Life is complicated, with lots of moving parts. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming, so much is happening. But if you simplify things, strip away all the minutia of everyday living, some events or actions or people mean more than everything else.
In other words: What is important?
Related questions: Why do we spend time on things that are not important? How do you define success? How do we choose our priorities? How important is the repetition in our lives?
Everyone is unique. Their DNA and their experiences make them unlike anyone else.
But, on the other hand, we all share things in common, simply by the nature of being human beings. What are those things we all share, despite the color of our skin, despite the political party we belong to, despite the language we speak, despite our economic class, and despite whatever god or gods we do or don’t believe in?
What do we have in common?
Related questions: Why do we care what people think of us? What makes a personal bond? What are the advantages and disadvantages to being the same? Why do we feel the need to belong?
The only thoughts I’ll ever truly know are my own. And yet, that doesn’t stop me from wanting to not be alone.
People spend their lives trying to belong: to a spouse, to a family, to a tribe, to a cause, to a country. Where does this need to be more than an individual come from?
Why do we feel the need to belong?
Related questions: Why do we care what strangers think of us? What does it mean to belong to a country? What are our responsibilities to others?
Most people, I think, would say they try to be happy. They want to construct their lives in such a way as to maximize happiness (however they might define ‘happiness’).
But in reality, unhappiness abounds. Unrest radiates from nearly every news broadcast. Stress levels deprive us of sleep, lead to overeating, and generally make us unhealthy.
Where does this discontinuity between desire (happiness) and reality (unhappiness) come from? If someone wants to be happy, why aren’t they? Why do we put up with unhappiness?
Related questions: Is happiness the most important purpose in life? What motivates us? Why don’t we know what makes us happy?
Even the most learned among us is ignorant. There is so much to know about our world that it is impossible to know it all. How, then, do we categorize what we don’t know? If we don’t know something, how do we realize that there is a gap in our knowledge? When we examine ourselves, how can we tell if there is a lack or some learning that needs to be done?
How do we know what we don’t know?
Related questions: How do we grow? What does it mean to learn? How do we organize knowledge?