Nation's brainiacs in Minnesota contest to mull: 'Love or fear?'


Hundreds of the nation's deepest thinkers are expected to submit entries to a long-running Minnesota-based philosophy debate contest known for its provocative questions.

The query for this year's Great American Think-Off: “Love or fear: Which motivates us more?”

Anyone can enter the free contest by submitting a 750-word essay with their best arguments on the topic by April 1.

The 22nd annual contest, sponsored by the New York Mills Cultural Center, is a nationally known "exhibition of civil disagreement between powerful ideas that connect to your life at the gut level." More info here.

Sound like a debate you'd love to enter, or are you fearful? Here's a tip from event organizers: Essays should be "grounded in the writer’s personal experience, not in philosophical abstraction."

Four finalists win $500, plus an expenses-paid to New York Mills, Minnesota, to debate the question live June 14.

More than 500 writers entered last year when the question was: "Which is more ethical: sticking to your principles or being willing to compromise?"

The winner was Paul Terry, the CEO of Eagan-based StayWell Health Management, who beat out an Augsburg College professor and two other thinkers from Memphis, Tennessee, and Clayton, North Carolina. He argued the case for compromise.

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