or just verbal soufflé

Better to listen to Bach or perhaps Duruflé

Why can’t the albatross just be an albatross?

Thinking what it ‘stands for’ is just mental dross.

Poets seem to think we’ve lots of time to waste,

On phrasing and vocabulary and exquisite taste.

I say -send them all to prison.

Damn their madness about precision!

 

 

Discuss…

 

 

Or

 

a philosopher feels on his cheek
the tears whereof he cannot speak.

 

What do you think might cause someone to write that line of poetry?

 

Either

 

Are sixteen year olds really wise enough to have the vote? What should make you eligible?

 

Or

 

How can we ever know if something is really impossible, rather than something we are not clever enough to understand?

     

Or

 

I’ve got fizzy Lucozade in my legs!  How would you explain the strange sensation of ‘pins and needles’ to someone who had never experienced them? Or, hitting your ‘funny’ bone!)

 

Or

 

Truth is merely jokes explained’!’ Dr Eric Berne

 

Is the idea of a famous comedian running to be London Mayor (Eddie Izzard) something to take seriously or to laugh about? Would the world be better or worse if Michael McIntyre were Prime Minister?

 

Either

 

‘Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.’       Albert Camus

 

Why do we react so emotionally to the seasons? If you could invent a fifth one, what would you call it and why?

Or

Can you imagine a future where we will be able to programme robots to understand the sadness of autumn leaves or the joy of seeing the first cherry blossom?

Or

Is it possible that trees actually talk to each other or communicate with each other?

Or

We say we have ‘thoughts’; how do we know where the boundary is between one thought and another? If we had a super brain scanner, would it show some kind of gap? If you had the same thought but on different days, would it show the same pattern in your head on both days?

 

Either

 

Are we the only animals that can genuinely sing and dance at the same time? (What do other animals think when they watch us doing this?)

 

Or

 

Is there likely to be music written nowadays which will move future generations in 250 years’ time, as Mozart and Bach touch us today?

       

 

Or

 

What 10 things should we put in a space probe to convince alien life forms that Earth is worth visiting? (Would Top Hat, Singing in the Rain and Bach’s Fugues make it?)

 

Either

Why are we so deeply affected by how something smells or its fragrance: a summer rose; autumn leaves or the last mown lawn at the beginning a of Christmas term?


Or

What makes you the same person in Year 8 as the pupil who started school in Reception or Year 3?


Or

Do people in different countries really have different senses of humour or are we just bad at translating jokes?

 

Either

Is it possible to have a ‘thought’ or ‘idea’ which is not in words? If you can, how do you know when you are having it?

Or

If there really was no ‘before’, before the Big Bang, will there be no ‘after’, after the Big Crunch either? If so, does that mean nothing actually happened; took placeoccurred?

Or

If we arrest human beings for being cruel to animals, should we arrest other animals who are cruel to other animals? Where should the line be drawn?

Or

Anyone selling or marketing cigarettes is simply a ‘legalised’ poisoner: the fact that it may take time for the victim to show his/her  wounds is irrelevant. Why do we tolerate this fact?

Or

How do memories get ‘stored’ in our minds?

Or

When did human beings first tell jokes to each other? And, WHY?

Or

How come I am completely flummoxed when asked to explain ‘Why there are waves in the sea?’ or ‘Why there is wind?’ or  ‘Why there is electricity?’ to a Reception pupil? Why is it that I feel that, at some deep level, I really don’t know at all? Do you…REALLY?

 

Either

 

If there is an after-life for humans, will there be one for the pets they love deeply too?

Or

Why do words and phrases such as: chalice: sophisticated; tender, earwig, cherish, will-o’ the wisp and trombone, give me such intense pleasure and yet leave other people cold or simply indifferent?

Or

What is the point of fruit salad? Why not just eat the fruit?

Or

Did people in the past feel ‘pain’ in the same way as we do, or were they so used to so-called ‘painful things’, that they got used to things we would call ‘painful’?

 

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