Unanswered questions

 

They also can't be answered in a definitive way. Answers are elusive; when found, nuanced.

Spiritual and religious traditions and beliefs provide helpful ways of looking at these questions. Be open to their thoughts, even when they clash with your own.

Be skeptical of anyone who claims a definitive answer. Investigate and question. Only internalize the answer if you deeply believe it; this is the only way for it to be deeply meaningful and true.

Be skeptical of anyone who attempts to reduce these questions to merely one aspect (for example, the physical). These questions transcend disciplines and require a mix of approaches.

 

Is anything impossible?

  • Can supernatural beings overcome what appears impossible by definition? For example, can God overcome the laws of physics (perhaps because God is not governed by physics)? Can God reverse time? Can God just change the laws of physics, to make an exception in one case or to change the rules moving forward?
  • How much do humans really understand of impossibility? How can we know for certain that anything is impossible, when we have imperfect knowledge? Is not God the only arbiter of what is impossible?
  • Given the availability of alternatives in essentially every situation, is impossibility a meaningful concept? Or is it purely theoretical?
  • Does one's state of mind influence the perceived impossibility? (Of course). Does one's state of mind influence the practical impossibility? (I say yes here, too. People who reject impossibility do the, well, impossible).

 

How is life formed?

  • And how could it possibly be formed from that which is non-living? It's definitionally absurd.
  • Do supernatural beings have a role in this transformation?

 

What is consciousness?

  • We can describe consciousness fairly well - an understanding of self, an awareness of the world. But this does not really tell us anything. How is consciousness formed? Is it purely a physical phenomena? Can it be manufactured?
  • At what point does a living being become conscious? What marks this transition? What causes it? Can we draw a stark dividing line or are their shades in between (for instance, between a non-conscious baby and a conscious toddler)?
  • Can we physically measure consciousness? In other words, can we point to specific physical elements of the brain to indicate that something is conscious or not?
    • More widely speaking, can we attribute every mental phenomena to something in the brain, or is there also a mind? I won't include this question as a main one because many already ask about it - it's not an innovative question. This is also an area of extensive study, and we may come closer to an answer during our lifetimes.

 

Are there other types of being other than living?

  • We classify everything in the Universe according to whether it is living or non-living. Does this classification capture the full breadth of existence? Or are there alternative ways of existing?
  • An analogy: we have our five senses (touching, smelling, etc.) Were there a sixth sense, we would not fully understand it because we had not experienced it. Just as describing sight to a blind person is futile (the blind person can never, by definition, truly understand sight), none of us can understand a sixth sense, which we lack (even if we knew about said sense).
  • Are there alternative ways of existing that we are currently unfamiliar with and have yet to discover?
  • Are there alternative ways of existing that we can never understand, given our particular station in life? We exist through living in three dimensional space, with limited knowledge; does this disqualify us from understanding or even observing alternative forms? In other words, are we too limited to go beyond our personal form of existence and reach outward?
  • Is it possible to adopt an alliterative form of existence? Just as one can end life and enter non-life, can one transition from life to something else?

 

Is life fair?

  • People are born into drastically different situations. Some people seem to live better or worse lives than others. Does it all even out in the end (that is, we each have countervailing good times and bad times), or do some of us just get shortchanged?
  • Does the human capacity to adapt to changing circumstances (and maintain roughly the same mood and level of happiness as before) mean we all make do in our respective stations? Or are there situations which no adaptation can overcome (e.g. abuse) or weaken (e.g. love), leaving us permanently happier or sadder?
  • Do genetic differences (for example, a predisposition to mental or physical illness) make us unequal, or are genetics themselves fair (doling out plenty of good and bad for each?)
  • Is there any good for a farm animal raised in a pen for the sole purpose of being killed? Can we say that it has any enjoyment or life, or is its life purely unhappy?
  • How do we measure fairness? Is happiness a good indicator? (I think not). We need something deeper, like fulfillment, but how do we measure that? Is fulfillment an inherently subjective concept, rendering comparisons pointless and in fact impossible?

 

Is time cyclical?

  • Is it true that time passes in an endless circle?
  • This is both reassuring (knowing that nothing good is ever lost forever), but also horrific (knowing that nothing bad ever passes)

 

What came before the Big Bang?

  • Is it really true that the Universe did not exist before? It makes more sense to say that it was incredibly small.
  • Can it be uncaused?
  • Was anything supernatural involved? Isn't the incredibly rapid expansion by definition supernatural, since it essentially brought into being the laws of nature (physics)?