***The question of existence: why does the universe exist? We can be sure that something exists simply based on empirical observation. Our perceived universe could be an illusion, a projection, and the projector could be yet another layer of illusion in a cosmic onion that is the heart of the concept of reality. But I believe it can be deduced that, because we have the sensation of experience, and because all definitions of real must be based upon the undeniable existence of our sensation of experience, there absolutely must be something that is real. A source. A genitor of the cosmos and our experience. Some call this God. Others could say that there are no layers at all, but instead what you see is what you get. What we see with our own eyes is indeed the extent of the “real.” But all of this does not answer the fundamental question of why “reality” exists in the first place.
Existence, as we can define it, is based on our conscious perception. Thus, one can argue accurately, existence has no meaning whatsoever without life. To give the concept of existence meaning, we must contrast it with nonexistence. Nothingness. This can be likened to what some atheists believe death to be. The complete absence of any perception of existence, which is thusly nonexistence. So existence and nonexistence can really be called more accurately life and death (“death” obviously referring here to complete loss of consciousness).
Some may erroneously attempt to imagine a universe without life, and thus try to claim that the concept of existence is independent of life and consciousness. However, this is in error because it breaks the rules of the argument. In other words, existence can only have definition in the presence of life. We cannot define “existence” in a universe without life because the questions of “there?” or “not there?” can have no meaning. There is no way to distinguish “existing” and “not existing” without observation, and observation requires life. The mere fact that you can say that hypothetically a universe “exists” necessitates that someone (you in this case) is there to give it existence. Otherwise it has neither existence nor nonexistence; it is merely fantasy.
***What came before the Big Bang and how did this whole process get started? Scientists understand the Big Bang as being the initial conditions that started the motion of the universe, but how did these initial conditions get set up? How did it all start? Where did energy come from?
***How did time start? Does time have a starting point? If so, how and when did it start? If not, how was it put into place, if such a question has any meaning?
***Does time have an extant quantity or extension such that events in space-time have a real existence? It’s hard to put this question intelligibly. Basically, are the past and future real and tangible? If this is true, what does that say about free will? If the past is real, does this necessarily mean that the future is real. In the same way that we can reach out and break a glass tube with our hands, could a 4-dimensional monster reach out and break the 4-dimensional time-line of the glass tube?
***Why do we experience time? This question is closely linked to the more general question of consciousness. Why do we have a sense of the evolution of time, the passing from moment to moment? Why aren’t we aware of the entirety of our lives instead of just this moment?