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Deep Conversation Starters

I believe that meaningful conversations help create meaningful lives. Sometimes it can be a fun lighthearted conversation that strengthens the bond between two friends and sometimes it’s a conversation that makes you question your preconceived notions and even reality itself. These questions are when you are looking for the second type of questions.

This page provides over 280 deep conversation starters that will stimulate meaningful dialogue and get conversations flowing. Whether between friends, partners, family, or new acquaintances, these thought-provoking questions dive past small talk into the nuances of life, relationships, purpose, morality, and the human condition. 

While there may not be definitive answers, the act of exploring deep ideas through open-minded discussion can lead to new perspectives, strengthened bonds, and unexpected epiphanies. Try to leave assumptions and biases behind, approach each question with fresh eyes, and unwind truth as a shared journey of discovery rather than debate. It’s time to deepen connections and gain understanding into yourself, others, and this wonderfully complex existence we all share.

Deep conversation starters closer to home

These questions are about things we deal with on a day to day basis, like our self image, friends, family, and relationships. But even though they are topics that are familiar, these are still deep conversation starters so they can get into some uncomfortable areas. Feel free to skip any questions you think will be too much to handle or upsetting.


  • What defines true friendship as opposed to acquaintanceship? How do friendships deepen?
  • How much give and take should exist in friendships? Should we expect reciprocity and equal effort?
  • How can friendships thrive despite diverging interests, values, and life paths over time?
  • How should conflicts and betrayals be navigated to restore friendship? Are some betrayals unforgivable?
  • What ethical obligations come with friendship? How far should we go to help a friend in need?
  • What’s one change you could make to be a better friend?
  • How often do you judge friends for flaws you see in yourself or criticize their life choices that you’re insecure about in your own life?
  • Do you have very different persona masks for different groups of friends? If those groups met, how consistent would you seem?
  • How much effort do you put into making new friends and nurturing those bonds versus relying on old friendships that persist from long familiarity?
  • Are there bad habits, addictions, or coping mechanisms of friends that you ignore, enable, or actively participate in? How could you support positive change?
  • How do you determine if you truly know someone? Are surface-level relationships ever enough?
  • Is it important for friends to have shared interests and values, or can opposites attract in fruitful friendships that broaden perspectives?
  • What is the difference between bonding through shared life experiences versus bonding through enjoying activities together? Which forms a deeper connection?
  • How much effort should you put towards befriending people very different than yourself? What benefits or difficulties come from diversity in friendship circles?
  • How often do you need to communicate and see friends in person to maintain a close friendship as life obligations compete for attention?
  • If a friend is engaging in self-destructive patterns, how forcefully should you intervene before respecting their autonomy?


  • What ethical obligations come from family bonds? How should families resolve conflict?
  • What constitutes a family? How should families handle members that are difficult to accept?
  • How should respect for elders be balanced with individual autonomy across generations?
  • How much contact and closeness should family members maintain as they start their own lives?
  • How should family resources and inheritance be ethically distributed? On what basis?
  • When is it ethical to cut ties with toxic family members? How should those decisions be made?
  • Thinking of your parents – if you could tell them one thing you appreciate and one thing you wish was different about your childhood, what would that be?
  • How much does your family shape your worldview, political opinions, role you play in social situations, choice of career, and general life path?
  • How often do you tolerate negativity, abuse, enabling, or other unhealthy relationship patterns just because “it’s family”?
  • Do you mask aspects of your thoughts, emotions, and struggles from your family? Why? How would that shift if you were fully open?
  • How does your role in the family emotional ecosystem perpetuate grudges, alliances, misunderstandings, or substance abuse issues across generations?
  • How much should parents encourage their children to conform to family traditions versus pursuing their own paths?
  • How do adult siblings balance family closeness with establishment of independence as they build their own lives?
  • How should family resources, like caregiving for elderly members, be divided equitably among adult siblings?
  • How important is discussing painful issues like abuse, addiction, and mental health openly versus judiciously avoiding tension?
  • How do adopted and stepfamily members successfully integrate into existing family structures and dynamics?

Romantic love

  • What distinguishes romantic love from deep friendship or infatuation? How do we recognize real love?
  • How important are shared values and compatibility versus passion and chemistry for lasting love?
  • How much work and compromise should be done to fix relationships before considering ending them?
  • Can romantic love last decades or does it inevitably fade?
  • What role does mystery play in sustaining love versus radical openness and honesty?
  • How do you personally distinguish romantic chemistry and passionate new love from committed companionate long-term love?
  • Would you rather be blissfully ignorant of a partner’s flaws that could undermine a relationship, or know the full truth even at the cost of disillusionment?
  • How often do you idealize potential partners and ignore red flags in the pursuit of an imagined “perfect soulmate”?
  • If you lost everything and had to start over, would your partner’s commitment and devotion keep your relationship intact? How do you know?
  • Do you carry unconscious expectations about relationships based on observing dysfunctional relationship models growing up?
  • What causes people to fall out of love? Can lost love be rekindled?
  • What constitutes a healthy argument between partners? How can both parties feel heard and understood?
  • How can partners stoke the flames of passion in a long-term relationship once the initial infatuation fades?
  • How important is physical attraction and sexual compatibility next to emotional intimacy and communication?
  • Are dramatic fights sometimes necessary to honestly express feelings or is it always better to calmly talk about disagreements?
  • How do different expectations around monogamy, commitment timeline, and future plans sink relationships?

We also have questions for couples if you are looking specifically for this topic.


  • Is lifelong marriage still a worthwhile institution or an outdated concept in modern society? What benefits can long-term commitment provide?
  • How much compromise between partners is ideal versus maintaining individual identities? Is total compromise enlightened or dysfunctional?
  • What should be the psychological, logistical, and ethical prerequisites for entering into the legal contract of marriage?
  • How much work and effort should be put into saving a struggling marriage? At what point is divorce justified or unavoidable?
  • What constitutes emotional intimacy in a lasting marriage and how central is it? Can marriage survive without it?
  • How do evolving societal gender norms over decades impact marital roles and relationship dynamics?
  • How do couples manage tensions between personal growth and consistency as individuals evolve over decades?
  • What are the ethical obligations and boundaries for cultivating honesty, privacy, and independence within marriage?
  • How does having children impact marital roles, stresses, intimacy, and individual purpose within the family ecosystem?
  • How can partners adapt to parenthood’s strains without growing apart as spouses in the process?
  • Is periodic boredom and frustration with marriage inevitable or preventable with continual work?
  • How do couples negotiate differences in desire for intimacy, social needs, and preferred activities?
  • How important are shared political views, religions, and philosophies of life when making a marriage last?
  • How can marriages recover after major breaches of trust like emotional or physical cheating?


  • What are the core responsibilities of parenthood? What makes someone a good parent?
  • What core values are most essential for parents to instill in children to become ethical, responsible adults?
  • How can parents model integrity, humility, and wisdom while still commanding authority and obedience from children?
  • What boundaries on freedom and rebellion should be set while children develop individuality and decision-making skills?
  • How do parents balance unconditional love and acceptance with discipline for misbehavior without causing guilt or resentment?
  • Should parents aim to be friends or mentors to children? How does the relationship dynamic shift as children become adults?
  • How do parents reconcile hopes and expectations for their children’s futures with acceptance if different paths are taken?
  • How much of parenting is universal versus contingent on cultural norms and family traditions?
  • How do parents expose children to the realities of life while preserving innocence, imagination, and joy?
  • Is authoritative, involved parenting always superior or can more hands-off parenting styles yield secure, ethical adults too?
  • How should caregivers of aging parents balance their parents’ dignity and independence with safety?


  • How much of your identity and value as a person should be tied to your career versus other life pursuits?
  • What responsibilities do businesses and employers have towards their workers beyond a paycheck?
  • How do people find meaning and purpose in their work when jobs require repetitive tasks or lack service to a cause?
  • How much time at work should be social versus focused solo productivity? What’s the ideal office environment?
  • How do people stay motivated when competitive drives don’t provide fulfillment but are needed to advance careers?
  • Should you stick with a secure but unfulfilling job to support family or chase risky dreams that could fail?
  • How much personal ethics should people sacrifice to succeed in cutthroat careers like business, law, or politics?
  • How can high-achieving workers avoid burnout and work-life imbalance? Is periodic exhaustion inevitable?
  • How can workers in creative fields balance originality with producing commercially viable products and ideas?
  • Is loyalty to a company a virtue or an outdated concept? When is it ethical to break loyalty and act as a free agent?


  • What constitutes human flourishing? Is well-being defined by pleasure, engagement, meaning, or transcending suffering?
  • What lifestyle and values lead to the deepest sense of well-being? How should we weigh material success against other factors?
  • Can people be mistaken about what will make them happy? How can we determine what contributes to lasting well-being?
  • Is virtuousness necessary for true well-being or can vicious people flourish?
  • What role do relationships and community play in providing a sense of well-being and life satisfaction?
  • Would you accept a shorter but happier life or a longer life that contained great achievement but more misery?
  • How often do you feel fully engaged in the present moment versus drifting through days on autopilot? How can mindfulness increase well-being?
  • How much does owning luxury items and outward displays of wealth improve people’s happiness?
  • If you could take a pill to be happy but never feel sadness, anger, grief, or loneliness again, would you?
  • Is overcoming adversity and experiencing all of life’s emotions necessary to appreciate the happy moments?
  • Is lasting happiness possible or an unrealistic goal? Why do you think so?
  • What is the difference between wisdom and intelligence? Which is more valuable?


  • What determines self-worth? Should we base our self-esteem on internal virtues or external validation and accomplishments?
  • Is self-esteem something to cultivate or does focusing on it only feed the ego? Should we aim to transcend self-judgment?
  • How central should self-esteem be to our motivation and goals? What are the downsides of linking behavior to self-worth?
  • How accurate are our self-assessments? Do cognitive biases distort our ability to evaluate ourselves objectively?
  • How crucial is self-acceptance to well-being? Can we live a fulfilling life despite low self-esteem?
  • How much time and effort do you spend thinking about how you are perceived and judged by others? Does it help or harm your self-esteem?
  • How can you learn to be at peace internally without validating yourself through relentless achievement, material gains, status, or the validation of others?
  • If you woke up in a reality where no one knew your reputation and you had to build a new identity, how might you change the way you present yourself?
  • How would you advise a close friend or child to develop healthy self-esteem resistant to criticism and failure?
  • If pursuing passions and expressing yourself freely leads to ridicule, is compromising your behavior and values warranted to build self-esteem? Why or why not?


  • How should people balance fitting into social norms versus expressing their uniqueness and individuality?
  • Is there a true self that should be expressed? Or do we construct our self-expression based on social context?
  • What responsibilities come with self-expression? How do we avoid harming others or spreading misinformation?
  • How central should self-expression be to living authentically? Can we express ourselves through means other than speech and behavior?
  • What limits, if any, should there be on radical self-expression that severely deviates from social conventions?
  • If you could share one deeply personal truth, value, or experience that you normally keep private, what would you share? Why do you conceal this?
  • How often do you suppress opinions or quirky fascinations because they don’t match your public image and persona?
  • Do you fear your self-expression could have negative social or professional consequences if you revealed too much? How does this impact your relationships?
  • How much do you adjust your self-expression depending on the people around you versus being 100% authentic?
  • Is unfiltered self-expression through art and creativity liberating for you or stressful? How does it compare to expressing yourself through words and actions?
  • Can we separate art from the flawed artist? Does great art lose value if its creator had vices?

Personal identity

  • What constitutes the self? How does the self persist and change over time?
  • What aspects of your personality and experiences are essential to who you are? If those things changed would you still be you?
  • Is continuity of consciousness necessary for personal identity? If your memories were erased, would you still be the same person?
  • How much of your identity is defined by your physical body versus your mind/soul? If your mind could be transferred, would you still be you?
  • How much of your identity is defined by your social connections and membership in various groups? If you were isolated from society, how would you change?
  • If you switched genders, would you remain fundamentally the same person inside? What aspects of identity are gender-dependent?
  • How much of your identity springs from your name and social identifiers versus your inner personality? Would you be the same “you” with a different name?
  • If an advanced brain-scanning machine could map the patterns of your thoughts, feelings, memories, and perceptions, how much of your essential identity could it capture?


  • What does it mean to be true to oneself? How can we distinguish social conditioning from our “real” identity?
  • What barriers prevent authentic living?
  • Is complete authenticity possible or do we all engage in some degree of self-deception? What triggers self-deception?
  • How much should we care about staying true to who we are versus adapting to different circumstances? Is adaptability inauthentic?
  • If acting authentically requires hurting others, is it still ethical? How do we balance authenticity and consideration for others?
  • If you acted completely authentically without considering social constraints, what parts of your personality and behavior would come to the surface?
  • Can people living in oppressive societies still achieve authenticity despite external restrictions? What enables it?
  • Does authenticity require self-knowledge? Can you be true to yourself without understanding yourself?


  • Is total self-knowledge possible or do aspects of ourselves always remain invisible to introspection?
  • How reliable are our own self-assessments versus others’ perceptions of us? Which gives a more accurate picture?
  • Do we have an innate true self or is our self-concept fluid, co-constructed, and context-dependent? What implications does this have for self-knowledge?
  • Can self-knowledge lead to dissatisfaction if we uncover unflattering truths about ourselves? Is some ignorance or illusion beneficial?
  • What methods of self-examination are most effective – meditation, journaling, discussion with friends, therapy, frequent casual introspection?
  • Do your closest friends and family know you better than you know yourself in some ways? What do they perceive that you miss?
  • How often do you question your own motives and analyze your character? Are you afraid of what you might discover?
  • To what extent is pure unfiltered self-knowledge possible? Do biases and blind spots inevitably remain?


  • Why do people sometimes cling to beliefs that deep down they know are false? What purpose does self-deception serve?
  • Is a moderate amount of self-deception necessary to maintain a healthy self-image and confidence? Or is all self-deception detrimental?
  • How can we detect our own self-deceptions? Are there perspectives we systematically ignore to maintain certain beliefs?
  • Does willful ignorance or avoidance of truth always lead to greater harm long-term? Or can it occasionally lead to better outcomes than facing hard truths?
  • Is failure to know oneself fully a form of self-deception? Do our blind spots about ourselves distort our self-concept?
  • Everyone engages in some self-deception, but are some more prone to it than others? What traits correlate with self-deception?
  • Is avoiding information that could contradict your self-image a form of intentional self-deception or an unconscious defense mechanism?
  • How can you determine if your self-concept is grounded in reality versus shaped by flattering delusions?


  • How much effort towards self-improvement is too much? At what point does it reflect vanity or neglected other duties?
  • Is the self improved bit by bit or through moments of sudden insight and transformation? How can we cultivate such pivotal moments or do more bit by bit improvement?
  • When the drive to improve oneself leads to frustration because standards are set too high, how can expectations be managed?
  • What role do struggles and suffering play in self-improvement? Can we only improve ourselves through overcoming challenges?
  • If you could only improve yourself in one way this year, what would have the biggest positive impact?
  • How can you motivate yourself to keep growing without being overly self-critical about current imperfections?
  • Does true self-improvement require going on difficult journeys and having painful revelations? Can it ever be comfortable?
  • How much do external validation and recognition motivate your self-improvement compared to internal drive for excellence?
  • Does comparing yourself to others help provide motivation and context or just breed resentment and envy?

Deep conversation starters about more abstract ideas

These deep conversation starters are more about abstract and esoteric ideas, more philosophical in nature. They are great for changing how you view the world and challenging some of your preconceived notions. They make you think about things maybe you haven’t given much thought to. Again these being deep conversation starters, they get quite deep and can be uncomfortable especially when they challenge long held beliefs. So if you or someone else isn’t comfortable with a question pick a different one.


  • Is beauty purely subjective or are there objective standards? How much is beauty culturally constructed?
  • Does art require some sense of beauty to have merit? Can disturbing or morally questionable art still be great?
  • Should art aim to uplift and inspire or can it delve into darker aspects of human nature? What are its ethical obligations?
  • How much should works of art be judged by the moral character of the artist? Can abhorrent people create uplifting works?
  • Should standards in art criticism evolve with cultural tastes or uphold classical notions of excellence? Is pop art as worthy as fine art?
  • Should art provoke challenging emotions or provide uplifting escapism? Can great art do both?
  • How much should works of art reflect lived realities versus imagining better worlds? What is art’s purpose?
  • Does subjective experience define aesthetic value or are objective standards discernible? Why is beauty so difficult to quantify?
  • Can morally repugnant works still have artistic genius? Should we judge art separately from ethics?
  • Should artistic skills serve some practical purpose or are creativity and imagination ends in themselves?


  • If nothing exists beyond the physical world, how did the universe arise from nothingness? Or has something always existed?
  • Is there a difference between the world as it appears to us and the fundamental nature of reality? If so, can we access the deeper reality?
  • Do abstract concepts like numbers, ethics, and logic exist in any real sense beyond how our minds conceive them?
  • What fundamental pieces make up reality? Is reality fundamentally physical or mental? Or both?
  • Does reality behave differently when unobserved? Does objective reality even exist absent a conscious observer?
  • Does language structure and limit our understanding of time, space, causality, and other metaphysical foundations or does that structure expand our understanding?
  • How could we empirically test if alternate dimensions exist beyond observable reality?
  • If we are living in a simulation, what implications and limitations might that impose on interpreting reality’s true structure?
  • Can subjective experience itself ever be an objectively real property of the universe? Why does consciousness seem so different than physical phenomena?
  • What in life is truly objective and not subjective?


  • How much does language shape our perception of reality rather than just reflect it?
  • Can language represent truth and facts objectively or is it fundamentally subjective?
  • Are there thoughts we cannot conceptualize without language? Could a languageless but intelligent mind exist?
  • How does the structure of a language influence the modes of thought and expression of its speakers?
  • Is language a human invention or the result of innate cognitive structures evolved to meet communication needs?
  • Can language represent and convey fundamental truths or is it fundamentally an approximate and imperfect representation?
  • Does language shape perceptions of time as linear and causal? Could non-linguistic minds experience time radically differently?
  • How would using another form of language such as smells, music, or touch affect our perception of reality?

The Mind

  • If the mind is just the brain, how does unconscious matter give rise to consciousness? Could we ever solve this mystery?
  • Could a non-biological entity like an advanced AI be conscious? How could we test for artificial consciousness?
  • Do non-human animals have minds and consciousness or are humans unique in this respect? What evidence could resolve this?
  • Can the mind exist to some degree apart from the body as some near-death experiences suggest? Could any aspect of mind survive bodily death?
  • If a perfect prosthetic brain could mimic organic brain functioning, would it produce real consciousness like an organic brain?
  • How can we make progress in understanding consciousness when first-person subjective experience seems fundamentally unquantifiable from the outside?
  • If non-biological machines can someday think, feel, and experience selfhood, should they be granted legal personhood and human rights?
  • Is self-awareness a binary property or a continuum across species? Can we meaningfully rank levels of consciousness?
  • What function does consciousness provide biologically? Would non-conscious human equivalents behave differently?
  • What happens to identity, memory, and personhood as the brain ages and degenerates?


  • Is certain knowledge possible or is everything ultimately unknowable to a degree? How much uncertainty is unavoidable?
  • How reliable are sensory perceptions given how prone to illusion the senses can be? Can we ever directly experience objective reality?
  • How much of human knowledge is culturally constructed rather than reflecting universal facts about the world?
  • What methods of gaining knowledge lead closest to truth – science, reason, intuition, divine revelation, something else?
  • Are some realms of knowledge intrinsically unknowable or just practically inaccessible given humans’ cognitive limitations?
  • What reasons could explain existence itself rather than universal nonexistence? Does existence require explanation?
  • How can imperfect minds shaped by limited perspectives achieve objective truths about fundamental realities?
  • If we are living in a simulation, does that undermine notions of truth, knowledge, and scientific realism?
  • Can knowledge be intrinsically ethical or unethical? What responsibilities come with knowledge acquisition?
  • How reliable are our own self-assessments versus others’ perceptions of us? Which gives a more accurate picture?


  • Are there limits to what science and reason can explain about the universe and human nature?
  • Is science gradually approaching perfect knowledge of reality or will there always be mystery?
  • How much of the direction of science is determined by cultural values versus objective truth-seeking?
  • Will the scientific method eventually allow us to solve consciousness, free will, human nature, and ethics scientifically? Or are these beyond science’s scope?
  • Have the most impactful scientific discoveries been driven by empirical data or creative leaps of insight and imagination?
  • How can science differentiate useful but speculative explanatory models (like multiverses) from pseudoscientific nonsense?
  • Are theoretical elegance and beauty a guide to scientific truth or misleading biases?
  • How should historical scientific falsehoods that were once widely accepted inform our faith in current theories?
  • Does science investigate reality itself or create conceptual models?
  • How do innovations in technology alter the human experience for better or worse?
  • How can humanity’s compassion and ethics evolve quickly enough to match its technological power? What social structures would foster this evolution?


  • What is the optimal balance between individual liberty and state authority? How can abuses of power be prevented?
  • How obligated are citizens to engage in the political process versus pursuing private goals and pleasures?
  • Should democratic participation be maximized by having citizens directly vote on legislation or are representative democracies preferable?
  • How can the benefits of markets and capitalism be reaped while minimizing externalities and excessive inequality?
  • Is a world government inevitable eventually? If it brought stability at the cost of diversity and liberty, would it be a net positive?
  • How can democratic societies balance majority rule with protecting minority voices and individual liberties?
  • How much social/economic inequality is inevitable vs addressable by systems changes? What causes it?
  • What rights and protections should all responsibly governed societies provide their citizens?
  • Is true ideological neutrality possible in lawmaking, or do policies inevitably impose moral values on populations?
  • Should any speech or ideas be illegal even if nonviolent? Who should decide?
  • How inevitable is the corruption of power? Can systems be designed to limit abuses?
  • What does an ideal society look like? How could such a vision be reasonably attained?
  • What obligation, if any, do citizens have to improve their country and society?
  • What does an ideal education consist of? How should priorities change as society evolves?


  • How can laws be made to conform with what is ethical rather than just codifying existing power structures?
  • Should the letter of the law always be applied strictly, or should context and intentions sometimes overrule legal technicalities?
  • Is punishment ever ethically justified beyond preventing future harm and rehabilitating offenders?
  • How can legal systems balance public safety with individual rights such as privacy and free speech? What dangers exist in going too far either way?
  • Are some crimes so abhorrent that no mitigating circumstances can temper justice and capital punishment? Or is context always morally relevant?
  • How can legal codes embody universal ethics while accommodating cultural differences between societies?
  • Should the law aim to shape moral behavior or just prevent harm? Should private immorality be illegal?
  • How can legal systems gain citizens’ moral legitimacy yet still evolve with changing social norms over time?
  • How can laws be made simple and comprehensible to the public while addressing complex modern challenges?
  • Should the law penalize motives and intentions equally as actions and consequences?


  • Are mystical and spiritual experiences glimpses of a greater reality beyond material existence? Or are they neural misfiring without objective meaning?
  • Is religion necessary for moral behavior or can secular reason provide an ethical foundation for society?
  • What purpose does religion serve in human affairs – comfort, social control, transcendence? Is it more often a beneficial or harmful force historically?
  • Are religious experiences and intuitions reliable evidence for supernatural claims or prone to cognitive biases?
  • Is religion inherently dogmatic and authoritarian or can it be compatible with pluralism and doubt?
  • Can religious teachings evolve over centuries while claiming access to immutable divine truth?
  • Are mystical experiences glimpses of nonphysical realities or delusions and misfiring of the brain?
  • Is religion inherently divisive and tribal or can shared moral values unite people across creeds?
  • If God is all-loving and all-powerful, how can evil exist in the world? Does evil disprove the existence of God?
  • Is faith without evidence morally irresponsible? Or does faith occupy a realm beyond reason’s scope?

The Environment

  • Do humans have ethical obligations to animals and the natural world beyond their instrumental value to humans? On what basis?
  • Is protecting the environment primarily an individual duty or the responsibility of institutions and governments?
  • How should scarce environmental resources be ethically allocated across current and future generations?
  • Does wilderness have intrinsic value beyond its potential economic value via mining, logging etc.?
  • Are humans part of the natural world or separate from it? What relationship should exist between humanity and nature?
  • What evidence could verify if an ecosystem or natural feature possesses a subjective experience of the world?
  • Does conservation aim to protect stability, complexity, biodiversity, wilderness, or human resource sustainability?
  • Will technology and human ingenuity overcome environmental challenges or compound existing harmful trajectory?


  • How does the inevitability of death inform the way we live our lives? Should it change our values and priorities?
  • Is existence absurd and meaningless or can subjective meaning be created? What constitutes meaning for an individual?
  • Do our choices matter if determinism is true, and the future is fixed? How much freedom and agency do we really have?
  • Are we fundamentally alone in the universe? How should we cope with feelings of existential isolation?
  • Is the acceptance of death’s inevitability depressing or liberating? How should we think about mortality?
  • Does life require inherent meaning to be worth living or can subjective meaning suffice?
  • Would you accept a simulated afterlife allowing you to experience anything imaginable after death?
  • Is struggle and suffering integral to value and meaning or avoidable hardships that should be minimized?
  • How important are legacy, remembrance, and intergenerational impacts for finding purpose in finite lives?
  • How much control do we truly have over the course of our lives? What factors constrain our agency?
  • How replaceable is any individual person? Does uniqueness matter on a cosmic scale?


  • Does history follow general laws and patterns or is it an unfathomable sequence of unique events?
  • How much does studying the past help us understand the present and plan for the future? Are there limits to its predictive power?
  • Do individuals shape the broad flow of history or are their lives and actions dictated by historical forces outside their control?
  • Can an objective account of history exist or is some degree of narrative-shaping bias inevitable?
  • Has humanity overall progressed morally and intellectually through history? Or merely changed superficially while repeating the same patterns?
  • Will studying history only provide context about our present moment or reveal timeless truths about humanity?
  • Do individual leaders fundamentally shape broad historical currents or do contextual forces determine events?
  • How can examining history help avoid recapitulating the same social mistakes? Are any dynamics inevitable despite awareness?
  • If we could run a simulation of historical events with complete accuracy, would they unfold the same or would contingencies create divergent histories?
  • Can historians achieve objectivity by their methods or are subjective biases inherent in the field?
  • What role should tradition play as societies change over time? Which traditions are worth preserving at all costs?
  • Is there a universal code of ethics that should be followed by all humanity? If not, on what basis can we criticize other cultures?
  • How much does the culture and era we are born into shape our identities and beliefs?
  • How do we balance tradition and progress? Should all traditions adapt or are some worth preserving?