Question about the Questions that we all ask ourselves.
April 28, 2010 5:29 PM   Subscribe

There seem to be some questions that most people think about; things like, "What should I be doing with my life," "If I ran the world what would I do," and "What have I done that I'm most proud of." My question is, do these type of questions have a name? A sociological / psychological / philosophical category? Are there lists of them?

I've seen a few books on Amazon like "The Complete Book of Questions," which are nifty, but I wanted to see if there was maybe a more scholarly collection or definition.
posted by MrPants5000 to Education (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think that these questions all fit into the same category, but some words that come to mind are:
late-night college-sophomore bull session
posted by adamrice at 5:33 PM on April 28, 2010

Existential ruminations is what I've always called them.
posted by jessamyn at 5:40 PM on April 28, 2010

"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates.
posted by alms at 5:40 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

"If I ran the world what would I do,"
Megalomania is symptom of depression.

These questions are all questions we ask ourselves. If these questions had a name, I could venture an incomplete answer as: 'Existential Questions'.

There is no perfect solution, but having coherent long-term goals that you can work towards helps a lot in terms of personal happiness.
posted by ovvl at 5:42 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

At least some of what you're referring to is called counterfactual thinking in psychology.
posted by logicpunk at 6:19 PM on April 28, 2010

Metaphysics is the "branch of philosophy that treats of first principles, includes ontology and cosmology, and is intimately connected with epistemology," according to the dictionary. I'd look up those other words if this is the kind of answer you were looking for.
posted by ReWayne at 6:50 PM on April 28, 2010

I have a mental "midlife crisis" tag which I automatically apply (perhaps unfairly) to the bulk of those sorts of questions.
posted by ErikaB at 9:05 PM on April 28, 2010

Ditto "quarterlife crisis."
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:24 PM on April 28, 2010

Queries surrounding death, freedom, meaning and our connections to other people are often referred to as Existential questions.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:27 PM on April 28, 2010

Megalomania is symptom of depression.
Ha, seeing as I'm a comedian, depression I can do, but Megalomania not really (someday, crosses fingers).

The core of the question comes from something I noticed when I wrote a good bit, which is there is almost always a central question at the heart of the joke. And better jokes worked when the question was something universal. Something that people had asked themselves, often their entire adult life.
posted by MrPants5000 at 3:25 AM on April 29, 2010

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