Surreal Questionaire

29 Mar, 2016 | Hugh Ollard

Going Out

Photo: Kit Fretz

It was a rainy, overcast day when BX descended on unwitting university students at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés to grill them on their views about some of life’s most pressing questions: Does the body rule the mind? Are our actions predetermined? What is your favourite sandwich? What follows is a record of what some of La Paz’s brightest students said, when put under the ineffable BX microscope.

Our first target, after we were thoroughly rebuffed by what can only be called a veritable party pooper, was Luis Enrique, an engineering systems student. Chilling against a wall, clad in a fetching leather jacket, he wowed us with his clearly well-thought out answers:

BX: I think therefore I am. Discuss.

Luis Enrique: I don’t know... (A long pause follows.) I exist because of my parents.

BX: Thank you, Luis. If a tree falls in a forest with no one around, does it make a sound?

LE: (Appearing deep in thought.) If a tree falls, a tree falls, but we don’t hear it.

BX: Again, thank you, Luis. What is your favourite sandwich?

Luis: (For the first time, appearing certain.) An egg sandwich.

We then turned to Ivana, also clad in leather, a tourism student.

BX: Does the body rule the mind or the mind rule the body?

Ivana: (With certainty) The mind rules the body.

BX: Are all our actions predetermined?

Ivana: No. I believe we can choose whether to do something or not.

BX: Well put, Ivana, thank you – but what is your favourite sandwich?

Ivana: (Suddenly unsure, put off balance.) Maybe ham and cheese?

BX: Delicious. Did Leo deserve the Oscar?

Ivana: I don’t understand. (Pause) Oh no. No, no, no. I don’t like him. He’s really boring.

BX: Well that’s a bit harsh.

Leaving such negativity behind, we crossed the Plaza Estudiantes and met Judith, a medical student.

BX: Does the body rule the mind or the mind rule the body?

Judith: The mind rules the body. The mind chooses what you do, what you like.

BX: Fair enough. Are all our actions predetermined?

Judith: No. I think half are and half are not. We can’t change some things.

BX: I agree to a point, but what is your favourite dinosaur?

Judith: What? Why? (Pauses.) I guess T-Rex. I don’t really know.

BX: Would you eat one of my friends?

Judith: No. I don’t know them.

Having examined the university’s finest on the pressing issues of the day, we swiftly exited the plaza, looking back only to see a collection of sandwich-related existential crises.

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