Life is full of deep questions; some we ask ourselves and others we hear from others.
But regardless of where they come from, it’s important to think critically about our everyday situations and the way we respond to them.
Many things in life are taken at face value, but what if they aren’t really how they seem?
If you find yourself struggling to come up with answers to these thought-provoking questions, then perhaps asking yourself philosophical questions can help you take a step back from the every day and realize how much bigger the world is than just you and your problems.
These questions, posed by some of the world’s most prominent philosophers, will force you to really think about what it means to be alive and lead you to new insights into your own life and experiences.
Read on to learn more about these seemingly simple yet deep questions that make you question life in ways you never expected.
Also read: 500 Questions that make you think deeply
20 Questions that make you question life
While there are many questions that have been asked and answered thousands of times, some questions remain unanswered, either because they cannot be answered or simply haven’t been asked yet. In the spirit of the unknown.
Here are 20 thought-provoking questions that make you question life with answers.
1. What is life?
Answer: According to Encyclopedia Britannica , life is the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic matter, including such properties as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli.
Science uses a working definition of life as an organismic state characterized by ordered chemistry and regulated metabolism.
However, philosophically and beyond science, there are issues that life raises that cannot be explained by scientific inquiry.
For example: Is it possible to provide a solid definition of life without using circular reasoning? What is it about living things that can stir us so profoundly? Why do we care so much about other living things—animals and people alike?
These questions take us back to an even more fundamental question: What makes something alive in the first place?
Greatest philosophers of all time like Socrates and and plato argue that life is some kind of spirit or essence.
Socrates considered that personal and spiritual growth were the purposes of life. It is his most famous statement that establishes this conviction: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates lived his life to question and resolve.
Others look to science, suggesting it may be something as simple as DNA or an advanced form of matter. Either way, it is clear that some intangible characteristic differentiates what we call living things from inanimate objects—and whatever that quality is, humans seem to possess it.
2. Why are we here?
Answer: We are here because we exist. If we didn’t exist, then we wouldn’t be here. In fact, if no one existed then there would be no one to ask questions about why things are as they are—it would just be that way.
Humans have been trying to answer that question for thousands of years. In modern times, scientists believe it is no longer a question of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe, but when we will discover it.
The question why are we here? will continue to plague us. Many things must come together just right—our planets precise distance from our sun, our moon at just the right orbit and size, countless other factors—for humans to even exist in our universe.
But there has to be more than mere coincidence involved in the creation of life, especially intelligent life like ours. There has to be meaning behind all these coincidences, or else something very wrong with our theory of existence.
3. What is reality?
Answer: Reality is what you perceive to be real. Therefore, everyone has their own perception of reality that they believe to be true.
The definition of reality can change depending on your personal belief system. Depending on your religion or spiritual beliefs, you could believe that it is just a figment of our imagination and that there is no such thing as an objective reality.
Plato argued that we see objects in two ways: Firstly, we perceive them in terms of shadows cast by things in our environment; we know something is round because it casts a circular shadow.
Secondly, we can access information about objects through knowledge through reflection—that is by looking within ourselves at our knowledge of universal Forms from which all else derives.
Ultimately, to live a good life and be a moral person means to discover truth and reality. Philosophers have been debating for thousands of years what exactly constitutes truth and reality.
We may never be able to answer that question definitively but accepting that there are many different realities out there opens up endless possibilities for life’s questions.
Also read: 500+ Deep questions to ask on topics that make you think
4. What happens when you die?
Answer: This question is an interesting one because many of us fear what happens after death, although we don’t know what that actually is. Perhaps it’s nothingness or perhaps you go to heaven or hell.
Even if there were scientific evidence proving what happened when you die, like people claiming to come back from near-death experiences with vivid descriptions of life after death, then there are still huge philosophical questions that must be answered before anyone can truly say they know for sure about life after death.
For example: When does your consciousness end? What about your soul? Is it really possible for us to live forever in some other form in another world somewhere else in space and time? These are all open questions for philosophers and scientists alike.
So, the fact is we really know nothing at all about what happens when we die—and will most likely never know unless someone comes back from death with a detailed report of their experience.
5. How do you know what’s real?
Answer: We know that reality is real because it conforms to our five senses. If you can’t touch it, taste it, hear it, smell it or see it then for all intents and purposes, you are not sure if something actually exists.
There are some things that go against logic—such as seeing a rope in water and believing your eyes instead of realizing what is really happening—but generally speaking our senses help us validate what is real versus what isn’t.
6. Why are there so many unanswered questions?
Answer: There are many questions that have no scientific answer, but that doesn’t mean there is not a scientific explanation for them. For example, it’s true that there is no scientific explanation as to why we experience love.
Many believe it is because of certain chemicals released in our brains or because we need others to survive and reproduce; these are all interesting theories, but they’re still just theories.
The actual biological cause of feelings such as love has yet to be discovered—but it can be, and one day will probably be explained by science. It could even turn out that love is nothing more than a chemical reaction taking place inside your brain—but then again maybe not!
There really isn’t any way of knowing for sure how we know what we think we know about anything until science comes up with answers.
Also read: 500+ Philosophical questions about life
7. Does any thought have its own gravity?
Answer: Let’s take a step back and think about gravity. Gravity is an attractive force that exists between any two massive objects. The more mass something has, the greater its gravitational pull.
Now I know we can’t feel gravity so we can’t directly see or touch it, but we all experience it every day of our lives.
If you stand on a platform and let go of something heavy, like say a bowling ball for example, then you will feel it fall to earth while at your feet stays in place.
This is because of gravity—and Newton’s third law explains exactly why: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction . In other words, whatever goes up must come down.
However, to come back to the main question, does any thought have its own gravity? Well, it could be argued that ideas do possess their own internal weight.
For example, if someone plants a new idea in your head, such as telling you there are aliens living on Mars, then that idea will stay with you until either proven wrong or right by some outside source. But that’s just an analogy, maybe one day science will prove thoughts have their own weight! Who knows?
8. Is there any meaning behind what we see?
Answer: We can create meaning behind everything! I mean, if we didn’t have a reason for why we do what we do—life would be so confusing.
But I think you have to really reflect on whether or not your life has purpose. And if it doesn’t seem like it does, don’t worry! We all have different paths in life and even if one thing doesn’t work out for you right now—maybe something will tomorrow.
Or maybe your path hasn’t gotten you to where you want to be yet. But who knows what’s around the corner? Maybe your path was supposed to lead up to a crossroads and there’s some light at that end of tunnel?
Either way just try to live without regrets and let yourself choose whatever road makes you happy.
9. Why does anything exist?
Answer: I can’t think of a more philosophical question than why does anything exist? Well, I suppose there are many, but it seems like one of those questions that will probably never have an answer.
The fact is everything exists for different reasons. For example, if you know how to swim then you can thank (or blame) people who decided to create swimming pools; but even they had to first know how not to drown before making swimming pools!
This isn’t meant as any sort of deep insight into why things exist; it just points out that something must precede other things in order for them to come into existence.
10. Why is there something rather than nothing?
Answer: This is one of those questions that will probably never have an answer, but it’s fun to think about. I suppose if there was nothing then there would be no way to ask why something exists instead of nothing.
Because… well there wouldn’t be anything! If you think about it for a while you can see how words like thing are used all over by humans—we say things all the time in our speech and writing.
For example, when people look at something they tend to describe what they see as this thing or that thing. We use these phrases so frequently that we don’t even really pay attention anymore.
However, when you slow down and take notice of language in general, even everyday phrases like things are looking up, or I’ve got lots of things on my mind, it’s interesting how much importance we place on so many objects.
Also read: Brilliant questions that cannot be answered by science.
Deep questions that make you question life
11. What happens before we’re born?
Answer: Here’s one way to answer before we’re born. If you’re reading then you must have been taught how to read, meaning there was someone around to teach you how, right?
The same can be said for everything else in life—we are taught by our parents and other role models, but where did they learn it all from?
It’s kind of like a domino effect; there needs to be someone or something that first started things off. Some would say God or some higher power is responsible for starting us off on Earth, but I prefer not to over think these things too much!
What I do know is that even if no one ever existed before me, who knows what would have happened if they didn’t exist! Maybe their absence would create some sort of chaos at work… I’ll leave you with that thought.
12. Why do bad things happen to good people?
Answer: I guess if you believe in a higher power then there must be some sort of reason for bad things happening to good people. After all, some sort of ‘good’ would have to exist before ‘bad’ could have meaning.
If I had to come up with an answer on my own, I would say it’s just how life works sometimes. Sometimes I do think that life happens randomly without any significance. I think life is just a mix of uncertain chaos and pleasure.
Although, when we compare our lives to others’ we seem so much worse off than them… but what makes us so sure?
We have no way of knowing what goes on behind closed doors! In fact, maybe they’re worse off than us… or not.
Either way, let’s leave each other alone about these topics because no one really knows anything at all! But something, I am very sure is, whatever happens to you, it’s all depends upon how you respond to each event will determine the success of your life.
13. Why Do We Die?
Answer: It’s strange to think that we’re born with a set amount of time that we’ll be alive. What I mean is, as humans we come into life and then eventually at some point leave it.
We are all born with a set number of years, decades or even centuries—and although death seems far away when you’re young, somehow things always start to change when you get older.
At first you don’t notice it so much, but eventually everything around you starts to disappear in one way or another.
I think we all already know that we’re going to die at some point, and I can’t say that I’m scared about it.
However, I do wonder sometimes what happens to us after we’ve died—do we just disappear into thin air? Or is there an existence beyond our own? But honestly, why do we even need to question these things in the first place.
The only way humans would ever figure out anything is if they try their best and don’t be afraid of failure. As long as you’re still breathing there’s hope for your life!
So keep going forward and never look back because everything will work out somehow, somehow you’ll find a way! Just remember that dying is a part of life, but it’s how you live that counts.
14. How Do We Recognize Beauty?
Answer: It’s hard to tell what exactly beauty is. I think we all have a different perception of what is or isn’t beautiful. I personally think that beauty comes from your personality and not your appearance.
But it also depends on how you present yourself as well, like clothing and such. But as for me personally, if I like you as a person then it doesn’t matter what you look like because at least I know you are true to yourself!
Although, maybe people feel attraction to others based off their looks? But who knows? Beauty is subjective in my opinion. It can be hard sometimes to realize someone else’s inner beauty.
Recommended reading: 150 Intellectual questions to ask yourself and others to ponder about life.
15. What Makes Us Happy?
Answer: Although it might sound cliché, I truly believe that happiness comes from within. When you’re happy with yourself, then there’s really nothing stopping you from being happy with your life.
Because of that, it’s extremely important to be able to love and accept yourself as much as possible. If you’re not happy with who you are then it can be hard to do anything in life because, let’s face it—we all want to be as happy as possible!
Luckily for us we can change things like our body or our looks (at least somewhat) but we cannot change how we feel on the inside. But again, I think what makes us happy is who we are rather than what we do.
16. How Important is Money?
Answer: I think money can buy you happiness to a certain extent. However, I think having money doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have friends and family to share it with… Money is just a material thing.
Sure, it’s important because it can provide things for you—but on its own, there’s nothing really special about it. It’s more of a symbol of what you have been able to accomplish in life so far. I’m not saying that money isn’t good—of course it is!
But I’m just saying that people should try their best to be happy even without money because you only live once.
17. Are we alone?
Answer: I think there’s no way for us to know for sure whether or not we’re alone in space. I mean, if there is other life out there then I would assume they would try to contact us by now, right?
Unless they’re just sitting back and watching us like some sort of experiment… But again, it all depends on how long their technology has been around.
All I’m saying is that until someone tells me differently—I will assume that we are alone! But hey—if anyone can prove me wrong about aliens please let me know… As long as they aren’t green with big eyes because those aren’t really my type… Lol!
18. How do we know when we’ve found our true love?
Answer: I think we just know! If you’re really, truly in love with someone then I feel like there’s no way you can ever lose that feeling—that connection.
Love is supposed to be that super glue that keeps you and your significant other together and I think that nothing will ever come between true love.
It also doesn’t hurt if you find someone who loves you as much as you love them! But for me personally, I think love at first sight is real—but not for everyone. Although, maybe it was just an instant connection? Who knows?
I’m still young so I haven’t experienced enough relationships to know how it all works but hopefully one day my question will be answered haha!
Also read: 125 Questions that make no sense
19. What makes us human?
Answer: I think what makes us human is all of our emotions and desires. Even if we’re not currently experiencing a specific emotion, we still have it within us—we just don’t know how to trigger it most of the time.
We all make mistakes, we all fall in love, and we all want to achieve happiness. But I feel like each person’s life is different and has something unique about it!
So, maybe what makes us humans is our differences? Or maybe it’s just that small inner voice that tells you that you can do whatever you set your mind to.
I’m not sure but either way we’re probably never going to truly know unless an alien comes down and tells us haha!
20. Is It Worth living?
Answer: Just take a moment and reflect on what you’re doing with your life. Are you really happy with how things are going or do you feel like there is more out there for you? If so, then live up to your full potential!
Go after everything that makes you happy! But if not, I think it’s always better to go at it alone than stay with someone who doesn’t make you feel like your best self.
As long as you’re taking care of yourself—I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. And even if one day someone comes along and sweeps you off your feet, who knows if they’ll still be there tomorrow!
So again—live up to your full potential and go after all of your goals. Maybe it doesn’t make any sense to you now. But sure some day you will be glad for the life you have and all of those choices that made you into the person you are today!
It’s good to take some time out of our busy life and ask questions that make you question life. The more knowledge we gain from ourselves, others, and even from simple random facts—the better equipped we are for life.
So take a moment right now and stop whatever it is you’re doing to go think about one of these thought-provoking questions.
Then leave a comment below telling me which one your favorite is? I’d love to know what makes you wonder about life 🙂 And don’t forget—live up to your full potential because if not then who will? 🙂
Recommended reading list for you:
375 Thought provoking questions to ask
350+ Questions about love with answers.
150 Deep philosophical questions