The 36 Questions that Lead to Love: Civic Edition

Here at the Center for Civic Media, we don’t only care about True Love, we care about Just Love.

In 1997, psychologist Arthur Aron hypothesized that a series of 36 questions could foster interpersonal closeness. The questions have become well-known as the 36 Questions that Lead to Love after Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This — which the New York Times famously wrote about.

We’re taking love into our own hands and editing the questions to adhere to the civic minded — the activist, social artist, society thinker, justice seeker, equality obsessor, radical ponderer and freedom fighter.

We’ve revamped the famous 36 questions to suit people whose day to day includes thinking about equality, love, peace, justice and a better world for all. The questions have been pooled from brilliant minds within the MIT Media Lab’s Civic Media group.

To Fall In Love With Anyone with a Civic Mind, Do This:

Answer the following questions with a partner. We recommend doing the questions inside a blanket covered Dome. If you don’t have one, feel free to visit Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab and we’d be glad to lend you one. However, if that’s not feasible, wherever you are works perfectly fine too.

Civic Media, Dome Is Where The Heart Is
  1. Given the choice of any activist in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
  2. What would you start a revolution about?
  3. Protest or Donate?
  4. What does Civic Engagement look like to you?
  5. What does liberation mean to you?
  6. What is your favorite piece of civic art? Why?
  7. If you had to redesign a city, which would it be and why?
  8. Do you have a secret hunch about how the world will end?
  9. Who in life are you most grateful for?
  10. If you could change anything about the state of the world right now, what would it be and why?
  11. Take four minutes and tell you partner about a time you were morally conflicted in as much detail as possible.
  12. If you could wake up tomorrow with one Civc Super Power, what would it be and why?
  13. Institutionalism or Insurrectionism?
  14. Is there a cause you’ve wanted to join the fight for but haven’t? If so, why not?
  15. Who are a people you don’t hear enough from?
  16. Tell your partner about a time that you felt unsafe.
  17. Tell your partner about a time that you were civicly disobedient.
  18. What is your favorite Supreme Court Decision?
  19. What is your least favorite Supreme Court Decision?
  20. Could you love someone who didn’t vote?
  21. What roles do activism and social justice play in your life?
  22. How has your upbringing shaped your beliefs?
  23. In what space do you feel the most unseen and why?
  24. How do you show love to the communities you care about?
  25. What do you consider your privileges to be? How do you check your privilege?
  26. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “
  27. If you could go back in time to witness one moment in history, what would it be and why?
  28. Is there something in your past you feel guilty about? Why?
  29. Which technology do you think is most harmful to society?
  30. Share with your partner a time in which you felt helpless.
  31. Tell your partner the last time a speech made you cry. Whose speech was it and why did it touch you?
  32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
  33. Who, in your life, do you most struggle with understanding their perspective? Why?
  34. Who, in your life, do you most wish could empathize with you? Why do you feel that they currently do not?
  35. If you could release one person from prison right now, who would it be and why?
  36. Share a civic problem you’ve been struggling with and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

We hope these questions help you and your civic soulmate find love and equality.

*It should be noted that this is by no means scientific and that the Center for Civic Media shall not be held accountable should two civic minded people not fall in love after answering these questions.

**That said, we’d be surprised if they didn’t.