It is a fact of life that the truly great questions of the universe make for brilliant conversations.
So many interesting things to talk about. So many topics to choose from.
Where shall we start?
Some of the most challenging conversational topics fall under the metaphysics heading.
From the Greek that literally translates as ‘beyond nature,’ metaphysics deals with all sorts of questions about being and time and life and death and change.
Try these topics on for size:
1. Are you the same person you were yesterday?
2. What is time? Are we affected by it, or does our consciousness create it?
3. Is there such a thing as a soul?
4. Is there anything for us beyond our physical deaths?
5. Could we ever accurately predict the future? Or does the “spooky action” of the quantum world, as Einstein put it, mean things are inherently unpredictable?
6. Are there an infinite number of realities beyond our own where each possible decision is taken and each fork in the road traveled down?
7. Why is there something and not nothing?
Get ready to have your minds blown.
We all long for it, but what do we actually know about love?
There is so much scope for interesting conversations here….
1. Is love dependence on another?
2. Is love solely a biochemical response to specific, measurable, sets of stimuli?
4. Does love ever conquer all or is that notion just the hype of sinister greeting card companies?
5. Do we love people because of who they are, or in spite of who they are?
6. Do opposites really attract?
8. Can you love more than one romantic partner at the same time?
9. How long does it take to fall in love?
10. Why is beauty so subjective?
11. Do any other species in the animal kingdom experience love like we humans do?
12. Is there such a thing as a soulmate or kindred spirit?
13. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for love?
Philosophers and poets have pondered these things at great length…
…it’s possible we’d have made better progress on answers if more groups of friends tackled the questions instead.
When speaking of inner worlds, few things can be as fascinating as dissecting the “Whys” and “Hows” and “Whos” and “Whats” of our everyday lives.
1. Nature of nurture – which plays the biggest role in who you are?
2. Why do some people enjoy things that you really dislike?
3. Is happiness an end goal or simply a by-product of other things?
4. Why do we remember some things vividly and forget other things entirely?
5. What is your most vivid memory from your early childhood?
6. Which of your parents are you most like in terms of personality?
7. What are you most afraid of?
8. What are your 3 biggest character flaws?
9. What are you most proud of? Why?
10. What percentage of your decisions do you think are made by your unconscious or subconscious and what percentage by your conscious?
11. Do you think you make good decisions by and large?
12. Are you more YOU when you are alone or when you are with others?
13. When someone asks us how we are, why do we respond with “fine” when we’re really not fine?
14. How old do you feel in your mind?
15. Why does your mind hold you back from doing things you might enjoy?
16. Are you an optimist or a pessimist? What are your reasons for being so?
For some of these questions, it can be eye-opening to get the other person to answer for you. Try it and see.
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A large part of psychology – and one that deserves its own section – are the beliefs that we hold so dear.
This includes religion, political views, logical beliefs, and pretty much anything that requires you to have faith.
1. Why do you believe what you believe to be true?
2. Why does religion play such a big role in the lives of so many people?
3. Is atheism a form of religion?
4. Should we look after our own well-being, or should we all look after each other?
5. Do you believe that man is inherently good?
6. Have you ever changed your mind and stop believing something that you once strongly believed in? Why?
7. Do you believe intelligent life exists beyond this planet?
8. Does the government have too much or too little say over the way we live our lives?
9. Is there a limit to free speech or should anybody be allowed to say anything they like?
10. How do you deal with information or evidence that contradicts a belief you hold strongly?
11. How much information do you need before you believe something someone says? Does it depend on how much you trust that person or how intelligent you think they are?
12. Is there such a thing as truth?
When discussing these sorts of topics, it is worth knowing how to debate in a healthy way rather than letting it descend into an argument.
Morality And Ethics
What’s right and what’s wrong? Good or evil? Morally acceptable or morally outrageous?
There are so many scenarios to consider, but here are just a few to get you started.
1. Why is it so easy to overlook the mass suffering in the world?
2. Should we have the right to end our own lives?
3. Two parents decide to raise their son as a girl (or vice versa) – should they be allowed to if it will cause the child identity issues when they are older?
4. If it were guaranteed to reduce violent crime by 30%, should everyone have to give a DNA sample to the police? What if it were 80%?
5. Is it ever just to sacrifice the life of one innocent person in order to save the lives of 5 innocent people? What if taking one life would save 100 lives? Is the decision made easier if the person being sacrificed were a convicted murderer? Would you be more willing to sacrifice an adult than you would be to sacrifice a baby? Would you sacrifice your own life?
6. If you learned that your father was cheating on your mother (or vice versa), would you tell your mother knowing that it would leave her unhappy for the rest of her life, or stay quiet if your father promised he’d never do it again?
7. Is it ok to perform experiments on animals if it means saving human lives? Does the type of animal matter?
When you’re chatting to friends or acquaintances, you could talk about the usual things such as work and TV and the news, or you could dive into something a little deeper.
The topics and questions above are rabbit holes of possibility – as soon as you head down one, it inevitably leads to another and another.
So go on, try one on for size and see where the conversation takes you.