Challenging your mind with some of life’s biggest questions can be fun (trust us when we say this), so here are 9 such things to ponder…
1. Is time real?
Time is a funny old thing; the rate at which it seems to pass can change based upon factors such as age, location and events. But is time a concrete property of the universe or is it just a construct of the human mind and/or society?
If time does not exist, are all things happening all at once? Is there no such thing as past, present and future?
Do animals experience something akin to time?
2. Are you constrained by your physical body or can you transcend it?
This is inextricably linked to the question of what constitutes “you”.
Are you a collection of cells arranged in a particular way with physical constraints?
Or are you not just your body, but also your thoughts, your actions, your footprints in time and space, your connections with the world and everything in it?
If someone has a thought about you, is this a part of you? Have you left your imprint on this other person and, if so, does this mean you have gone beyond the limits of your physical body?
3. Does the world look the same through another person’s eyes?
In other words, is there a fixed reality or is what we perceive as real merely a reflection of the way our minds work?
If the latter is the case, could it be that those who hold different opinions to ourselves, even those with extreme or radical opinions, simply see a different reality?
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder; so could the same be said about reality?
4. Are you still you if everyone looks at you differently?
Even if you remain exactly as you are right now, if you could flick a magical switch in everyone else’s mind so that their perceptions of you were different, would you still be the same person?
In other words, is a part of who we are contained within the way that we are seen by the rest of the world?
5. If there is a higher power (some may say a God), what properties does it have?
The existence of a higher power is fundamental to many religions, and yet it is typically an unseen presence. If there is a divine being, can we comprehend it?
Does it exist in the same physical sense as the rest of the universe and, if so, what matter is it made of, what properties does it have, and where does it reside?
If it doesn’t exist in the universe as we know it, where does it exist?
6. If a higher power created the universe, why did it do so?
If we assume, for a minute, that a higher power created the universe and everything in it, then we must ask why.
What is the universe to such a power and why did it deem it something that required existence?
Has it created other things apart from the universe that we can perceive?
7. Does infinity exist in our physical universe?
Learning to count is one of the first things we are taught at school and when we begin with our 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on, it probably never occurs to us whether or not this sequence of numbers has an end.
As we get older, however, the concept of infinity begins to rear its ugly head and a lifelong struggle with it begins.
In the sense that we use this concept in mathematics and other fields, infinity does exist, but is there such a thing in the physical universe?
For instance, is the universe itself infinite in size? Does it simply continue forever and, if it does, would we bump into another identical version of ourselves if we could travel far enough?
Is the density at the singularity of a black hole really infinite as many believe? If this is the case, surely the point at which this matter exists is infinitely small in volume? If so, what does this mean? If not, it must therefore contain an infinite amount of mass (since density = mass/volume) which would lead back to the universe being infinite.
8. Will the human race evolve beyond the ego?
Self awareness has certainly evolved over the epochs, and the ego, as defined by psychologists, must have done likewise.
So we may ask ourselves how this evolution will continue and whether the ego as it is in the human mind is here for good or if it will disappear over the succeeding millions of years.
What would the world look like if the ego did not exist? Conversely, what would the world look like if the ego strengthened its position over generations?
9. Has the human race stopped evolving altogether?
Evolution, as Darwin would suggest, comes about through natural selection, and yet the human race no longer seems to abide by this so have we stopped evolving?
Through medical advances, the number of people dying from disease continues to fall and we are living to ever older ages. Since life no longer comes down to the survival of the fittest (or more accurately, the survival of the best adapted), have we peaked as a species?
Is our evolution now one of the mind rather than one of the body, or will evolution continue through further advances in technology?
Or could evolution still be happening in the poorer parts of the world where people continue to die of disease, leaving those with natural immunities to live and reproduce?