30 impossible questions that will make you doubt
Doubt is the source of wisdom. This phrase, written by René Descartes, indicates a fundamental fact. We need to doubt things in order to investigate, to seek knowledge. Human beings have asked themselves and many others numerous questions throughout their history, some of them transcendental and others much more prosaic and everyday.
But many of these questions do not find or have found solutions, or even if they have, they require a lot of research and reflection. That is why in this article I have collected a series of impossible questions and/or difficult to answer for most of them .
30 impossible questions
Below is a brief list of impossible questions that will make you doubt, or for which there is no clear answer.
1. Do we have a choice?
Freedom is one of the most valued concepts, and a great majority of people feel free and capable of making their own decisions. But is this really the case? **are we really free? **
Our behavior is mediated and modulated by different aspects, such as our expectations, social desirability, norms and laws… or even something as simple as our biology can make us unable to do exactly what we want how and when we want. Furthermore, we should ask ourselves what freedom really is, and distinguish this concept from doing whatever we want to do just like that.
2. Does the world really exist?
Although it may seem a strange question and to some even a stupid one, the truth is that there is no proper way to answer it. Our senses tell us there is, but how can we know that everything we see, feel, learn and live, all the people we meet and the way the world seems to work are not just an elaboration of our mind ?
3. Can we be objective?
This is a complicated question. We can try to abstract ourselves and set aside our beliefs and prejudices, but is total objectivity really possible? After all, our own conception of the world is governed by the assessments we make of it, and our beliefs, values and expectations alter not only what we think of a particular phenomenon but even how we perceive it, at a level outside of consciousness.
4. Is a psychopath born or made?
The term psychopath could be replaced with any other term. Although we know that in everything we are there is a combination of biological and environmental factors , the question is whether the nucleus of what the subject is is genetically predetermined or is elaborated with experience. For example, in the case of the psychopath it is considered that a large part of his or her way of being is explained by biological elements (the sociopath being the one who acts in a similar way due to life experiences).
5. How was life formed?
We know we’re made of matter, just like everything else. But what makes us alive is a mystery. We can assume the conditions in which life was formed on our planet (and even reproduce those conditions to generate some living cells), but not what exactly made it emerge and organize itself in a certain way. And this knowledge is limited to how it came about here, with no clear explanation for the existence of molecules and amino acids in elements like comets and asteroids.
6. Is there good and evil?
Often acts and situations are identified as good or bad, these words being constructed by the human being to value what happens and how it affects oneself or others. However, morality is something subjective: although almost all people have in some way this type of concepts or ideas , different people will see the same event or action differently, and what is bad for one can be good for another.
7. How can we be happy?
Almost everyone wants to be happy. However, when we ask ourselves how we can be happy we probably won’t be able to give a valid answer, or at least that it is as valid for us as it is for the rest of the world. Well-being and happiness can depend on a variety of variables , and these variables will change greatly for each person.
8. How did the Universe come into being?
The origin of the Universe is still unknown today, and there are numerous theories and attempts to explain it. Although today the theory of the Big Bang is one of the most accepted at a scientific level , the truth is that it is still a theory that cannot be totally demonstrated. In fact, some scientists argue that this theory is true, that it existed in the previous moments if it was or how it happened.
9. What is death?
A question that many would answer with a “loss of life”, or from a religious perspective as “the step towards another life/reality/regeneration”. But this does not really define what it is or what it entails.
10. Is there life beyond death?
Directly derived from the previous one, whether or not something beyond death exists is something we can only assume or theorize about until we experience it for ourselves.
11. Why do we dream?
The ability to dream is something unique, which appears in both humans and other animal species. But why do we do it? Do our dreams make any sense? These are questions that have generated multiple theories (psychoanalytical, cognitive, etc.) but for which no definitive experience has been found
12. What and who am I?
Deep question that has no easy answer. Most people answer by indicating their characteristics and their way of being. But that doesn’t quite answer the question. What am I? What does it mean to be me? What makes me different, if I am, from what surrounds me?
13. Can a person’s IQ level be increased?
Traditionally, intellectual capacity has been considered to be a capacity that was determined by biology and development. The level of knowledge can be increased and different skills can be trained, but the basic skill, known as fluid intelligence, cannot be improved. However, some models propose that intelligence can be increased through training.
14. Are there limits?
Most people consider that there are things they are capable of doing, things that with training they would be able to do and things that are not possible . But do limits really exist or have we just not found a way to break them yet? In the past it was not believed that man could fly, travel into space or cure certain diseases, and yet it has been achieved.
15. Is intelligence a unique ability or is it the union of several independent skills?
Intelligence is an abstract construct whose definition is, even today, complex and highly disputed. There are various models that propose a unique intelligence, others that there is a general ability and then specific abilities more or less hierarchical.
16. Is the world fair?
The idea of the existence of a cosmic justice , that in the end everybody has what they deserve, is something frequent in a great number of people. There are also those who think just the opposite, or even that justice is just a concept that does not exist in nature.
17. Can there be other forms of life based on non-carbon elements?
The scientific community has no answer to this question. It is possible to speculate, but all life known so far is based on carbon.
18. Is there intelligent life on other planets?
Another of those impossible questions based on the threshold of the unknown . It is difficult for us to be alone in the universe, but no evidence has been found.
19. Is mathematics totally objective?
We have often heard it said that mathematics is the only totally objective science. However, demonstrations of the objectivity of something are often based on mathematics, which makes it impossible to demonstrate the objectivity of the element we use to observe objectivity. Moreover, they are based on logic, a logic that has been conceptualized by human beings and as such is subject to subjectivity.
20. What are antimatter and dark energy?
These concepts refer to elements that are deduced from the behaviour of matter and energy, but it is still not known what exactly they are and they continue without having been able to be observed directly .
Does the universe have a beginning? And an end?
We know that the universe has existed long before the first human beings came into the world. However, we do not know how it originated (although the Big Bang theory is the most popular), if it had an origin, or if it will eventually end (although there is speculation that it will eventually end up expanding and then start contracting due to the attraction of black holes.
22. What’s behind a black hole?
A great mystery to which no one can give an answer, since not even the light is able to escape from within it.
23. What is time?
Apart from defining it as a physical dimension, establishing what exactly time is is not as simple as it seems.
24. To what extent does the environment modify gene expression?
We know that the genes we possess have the basic information of different characteristics, which may or may not be expressed depending on the environment and the vital circumstances surrounding each subject. Genes predispose, but do not have to be activated. To what extent are they influenced by the environment?
- Related article: “Differences between DNA and RNA”
25. Can we know exactly how long we will live?
As of today, we cannot give an answer to this question. We can give an approximate prognosis based on the average life expectancy. But we don’t know if we will get sick or have any kind of accident at any time.
26. Is there such a thing as chance?
Chance and probability are strange concepts, which basically propose that things can happen without a reason in a casual and unpredictable way . But does it really exist or are we facing something that we simply don’t know how to predict yet?
27. Can the sum of infinite numbers give a concrete result?
This question does have an answer, and while it may be surprising to most people, it is yes. It is the e number or Euler number.
28. Where is the conscience?
Although we know that it is found in the brain and it is suspected to be linked to the frontal lobe, it is not yet known where it is located or if it is a property that arises from the global activity of the brain .
- Related article: “The 6 Levels of Unconsciousness and Associated Disorders”
29. Can we get to live on other planets?
Our planet is huge and a beautiful place to live, but it is not infinite. It has limited resources and space. Perhaps at some point humans must leave for other planets and colonise them. Is this possible? Could we survive? Astronauts who spend a lot of time in space lose muscle and bone mass. What would happen to someone who would consider living not just for a while but for a whole lifetime in space? Could we terraform an entire planet, or a particular area?
30. Is it possible to transfer our consciousness to an artificial body?
Recently the first interventions aimed at making a head transplant in human beings have been performed (although so far it has only been tested on cadavers). There are projects that propose going further: transplanting a brain into an artificial body, and in the future even transferring our consciousness to an artificial unit (without a brain itself). But is the latter possible? And if it were carried out, would we be facing a transfer of consciousness or would a new one really be created and the old and original one (that of the real person) would die?