The Big Questions = IFAQ


What is the criterion of a question being 'big'? It is either a basic question about human life or else a major question about objective reality that goes beyond purely scientific puzzles such as 'Was there a Big Bang?'.

Unless otherwise stated all articles are by Tad Boniecki. You are welcome to copy, print or quote from any of these essays, unless otherwise specified. If quoting please acknowledge the source. Since most are too long to read comfortably on the screen, printing them might be a good idea.

In 2007 I received one of the most interesting emails ever from someone who had chanced upon my website. This led to a long, lucid and, to my mind, fascinating correspondence about what is normally referred to as "enlightenment". My correspondent, Alan, claimed to be a regular guy who had reached this much sought-after goal. He wrote that I too could do so. I have condensed our correspondence and tried to make it into a coherent presentation (posted 12 February 2008). Here is another, perhaps similar experience. Then in August 2015, Jamie wrote to me about his experience of selflessness. I am convinced that these three people are completely honest and sincere, ie that they did experience what they claim.

I felt compelled to write about the experiences of Alan, David and Jamie because they address one of the basic questions, namely is there such a thing as an "I"? Some synonyms for the "I" are the self, the ego, the private domain of experience, the thinker, the experiencer, and the subject. Both the Eastern mystics and some eminent Western philosophers believe that the "I" is nothing but an illusion. There is even some brain research that supports the notion that the feeling of having an "I" can be lost. I don't have any firm opinion on enlightenment, except that I lack the motivation to pursue it.

What is Love? 11 pages, 8910 words. Written in 1992, posted on 4 June 2000, revised in April 2016. Cet article est disponible en version franšaise: L'Amour. It was posted on 30 Nov 2006 and last modified on 26 August 2015.

What makes life worth living? I have compiled a list of eleven heavenly delights. Posted in March 2015.

Who am I? Written between Jan 1991 and Dec 2001, posted on 7 Dec 2001.

What is Evil? 2 pages, 942 words. Written in June 2001, posted on 3 June 2001.

Pondering the nature of fractals I thought of an analogy between fractals, the self and the meaning of life, spawning this short piece. Posted in January 2015.

What is creativity? I don't know, and I don't think anyone else does either, but here is what I have found in my explorations. This piece aims to help people realise they are already creative and that they can become more so, also to demistify creativity by showing that it is an everyday thing. To view the slide show you need Flash v9 or later and javascript. To start it click on creativity slide-show then click on "Slideshow" near top right, hit pause (bottom left corner), hit full-screen (bottom right corner), left click inside the image, left click inside the image again. Then use cursor right to go to the next slide. You can go back to the previous slide using cursor left and hit escape to exit. Posted on 8 January 2011.

Consciousness This article is an exploration of the meaning and inter-relationship of consciousness and time. It also addresses the question of the nature of the self and its claim to existence. 10 pages, 9345 words. Written in September 1996, posted 4 June 2000, updated 20 September 2012.

Introspection Is enlightenment to be found by seeking the self or by dismissing it as an illusion? Is the internal world as real as the external one? 10 pages, 6633 words. Written in 1993, posted 4 June 2000.

Projection An investigation of the nature and prevalence of psychological projection, ie mistaking the noises of the mind for reality. 12 pages, 9269 words. Written in 1992, posted 4 June 2000.

Things An enquiry regarding the nature of separate existence. If a thing is a separate entity then is there such a thing as a thing? 10 pages, 6861 words. Written in 1994, posted 4 June 2000.

What is Wisdom? 8 pages, 4736 words. Written in 1991, posted 4 June 2000.

To judge or not? Judgement 12 pages, 6623 words. Written in 1992, posted 4 June 2000.

The Spirit of Our Times This essay was inspired by a piece written by Jozef Maria Bochenski. He tried to identify our zeitgeist, ie the spirit of our era, as distinct from the spirit of mediaeval or enlightenment times. I present his views then I give my dissenting opinions. 5 pages, 2533 words. Written in 1991, posted 4 June 2000.

Other big questions:

What is the purpose or meaning of human life?
Why is evil so powerful in the world? Why war?
What is the nature of the tragic flaw(s) in humankind?
Can we ever know truth (the territory) or are we condemned to an eternity of map-making?
What is spirituality?
What are the limitations of science?
What is fear?
What is the nature of human nature? Or is there no such thing?
What are the basic needs of human beings?
Will Western civilisation come to an end? Is it advancing or declining?
Will humankind destroy itself?
What is freedom?
Is there such a thing as the 'self'?
What is the nature of creativity?
What makes us happy?
What is enlightenment? Is it a realistic aim or an illusion?
Is reincarnation just a myth? If so, then how can we explain near death experiences?

      What are the basic questions?

And post-finally:

What do you think?

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