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Ilya Shalnov, Discussion Leader:

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There are so many interesting things in our life. I work on methods of self-development. I write books, articles and computer programs that help us to study foreign languages. New languages acquisition is a perfect self-development training.

Every new language gives us a new outlook on our world and new friends. I have lived abroad pretty much and that was an interesting experience.

Some very controversial principles of effective behavior

Questions for discussion:

  1. Everything is permitted. You mustn’t only be caught. You mustn’t only get in troubles. There is no crime but stupidity.
  2. Never worry about your karma.
  3. Care about nobody but yourself.
  4. Do only what you want to do.
  5. “Never regret about nothing”. And then, why do people regret?
  6. Never brake. And then, why do people brake?
  7. Never react on things which have nothing to do with your own business. And then, why do people DO react?
  8. Never do things for free.

Do you want to be charismatic?

Questions for discussion:

  1. Will you like always to be in the center of very strong and deep attention?
  2. Do you like to provoke people and invent adventures?
  3. Would you like to use symbols of power which hypnotize majority of (stupid) people? Would you like to have a very American and very successful appearance?
  4. Would you like to enjoy respect you don't deserve?
  5. Will you try natural but not standard and therefore very risky behavior? What about telling people the truth?

Do you believe?

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you believe in AIDS, swine flu, bird flu, atypical pneumonia and other new disastrous plagues like those?
  2. Do you believe that people's activity causes the global warming? Do you believe in possibility of the nuclear winter catastrophe? Do you think we can fix the first plague with the second one?
  3. What about ozone holes? Isn't it scaring?
  4. Do you worry about comets, asteroids and supernovas?
  5. Do you believe that democracy is the ideal and the only possible form of governing?

Men, women and all kind of stereotypes

  1. Who should and who shouldn't, who does and who doesn’t, and why?
  2. ~ make court , be gallant
    ~ propose
    ~ be inferior
    ~ give in, give way, concede, comply, step back
    ~ protect, defend

  3. Who is the giver and who is the taker?
  4. What one may expect to get in return?
  5. Who is stronger? Who lives longer lives and why?
  6. Around whom should the family be built?
  7. Who should be the breadwinner and who should be the housespouse?
  8. What is man's work and what is woman's?
  9. Should boys and girls be given the same toys?

Believe in God

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you believe in existence of God?
  2. Do you believe in existence of many gods?
  3. Are atheists and communists also believers?
  4. Do you believe in science?
  5. Where does the logical analysis lead? Should we trust our logic?
  6. Does materialism equal to belief that God exists, but he is an idiot?
  7. Does God or any other deity interfere in human affairs or has God left us forever?
  8. Why does Evil exist?

Belief in Church

Questions for discussion:

  1. Is your belief your own choice or other people have decided for you in what you should believe? Should we in our belief be with our nations?
  2. Can one belong to two different churches simultaneously?
  3. Should Christians doubt their religion? What about Muslims? What about terrorists?
  4. If our religion tells us one thing and our conscience another, whom should we follow?
  5. Do we need mediators between us and God? Can we find the right way ourselves?

Can money make you happy?

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you earn money mainly for wealth or for (self)respect?
  2. Can the real value of a person be measured by money he (or she) makes?
  3. Does big money make our life simpler or more difficult?
  4. Do you prefer to work to gain what you want or would you prefer to get everything without efforts?
  5. What is more important for you, unlimited consumption or creative work?
  6. How much money does your favorite art demand? How much do other people need for doing the work they love?

Who are Russians?

Quesions for discussion:

  1. Who are Russians? Who are Russian women? Who are Russian men?
  2. Why others think of us in terms and images like: communism, vodka, laziness, Gulag, mafia, balalaika and bears on the streets?
  3. Do Russians have the national idea? What is Russian national anti-idea?
  4. Why don't western people like Russians?
  5. Do Russians have inner freedom?
  6. Do Russians have competitive advantages?
  7. Are Russians hospitable and amicable?

Yoga

Questions for discussion:

  1. Have you ever practiced yoga? What are your impressions? Do you (will you) practice it?
  2. Do you believe in reincarnation, sansara and karma? Do you believe in materialism, Marxism, science? Do you believe in Christianity?
  3. Do you believe that there are no restrictions of human capacities? You have only to develop them day by day, don't you?
  4. Do you believe that our thoughts can directly influence the circumstances of our lives?

What do women feel toward men?

Questions for discussion:

  1. How the attitude to men and women changed throughout the history.
  2. To love men women have to respect them. Feminism denies that men are better than women in any way. So men have nothing to be respected for, don't them?. Is any love possible now?
  3. What should women do? Forget about love? Become lesbians? Damn feminism and feminist and try to find reasons for respect?
  4. In what are men better and stronger than women except carrying heavy objects?

Leadership

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you want to be a leader? The desire to be a leader, where does it come from?
  2. Is leadership benefits of position, or is it hardness of work?
  3. A ram or a thunderbird (storm-petrel)? There is a flock and there is a ram, walking firs in a meadow with very sweet green grass. There is a storm sea and a thunderbird soaring in the wind all alone. Who of them is a leader? Who do you like more and why?

Leadership

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you want to be a leader? The desire to be a leader, where does it come from?
  2. Is leadership benefits of position, or is it hardness of work?
  3. A ram or a thunderbird (storm-petrel)? There is a flock and there is a ram, walking firs in a meadow with very sweet green grass. There is a storm sea and a thunderbird soaring in the wind all alone. Who of them is a leader? Who do you like more and why?

How to motivate someone to buy something?

Questions for discussion:

  1. On what emotions should we base our motivation, on positive or on negative?
  2. Is it easy to sell something really new or is it better to sell a little improved things?
  3. What is easier to sell, fish or a fishing rod?
  4. On what should we rely, on marketing researches or on our own intuition?
  5. Is it possible to sell things people really need? Need and demand are not the same, aren't they?
  6. To what part of people's mind should we appeal, to rational or irrational?

If you believe in evolution it is only because you chose to believe instead of thinking by yourself!

Questions for discussion:

  1. We mustn't believe in science, in professors! They have proved that hey would confirm everything their masters want them to.
  2. No sane person will ever subsidize experiments for creating any life. So nobody really believes that the life appeared by itself.
  3. Genes actually are programs like computer programs. The idea that programs can be written with method of random mutations and selection is obviously absurd.

Being clever is the stupidest choice in the world, isn't it? Do you want to be clever?

Questions for discussion:

  1. If you had to choose between to be clever and to be rich, what would you choose?
  2. Do you want to be very sensitive? Why do people usually choose not to be?
  3. Are you always ready to accept the truth? Are you ready to admit that you are not right when you are not right? Why do people usually prefer not to do it?
  4. Are you always ready to support people with your attention and understanding? Why do people prefer not to do it?

Do you want to start your own business?

Questions for discussion:

  1. Will you prefer to build your own hierarchy to head it, or to enter an already existing one?
  2. Do you think that business means easy money and additional free time for oneself?
  3. Is it possible to earn big money, or big money can only be made or stolen?
  4. Doing our business, must we be socially responsible? Do we have to worry of ecology, for example, of comfort of our workers and so on?
  5. Can a fair gentleman be a businessman? Is it is impossible to be both simultaneously, what would you prefer?

By the laws or by the notions?

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is the difference between laws and notions? Are the notions real ore are they only shadows of real written laws?
  2. Having to choose between the law and the justice, what will you choose?
  3. Does such a thing as rightness (fairness) exist in nature or is it only an invention of human imagination? Is the world fair?
  4. Can anarchy exist?
  5. Is there any principle difference between court, tribunal, mob law and lynching?

Psychologists and their problems

Questions for discussion:

  1. We have as many opinions as psychologists. Is psychology a science?
  2. The typical style of self-presentation for them is that: I am a clever man (woman), because a great science stands behind my words. Is it fair? They have no permission to give advice. They should try to explain things that their clients don't want to see.
  3. Is it a comfortable role to be a psychologist? Isn't it more natural to kick away (to give a boot to) all ignorant people with all their ignorance?

Talking about sex?

Questions for discussion:

  1. Should intimate life be concealed? Why yes? Why no?
  2. Is it true that only lonely and not satisfied peple speak about sex?
  3. Sex for health. What do you think of it?
  4. Is it good to pretend that everything is fine with you even if it is not so fine? Is it good to deceive yourself?
  5. Is it normal to discuss questions like "How to become a goddess of sex?"?

Self-presentation

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is your uniqueness? Do you need to be unique? Are you shy or too modest to answer this question?
  2. What is more important, form or content? Interface or functionality?
  3. Is modesty a virtue? What about immodesty?
  4. What is written on your banner?
  5. Is it necessary to be clever, rich or beautiful, being properly dressed? What is more important for women? What is more important for men?
  6. Are you a busy person? Do you have free time?

Self-actualization

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is self-actualization (self-fulfilling, self-fulfillment, personal fulfillment, use one's potential, accomplishment, realization, completion, success)?
  2. What will make you happier, life for self-fulfillment or life for pleasure?
  3. How can we find our destiny? Does it exist?
  4. Is society interested in your self-actualization? Will it help you? Will it hamper your struggle?
  5. Were Stalin and Hitler successful in their self-fulfillment?

Religion and sexuality

Questions for discussion:

  1. Who is more sexual, God of Devil?
  2. Who would you prefer to talk with if it were absolutely safely, with God or with Devil? What would you ask them (about)?
  3. Who are smarter, demons or angels?
  4. Are nuns sexual?
  5. Do you like an idea of Rasputin to combine sex and prayers?
  6. Would you like to embrace Virgin Maria?
  7. Christ was not really humiliated, he was not raped. Would you forgive him his being ready to undergo even that (like in Russian prisons)?

Should we save this world?

Questions for discussion:

  1. Is this world the best one of all possible worlds?
  2. What would the world be like if suffering and pain should not exist?
  3. Should we sacrifice our lives for some great goals?
  4. Do people have missions or is it just a product of their imagination?
  5. What can we say about characters of the saviors?
  6. Do people like missioners, saviors?
  7. Do all attempts to improve the life inevitably lead to bad consequences?

Accent

Questions for discussion:

  1. Is it really important to have a good accent?
  2. What is accent? Intonation, liaisons, pronunciation? Music, word connections, phonetics? Something else?
  3. Does the transcription present the real phonetics correctly?
  4. Can we become perfect? What should we do for that? How long will it take?
  5. Who are the best teachers? What are the best programs? What would you want from them?
  6. American - British. Let us compare them.

Sex, power, money, et cetera: Sex, power, money, gambling, foreign languages, drugs and other kinds of kaif and drive

Questions for discussion:

  1. Men or women, who needs it more, who enjoys it more, who suffers from it more?
  2. Should we foster and encourage our love to it? Should we diminish, soothe or abolish it?
  3. How can we foster or diminish it?
  4. What about excessivenesses and deviations?
  5. What do you think of and about people who are extremely interested in it?

How to learn vocabulary

Questions for discussion:

  1. How many words a day can we learn?
  2. Will the words be learnt by themselves? Is it possible to remember new words after the first time you see them?
  3. What is the main problem of the second language acquisition, the lexis or the grammar?
  4. To what degree can we learn words from the first time? Can they make our active vocabulary at once?
  5. What are the ways to activate our vocabulary?

How to communicate

Questions for discussion:

1) Communication mistakes
Pulling the blanket
Repetitions
Hiding in illegibility
Self-censorship
Hiding emotionality
Fear of mistakes
Being not supportive
Avoiding depth
Keeping distance

2) Finding a partner
Clubs, telephones, mobile phones, internet, home clubs:
Women and their troubles

3) Games
Very common topics
Three universal psychological questions
Associations
Dream symbols
Coaching
Taxonomy
Forbidden topics
Court
Marriage
Mafia
Titanic

4) Thinking for oneself

Moderalism

Let's look critically at its principles

Questions for discussion:

  1. Our needs must be moderated and we will be happier with the minimum we have.
  2. Poverty can't be eliminated but people are able to cope with it.
  3. Being in conflicts is a normal and healthy state of people and nations. Find enemies and fight them.
  4. Rich people are deviants, destructors, degenerates. We mustn't tolerate the existence of rich people. They are enemies of the nation and of the whole mankind.

Afterlife

Questions for discussion:

  1. Does life after life exist? Why do you think so?
  2. Is it important, whether afterlife exists?
  3. What is awaiting us, coming back to the Earth, Paradise, Hell, Purgatory, traveling to other stars and planets?
  4. What is waiting for you?
  5. Would you like to come back to this life?
  6. Which country would you prefer for your next reincarnation?
  7. What sex would you choose?
  8. What fate would you choose for your eternal life? What is Paradise for you?

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