If you want to give your gray matter a serious workout, or start a long and interesting conversation with someone, you’ve come to the right place.
All you need is something to spark the mind into action, and what better way than by asking a few of the most thought-provoking questions there are.
For many of these, there is no right or wrong answer, just an opportunity to stretch your mental legs and see where your mind takes you.
They can be sources of contemplation and introspection, or topics to debate with friends late into the night when the moon is up and the rest of the world is asleep.
Try to remain open-minded, and if your views differ from those of others, be willing to accept that this is part of what makes life so interesting and exciting.
Questions like these make fantastic portals inward and allow you to explore your true thoughts and feelings.
Don’t worry if you can’t give a definitive answer; just know that by thinking about such deep, philosophical problems, you are growing in both mind and spirit.
And if you want to share your views with us and other readers, you can always leave a comment at the bottom of the article (just start by saying which number you are answering so we can easily follow).
So let’s jump in with the seriously thought-provoking questions. Starting with…
1. Can anything ever really be considered ‘true’ or is everything subjective?
2. Which is a scarier thought: that the human race is the most advanced form of life in the universe, or that we are mere amoeba compared to other life forms?
3. Does a belief in free will make you more or less happy?
4. Should prisoners with full life sentences be given the chance to end their life rather than live out their days locked up?
5. If you fear death, why?
6. Given the ripple effect of our actions across time and space, how can we ever be sure that we’re doing the ‘right’ thing?
7. What is consciousness?
8. If you knew there was an 80% chance that someone was going to commit murder in their lifetime, but a 20% chance that they would not, would you imprison them before they had the opportunity? What if it were 50-50?
9. How do we know that we’re not living in a computer simulation?
10. Will there ever be a time when robots, for want of a better word, are treated as equals with humans?
11. If you do a good deed in order to feel good about it, is it kindness or business? Does it matter either way?
12. Imagine you’re 65. Would you rather live another 10 years in good health with full mobility or another 40 years in deteriorating health with limited mobility?
13. Is it easier to hate or to love? Why?
14. If a perfect clone of you were created, right down to the tiniest cellular detail, would it BE you or would it somehow still be missing something?
15. If the most effective way to help the greatest number of people out of poverty was to stop helping a small percentage of the population altogether, would it be a reasonable choice to make?
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16. How should we measure our lives? In years? In moments? In accomplishments? Something else?
17. If humans still exist in 10,000 years time, what will civilization look like?
18. What is something that you could realistically do today that would benefit the rest of your life? What’s stopping you?
19. Does scientific and technological progress require an unequal distribution of wealth? Is it worth it if the only people who benefit are the rich?
20. If intelligent extra-terrestrial life was discovered, how do you think humanity would react?
21. Is there any real significance to numbers such as 11:11 or do we just give them meaning that doesn’t exist?
22. Are personal boundaries necessary or do they restrict the full expression of love?
23. If consciousness is a purely human trait, are we better off for it or does it simply lead to greater problems?
24. Is there such a thing as an ‘ordinary’ life? If so, what does it look like?
25. Why do bad things happen to good people?
26. Is suffering an important part of being human?
27. Can humanity ever come together around a common cause or are we all too selfish as individuals?
28. Are any of our views truly our own or do we simply inherit them from the environments and societies we live our lives in?
29. Would you prepared to live through a year of extreme hardship and trauma if it subsequently meant a lifetime of peace and happiness?
30. Does modern life give us more freedom or less freedom than in the past?
31. Can any love be truly unconditional when we can’t ever be sure how we might feel in a future set of circumstances?
32. Would you wish to live a 1000 years in your 25 year old body if you had the choice?
33. Does instant connectivity and communication bring people together or push them apart?
34. Why are we humans so good at passing the buck of responsibility onto other people or entities?
35. Is there such a thing as knowledge if everything we know is subject to debate?
36. Would you prefer to lose all the memories you have now or never be able to make any new memories?
37. If you knew that sacrificing your life would have a huge benefit to thousands of people, would you do it?
38. Are we the source of our own problems? Do we create problems in our minds to give us something to focus on?
39. If you could find out the date you will die, would you do it? Would knowing the date change how you live your life?
40. Does asking questions such as the 39 above actually do you any good? Could it even do you harm?