Questions are great because they get us thinking. Questions encourage thinking, rules encourage compliance. In this Episode of “Living outside the Matrix” I present you with 12 fundamental questions for life, questions to ask yourself. Your answers will provide insight into some of your most fundamental assumptions and a key to understanding your motivations.
Some of the questions have a right answer, some do not. Most of them seek an either/or answer, but not all. What you will notice is that there is often an answer that you will be able to pluck out of your surrounding mainstream culture. The answer that everyone knows, the one that most people subscribe to because they hear everyone else say it. But the question remains, what is your answer? What is your position on these fundamental and hugely significant questions?
Ask yourself this…
1. Am I a sovereign consciousness.
Am I a separate entity in the drivers seat of my life? Can I (potentially) exert at least some control over my experience, or must I obey some external authority? Am I the author of my life, or is something or someone else?
Am I the author of my life, or must I conform to the script dictated by another or the group, or a supreme being?
Examine this question in relation to its opposite. Are you part of a collective or group? Do you consider yourself a cog in the machine, or a part of something bigger than you? Are you a worker bee? Or are you a sovereign being?
Where does the buck stop? Does it stop with you, or do you pass it on to something or someone else?
2. Do I have the right to live for my own sake?
This is a question that asks if you are free to live as you choose independent of the needs or requirements of others. It asks do I really own my own life? Do I own my body and my productive effort, or am I bound by duty to provide for the needs of others. Can I leave the group and do my own thing? Or am I under some kind of obligation to the tribe/society/the collective?
This question is at the root of all politics, yet never gets asked. It essentially asks can I opt out and not be coerced into your group? Can I be left alone? Can I avoid being governed? Can I be free?
Our current culture does not grant us this right, but it should. In Episode 64 I covered this idea in detail.
3. Am I a being of volitional consciousness?
This means do I have free will? Do I possess the power to choose? Am I able to take own path in preference to another? Am I an independent entity with the capability of taking responsibility or am I not?
Is my life experience somehow predetermined for me? Is it mapped out? Are all my apparent choices simply the result of all the prior causal factors in my upbringing, or genetic inheritance, or in my social conditioning? Am I a product of multiple causal factors outside my control, or I am free to choose?
4. Is reality an objective absolute?
This means does the external world exist independent of me and my conscious, and of any other consciousness, human or divine? Is reality what it is, or is it somehow shaped by consciousness? Was it here before I got here, or am I creating it? Is it fixed, stable and consistent, or is it subject to consciousness? Is it an unchangeable given, or a malleable field of pure potential?
You can examine this question more in Episode 151.
5. Can I know reality?
Is reality knowable to my mind, or, by its nature and by the nature of my mind, is it impossible to really know anything? Am I at the mercy of unknowable spirits and demons, or am I competent to understand and take appropriate action? Am I a potentially powerful creative force that can exercise my ability to rearrange matter to suit my purposes, or am I condemned to uncertainty and doubt, and therefore impotence?
6. What is my means to knowledge?
If I can know reality, what is the means? How do I know? How can I tell what is real or not? Should I use my intuition, or my instincts? Should I follow my head or my heart? Can I rely on a gut feeling, or should I look for evidence? Should I seek reasons for things and follow a rational argument establishing proof, or can I go with what I feel to be true?
This subject is covered in more detail in Episode 152.
7. What is my standard of truth?
What is the thing you measure against when you are trying to determine the truth of some claim or assertion? Where do you look to discern what is true? Do you appeal to a higher power, or consult your feelings, or do you look to reality?
How do you determine if a proposition is true or false?
8. What is my standard of the good?
How do I know what is good and what is evil? How can I tell the difference? What means of measurement can I use to determine what is good from what is bad/evil? What is it about the good that makes it good? And what is it about the evil that makes it evil?
Without such a standard how can you know what to do? How can you evaluate anything or any action?
The standard I use is life – the ultimate value. Because life is the ultimate value, because our continued existence is THE most important thing to us, it sets the standard for the good. All that supports this value is the good, all that negates or destroys or compromises it is the evil.
9. Do I seek knowledge?
Do I want to know? Am I on a mission to expand my knowledge, or am I content to sit back and follow others? Do I always seek to understand, or am I content to imitate those who appear to know? Do I wish to decide for myself or am I happy to go along with the group?
10. Do I know what must be accepted as the given versus what can/must be challenged?
Do I know the difference between the metaphysically given and the man made? Do I grasp that the metaphysically given is what is, and cannot be changed? And do I get that the decisions of men are subject to errors of judgment and integrity and should regularly be questioned and sometimes challenged?
Have I understood that it is futile to spend my life trying to change what cannot be changed, and that it is equally tragic to spend a life in quiet acceptance of things that can be changed?
I don’t accept the existence of a supreme being but the mystic Rienhold Neibuhr said it best with “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
11. What is my purpose?
Yes, people have spent lifetimes contemplating this question, but that is no reason to be put off! Think about it. What is your purpose? What should be your priority? What should rightly be your life’s work?
My purpose is my own happiness, my own enjoyment of life. This must be my purpose. If I want a great life I have to make sure I live one! If I am to live a successful life according to my terms, I am the one that must make it happen. Who else could? Nobody else is better placed than me to attend to this purpose. However this view is considered selfish (evil) by mainstream western culture.
Many people see their purpose as assigned to them by a higher power or a deity. Or they see it as altruistically helping others, following the example of Mother Teresa. This is the conventional view, but does it make sense? Only if you have been persuaded that you will have another existence somewhere else after this one. I don’t buy that myself. But you decide for you.
12. What is my self?
This is another question that philosophers and thinkers have allegedly spent millennia mulling over. What is the self? But rather than be stopped in our tracks, lets contemplate it. What could the self be? Conventional thinking holds the self to be some spiritual component – hence the trilogy of mind, body and spirit. But does this make sense? There is no evidence for any other component of a human being other than the consciousness we call mind and the physical body.
Is your self, your body? Is it your mind? Is it your intentions or your emotions? Is it the sum of your character and all the decisions you have ever made?
Whatever your answer, have an answer. Have some idea of what your self is. This can always remain open to revision.
The answers to these questions steer civilisations over centuries. Ideas are a big deal! What people can be made to believe affects their thinking and their subsequent actions.
Answers to these questions have been written into our culture for you to absorb unquestioningly by some kind of mental osmosis. Our civilisation needs thinkers to reclaim the field of ideas. Be a thinker, be a new intellectual. The pitch is wide open for rational thinkers.
Ask yourself questions often and as a matter of habit. It is the essence of thinking. Even if you are not satisfied with your own answers, at least you are on the path.