14 February, 2021

In the later 1800s, the confession album was a popular fixture in British culture. The name had nothing to do with people's deepest, darkest secrets, though the "confessions" within were of a somewhat personal and revealing nature. It gained prominence for about fifty years, before falling (well, mostly) out of fashion.

Like so many cultural elements of years bygone, today the confession album has fallen out largely out of usage. It only really survives in two forms: the Proust Questionnaire used for interviews with the famous and distinguished, and in the Netherlands and Germany, books for little kids.

But I see no reason for it to stay that way - self-reflection is a quality just as valuable in adults as well, and celebrities are in the greater scheme of things no more important than the common man. Plus, it's a great way of discovering what kind of person someone is - or at least what kind of person the want to be or think they are.

I've taken the liberty of assembling my own list of questions here, with my answers.1 Feel free to use it, so long as you provide attribution.

Question Answer
Favourite virtue Selflessness, honesty
Chief purpose in life To make the world a better place, to enjoy life, to create
Greatest challenge in life To define oneself
Personal idea of happiness A nice book next to a fireplace; lack of worries
Personal idea of misery Losing your sense of self
Vice you excuse most Pride
Vice you hate most Selfishness, dishonesty
Principal personal vice Pride
Principal aversion Excess
Best test of character How someone treats those in need, or that society looks down upon2
Favourite visual artist Albrecht Durer
Favourite medium of art Illustration, 2D animation, electronic music
Favourite hero3 Stanislav Petrov
Favourite colour Green
Favourite food Anything sweet, sausage rolls
Favourite flower Pohutukawa, hibiscus
Favourite ice cream flavour Cookies and cream
Favourite potato chip flavour Chicken (reasonably common in New Zealand)
Favourite motto Lucem porta in tenebris, John 8:324
Favourite academic discipline Psychology, computer science, history
Favourite mammal Cat
Dream home A wooden hut in the woods, with nobody else around for miles
Trolley problem5 Pull the lever
Cat or dog person Cat, but I like both
Weirdness or blandness Weirdness

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