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A Round of Questions

[First published in PhotoStatic #33, November, 1988, and in Mr. Templeton's Toyshop, Jazz Police Books, 1995.]

1. What is a toy?

2. How do you play with a toy?

3. How does a toy differ from a religious artifact?

4. From a work of art?

5. From a tool?

6. What do you create when you play with a toy?

7. Does what you create "exist"?

8. What do you create when you use a religious artifact?

9. Does what you create "exist"?

10. What do you create when you display a work of art?

11. Does what you create "exist"?

12. What do you create when you use a tool?

13. Does what you create "exist"?

14. Where do these things "exist"?

15. Can you use a work of art in the same way you use a tool?

16. Can a toy take the place of a religious artifact?

17. When is a toy gun not a toy?

18. When is a chalice just a fancy cup?

19. When is a tool a work of art?

20. How does an object move from the category "toy" to "religious artifact"?

21. From the category "work of art" to "tool"?

22. Can objects be given meaning?

23. Can people be given meaning?

24. Why are meanings given to objects and people?

25. Are these meanings "true"?

26. If you believe something is "true," is it true?

27. If you believe in yourself, do you then "exist"?

28. If two or more people believe the same thing, does it "exist" for them?

29. Is religion a matter of belief?

30. If you believe in a religion, does it "exist"?

31. Is politics a matter of belief?

32. If you believe in a political ideology, does it "exist"?

33. What is belief?

34. Is belief something you tell yourself?

35. Is belief powerful?

36. Can belief dominate your mind?

37. Can belief blind you to the facts?

38. How does one express a belief?

39. Can these expressions use words?

40. Can words create meaning?

41. Can words give meaning to objects and people?

42. Can words provoke emotions?

43. Can words provoke memories?

44. Can words provoke actions?

45. Can dogs be trained?

46. Can dogs be trained to react to certain words?

47. What is an audience?

48. Can an audience be made to react to certain words?

49. What is advertising?

50. What is a political slogan?

51. What is a command?

52. Do most people do what words tell them to do?

53. Are words powerful?

54. Are these words powerful?

55. Are you paying attention only to these words?

56. Is there a voice in your head speaking these words?

57. Is that "your" voice?

58. Are they "your" words?

59. Are you "alone" now?

60. Are you "alone" in your head now?

61. When your inner voice speaks these words, are any of your own thoughts also being spoken?

62. Have these words been directing your thoughts in a particular direction?

63. If you had not been reading these words, would your thoughts have gone in that direction?

64. Are you being led by these words?

65. Are these words dominating your mind?

66. Have these words taken over your mind?

67. Are these words playing with you?

68. Does that make you a toy?

69. What is a toy?

--Thomas Wiloch