To be human is to ask questions, often about processes that we can only partly understand.
The following are our Top Ten set of "Big Questions" that modern people commonly ask ourselves when we consider our environment and our personal and collective long-term future. One measure of human progress is to get us all to a place where we can ask and debate scientific and philosophical questions like these. With the exception of Question 10, these are questions whose answers we do not depend upon for survival, but instead for thriving, for greater personal and collective insight, success and happiness.
Our world views are perhaps the greatest influence on our answers to these questions. We sometimes answer them more philosophically, with beliefs, logic, arguments, and intuitions, and sometimes more scientifically, with evidence, theory, hypotheses, and experiments. While all our answers are provisional, they help us to discover and reduce important uncertainties.
Knowing your own and others current answers to these questions can help you improve your big picture foresight, and your ability to work with others who have different answers than your own. Our current answers to these questions determines whether we have a net positive, net negative, or uncertain vision of the future. Lack of answers means we have no vision. Positive, Negative, Uncertain, and Absent are the four main normative (values-based) vision states. One goal of this wiki is to use evo-devo thinking to help more people get to practical, actionable positive visions, from the personal to the universal.
Which of these questions or our provisional answers were new to you? Which were most helpful? With which do you disagree? How might we resolve our disagreements over these big questions in the future, to arrive at better shared answers?
Big questions pages include Question, Diverse Answers, and Foresight and Action Implications sections.
- What is Reality? (What Existed Before the Big Bang? Autopoetic Dominance Hypothesis)
- What Kind of Universe Do We Appear to Live In? (Accidental? God-Created? Evo-Devo? Other Teleological? Unknown/Agnostic?)
- What are Our Best Models for Accelerating Change? (Cosmic Calendar. "Organized Complexity", Adaptiveness. Densification & Dematerialization. Something Protecting it Hormetic Networks. Developmental process. Positive feedback. Replication.
- What is Life? (Evo-Devo) Both Unique and Common on Each Planet. Universal Evolution and Development.
- What is Mind? (Evo-Devo) Partially Stochastic, Partially Deterministic. Free Will and Computational Incompleteness.
- What are Human Beings? (Head, Hand, Heart. Where do we come from? Universal Development.)
- Where are We Going? Hierarchical substrates. Progress. (Increased Network Adaptiveness)
- What is our Purpose? Create and Discover. Steer toward Preferable. Avoid the Preventable. Build and Critique a Positive Life Vision (Three Vision Options: Positive, Negative, Absent).
- What are Our Great Opportunities? Promoting Network Adaptiveness. Bottom Up Empowerment. Personal AIs. Changing the Informational Destructiveness of Death...
- What are Our Current Challenges? (aka Will We Destroy Our Planet?) Poverty, War, Crime, Human Rights, Climate Change, Plutocracy, Consumption Capitalism, Nuclear Proliferation...