->'''The Warden''': What did you want to talk about, Alistair?\\
'''Morrigan''': His navel, it seems. He's certainly been contemplating it enough.
-->-- ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''

[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphaloskepsis Omphaloskepsis]]. A type of meditation where one stares at one's navel. Navel-gazing has come to mean anyone being extremely introspective or existential.

When contemplating his or her navel, a character will sit quietly and contemplate the purpose of [[Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy Life, the Universe, and Everything]]. In visual media, this can be accompanied by surreal visuals (sometimes an excuse to recycle material from previous episodes). In written media, this can involve long, [[InnerMonologue usually internal]] monologues.

Depending on the show, this can be [[{{Theme}} thematically appropriate]] or a [[ActionFilmQuietDramaScene pause in the action]]. When used as {{padding}}, and if little thought is put into them, these scenes can be annoying -- the poor viewers may find themselves sitting through five minutes of "Who am I? Who is me? I is me, but you is not me. The universe is not real to me, unless it is real to you, but who is you? [[MindScrew Who is..."]] and so on against a ClipShow background. Depending on the delivery, [[NightmareFuel it can be really creepy.]]

When a character does a voice-over of the same nature during the series, it's called a FauxlosophicNarration.

When the moment becomes significant as an energizing, self-motivating speech, it is a WorldOfCardboardSpeech. When a character frequently indulges in navel contemplating, said character is ThePhilosopher.

Compare with CharacterFilibuster. And compare with AuthorFilibuster, where the character is giving answers instead of questions.

Not to be confused with [[NavalGazing Contemplating Our Navy]]. If the viewers get to contemplate a character's navel, it's BareYourMidriff.



* [[http://adland.tv/commercials/heinz-estd-2001-030-usa This ad for Heinz ketchup]] uses this trope to contemplate what the term "Est'd" on its bottles means.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho''
** Some navel-gazing occurs during the Younger Toguro fight. It comes off as Creator/AynRand trying to challenge the Shounen hero's PowerOfFriendship.
** And later in the series, Yusuke has one of these (verging on a full-fledged HeroicBSOD) halfway through his final fight with [[spoiler:Yomi]], as he blanks out in the middle of a fight upon realizing that he's been fighting for so long that it's lost all meaning.
* One episode of ''Anime/SerialExperimentsLain'' consisted almost entirely of live photographs scrolling by while the {{Narrator}} provided {{Expospeak}}.
* The last two episodes of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' consist entirely of this, along with a great deal of MindScrew. It's also done on a few other occasions: namely, by Rei during her synch test with Unit 01, Shinji while trapped inside an Angel, and Shinji again during the weeks he spent merged with Unit 01.
* ''Anime/ParanoiaAgent'' shows more restraint and only does this for a few seconds in the next episode previews (which [[PostEpisodeTrailer usually aren't important anyway]]). It shows why this trope rarely works: the characters are creepy precisely because they don't babble their inner thoughts to the audience.
* [[InactionSequence Duels]] in ''Anime/YuGiOh'' and ''[[Anime/YuGiOhGX GX]]'' have a tendency to drift into this, as emotional issues from [[FreudianExcuse traumatic childhoods]] to tragic romances rise to the surface for whoever's the bad guy, turning duels more into intense mental therapy sessions. The ''GX'' [[GagDub dub]] frequently [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] this: "Is he gonna duel or stand there and ponder his purpose in life?"
* ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya''
** Koizumi Itsuki is an Olympic-level navel-gazer, who often finishes off his bouts of philosophy with a [[IWasJustJoking 'just kidding']].
** When he could talk, Shamisen, who delivered such a successful spiel on the nature of consciousness that he managed to distract the characters from the fact that he was a ''[[TalkingAnimal talking cat]].''
* Parodied in ''Manga/ThePrinceOfTennis'': Shinji Ibu from Fudomine is infamous for his long, odd mumbling rounds. So much that the voice messages in his single CD's are all composed of random mumbling about practically anything.
* The second season of ''Anime/TheBigO'' made the viewers contemplate their navels a lot -- sometimes this and the token mecha fight would be the whole episode. NietzscheWannabe Schwartzwald ranting, brief scenes of every character looking puzzled at what was going on, Roger sitting paralyzed at the controls of his mecha while worrying about his destiny -- and several characters worrying that they only exist to play a limited role. Unusually, these scenes were ''never'' excuses for recycled footage, and were always lavishly animated (Schwartzwald ranted over a background of his mecha running amok through the wilderness).
* ''Anime/{{Mnemosyne}}'' did this out of nowhere in its last episode. It was very strange and misplaced, though strange and misplaced seems to be the theme of the series.
* ''Anime/XamdLostMemories'' lampshades this when the main character starts to slide into a monologue, and another character tells him this isn't the time to be navel-gazing.
* ''Manga/YokohamaKaidashiKikou'' has {{Ridiculously Human|Robot}} {{Robot Girl}}s [[DoAndroidsDream contemplating their robotic navels]] in front of SceneryPorn, of all things. And does it extremely well, too.
* ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' features this in episode 23, Brain Scratch, where the climax of the episode is villain Londes' lengthy speech on the philosophical nature of television.
* ''Anime/DotHackSign'' characters do this a lot, spending a great deal of time discussing all manner of deep subjects. It comes as a relief to see Sora, the only character who regularly acts like he's actually playing a game...
* ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' series usually feature several battles where opposing mobile suit pilots debate about the nature of truth, honor, war, peace and just about every philosophy topic in existence while blasting each other with laser cannons and giant lightsabers. And when they're not fighting what do they do? They continue debating. All the time, over and over, IT NEVER STOPS. To the point that viewers will wonder if screaming at each other about the nature of reality is really the unseen power source of their gundams...
** Treize Khushrenada of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing'' is the grand champion of this trope, rambling about the meaning of combat and his life purpose on and off the battlefield (he even gets an entire RecapEpisode in which to contemplate endlessly). This frustrates his subordinate/lover(?), Lady Une, who just wants him to conquer the universe already.
*** Nearly everyone in [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing Wing]] does this ALOT. Whether it be the Gundam pilots themselves, everyday run-of-the-mill soldiers, rebels, or just politics. Zechs Marquise tends to do it the most, after Treize.
** Gundam 00 is heavy on this in the same way as Gundam Wing. In fact, in Gundam 00, it appears that all the most awesome battles are the ones with most dialogue. The more epic the battle is, the more dialogue there is. Especially the final battle in Season 1 between Setsuna and Graham, where they argue about quite a lot of serious subjects in less than three minutes, and actually manage to get over ''every single detail'' about Graham and Setsuna's relationship, as well as a few other things! All while chopping eachother's mobile suit to pieces.
** ''Anime/CodeGeass'' does something similar in the epic battle in the finale.
* Negi of ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' does this on occasion, primarily during the Mahora festival arc, where he contemplates whether or not maintaining TheMasquerade is the right thing to do. It's subverted as he never really finds an answer, and decides to maintain it simply because the BigBad can't prove that breaking the Masquerade is worth screwing over some of the mages.
** It's also {{lampshade|Hanging}}d like crazy as several characters tell Negi to knock off the contemplation because he's [[AdorablyPrecociousChild only ten years old]] and should spend his time having fun and being a kid, not debating the moral implications of his actions.
* ''Franchise/GhostInTheShell'' does this frequently.
** Admittedly in the movie the English translation made it sound a lot more like an AuthorFilibuster than the Japanese original seemed to intend - the Major was definitely not sure of herself in the Japanese voicing, yet seemed to be talking directly to the viewer in the English one.
** Similarly, Batou goes on a lot of philosophical ramblings in the novel ''After the long Goodbye'', which is a sequel (or prequel?) to ''Innocence''. He too isn't really sure about anything, questions if he himself has a soul or not and why Gabriel has left him, often thinking of reasons more emotional than rational and reflects on the beliefs of other characters he meets.
** In ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'', if the Tachikomas [[SpiderTank actually had navels]], they'd do this frequently.
* ''Manga/{{ARIA}}'' as some elements of this. Mostly a rather [[{{WAFF}} fluffy]] series (in a ''[[{{Iyashikei}} good]]'' way), Akari's mindfulness at times makes it plunge deep into nostalgia and questions about the purpose of life, clearly influenced by the Japanese philosophy of ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mono_no_aware mono no aware]]''. This is most prevalent in the ''Arietta'' {{OVA}}, which coincidentally contains even more SceneryPorn than the TV series.
* In ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'', the titular character often talked his foes into submission, and at one point, it was the only way he could win against Sojiro Seta.
* Rakka in ''Anime/HaibaneRenmei'' does a lot of philosophizing about things, such as the nature of the Haibane and whether she deserves to be happy or not.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' has Hohenheim contemplating the nature of humanity in Episode 27 of the ''Brotherhood'' anime with the standard ClipShow format.
** Also used with premeditated intention and to great effect as the Elrics contemplate "All is one, one is all" (a concept used not infrequently afterwards) during their stint of training/dying/whatever they were doing.
** As well as exploring/discussing/whatever-ing the concept of WhatMeasureIsANonHuman, especially with Al
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'': Kabuto is obviously channelling [[Series/{{Heroes}} Dr. Mohinder Suresh]] when he bombards Naruto with questions such as [[FauxlosophicNarration "Who are we? What is our purpose?"]] prior to revealing he has [[spoiler:fused himself with the remains of Orochimaru to give himself an identity]]. Orochimaru himself sometimes slips into this when describing why he's seeking immortality.
* ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'' has Alucard occasionally prone to stopping to contemplate his own history and the nature and motivations of those around him. [[BigBad The Major]] also tends to monologue about his enemies and the nature of war. Other characters get in on this at times.
** In fact, the key question would seem to be "What is/makes a monster?" Given the BlackAndGrayMorality that Hellsing operates on, it's rather appropriate.
* ''Anime/ErgoProxy'' has the Cogito virus that cause self-awareness in robots and makes them experience human emotions.
* The [[OnTheNext trailers]] of ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'''s first season are mostly floating text with a vague, [[Series/{{Heroes}} Mohinder]]-style voiceover. Of course, [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome that music]] would make the phone book sound intriguing and mysterious.
** And that ''[[Creator/YukariTamura voice]]'' would make ''anything'' sound dramatic. Especially when you find out who is speaking.
* Unlike ''Higurashi'', ''Manga/XxxHolic'' does show preview clips, but a similarly coy voiceover by Yuuko plays over them.
* The characters in ''Manga/{{Vagabond}}'' do this quite frequently; a lot of Musashi's character development happens through inner monologues where he questions just what it means (and how much it means, in the end) to be strong.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Most navel gazing takes place in text boxes to represent character's thoughts rather than speech bubbles, unless the character's actually talking.
* Batman 041 featured an [[http://i.imgur.com/qtKiqqJ.png attempt at navel gazing]], done in Scott Snyder's [[DeconstructedTrope now familiar]] [[SubvertedTrope style.]] "Batman" then goes on to try to continue his entire inner monologue in "Bat-syle", literally thinking to himself "Bat-thoughts".
* ''ComicBook/JohnnyTheHomicidalManiac'' manages to make it creepy as all Hell, usually by having it end with a psychotic non-sequitur or be written in blood or something.
* In the ''Comicbook/RoboCopVersusTheTerminator'' graphic novel, ''the Terminators'' do this, since [=RoboCop=] is essentially a divine being to them (as in this continuity, he was an integral part of [=SkyNet's=] creation). It gets really weird when they start discussing the fact that he doesn't want to help them.
* In the ''Film/{{Emmanuelle}}'' comic-book adaptation by Guido Crepax, Emmanuelle herself sometimes engages in navel-gazing.
* In ''ComicBook/TarotWitchOfTheBlackRose'', the action will sometimes grind to a halt so that Rowen can contemplate her navel. Sometimes, entire issues are devoted to navel gazing over various aspects of Wiccan beliefs, with forays into PurpleProse.

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'', despite being more action-packed than [[ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes its source comic strip]], still has a touch of this.
* The VisualNovel/{{Clannad}} fanfic ''FanFic/AnEndToAllThings'' features Okazaki doing this periodically.
* Terrance, in the WesternAnimation/SouthPark fanfic ''Fanfic/TheBalladOfStootAndArgyle'', combines ContemplateOurNavels with {{Gayngst}} in his internal monologues. It's not a very healthy combination.
* The main character of ''Fanfic/InTheService'' can be somewhat philosophical about the nature of soldiering to his companion, Combat Cyborg Tre, because of her habit of taking on extra and in his eyes unreasonable guilt.
* ''Fanfic/LifeAfterHayate'' includes a scene where [[LyricalNanoha Chrono and Zafira]] have a conversation about why Hayate was perfect for the Wolkenritter, and why Chrono can't be.
* ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'' indulges in this semi regularly, due to the paradigm shifts that the story brings about in the world, with various characters speculating on themselves, Harry's role and importance (considerable), the forces interfering in his life (vast) and his occasionally worrying similarities to ComicBook/{{Magneto}}. Thankfully, it doesn't become overbearing, but it is present.

* ''Film/TheMatrixReloaded'' and ''Film/TheMatrixRevolutions'' were both crammed with navel-contemplation. The original wasn't free of it either, although it was far more pronounced in the TwoPartTrilogy.
* ''Film/IHeartHuckabees'' was filled with this, which makes sense as the main action of the movie involves characters going through an existential crisis or ten. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by one character not yet willing to admit he's also going through one:
-->'''Dawn Campbell''': You can't deal with my infinite nature, can you?
-->'''Brad Stand''': Of course I can... what does that even mean?
* ''Film/TheThinRedLine'' is possibly the epitome of this trope. Nearly every soldier has a ridiculous voice-over monologue, and many times there are more than one of them onscreen, making it impossible to tell who's actually saying it. After watching, one reviewer commented that it sounded like a series of high school papers asking "Why is there War?" and noting that he felt compelled to yell letter grades at the screen. And then you find out that the studio had to chop the film down from ''six hours''....
* [[DarkAndTroubledPast Cloud]] gets into the habit of this during ''Anime/FinalFantasyVIIAdventChildren'' as part of his [[{{Wangst}} wangsting]] phase.
* ''Film/KissKissBangBang'' has one of these with a nice moment where Harry looks back at his unrequited love's apartment and sighs.
* The entire film ''WesternAnimation/WakingLife''.
* Oddly, ''Film/OverdrawnAtTheMemoryBank'' has this mentioned in a very strange way part way through.
* The Operative engages in some contemplation in a deleted scene at the end of ''Film/{{Serenity}}''. Mal, who's not in a good mood to begin with and tends to dislike such contemplation, points out that the Operative doesn't find a better place do do so than right behind Serenity as she's preparing to take off, [[WeaponizedExhaust his contemplations are going to be cut short]].

* In ''Film/CatchMeIfYouCan'', Frank Abagnale states that he was "comtemplating his navel" in the janitor's closet of a hospital where he was posing as a doctor. (He was actually reading a medical dictionary to look up terms he did not understand.)
* James Joyce's ''Literature/{{Ulysses}}'', long considered a ponderous, difficult, impossible tome, humorously plays with this trope & term quite often: from Buck Mulligan loudly proclaiming that their home is 'the omphalos', to Dedalus literally contemplating the existence of Adam's (Biblical-Adam) navel, to a chapter that ends with Bloom going to the bath house, and literally gazing into his own bellybutton.
* Robert Asprin's later ''Literature/MythAdventures'' books started to do this more and more.
* OrsonScottCard likes to do this in his books. A scene from one of the Shadow books involves Ender's mom and Graff talking about whether it's intentions or actions that determine one's supernatural fate, for example. The most plot-vital revelations in ''Xenocide'' are strongly obfuscated behind long, confusing {{Fauxlosophic Narration}}s.
* ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy1'' refers to the three phases of civilization as being characterized by the questions, "How can we eat?", "Why do we eat?", and "Where shall we have lunch?" (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is one possible answer to the last question. And that's not even getting into Bistromathics...)
** also parodied in the scene with the whale and the bowl of petunias.
* Invoked in Creator/RayBradbury's ''Literature/{{Fahrenheit 451}}'' during the speeches of Montag's boss Beatty. Beatty actually does mention people cleaning their navels in one speech. Beatty is deliberately trying to fuck with Montag's mind. And it goes into a deliciously awesome ShutUpHannibal
* The activity which most concerns Pierre in ''WarAndPeace''. It's not enough to be [[MoneyToBurn stinking filthy rich]], no, he must learn the secrets of [[Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy Life, the Universe, and Everything.]]
* The ''Literature/{{Illuminatus}} Trilogy'' is made of this, with long dialogues about how the human mind thinks, the significance of religion, why anarchy and chaos are better than order and authoritarianism, and the respective positions of the Illuminati, the Justified Ancients of Mummu, the Legion of Dynamic Discord, and Erisian Liberation Front on what people should be doing. It is remarkably unpretentious and often even fun to read, though.
** Notably, chaos eventually isn't decided to be better than order, after all, even though that appears to be the initial premise; the idea is that there simply has been an overflow of order recently, and some extra chaos is needed to balance things out.
*** In the ''Principia Discordia'', from which many of the ideas of Illuminatus! are drawn, the opposition is not between order and Chaos, but between order and disorder, and Chaos is the principle into which both transcend.
* Stacy in Scott Smith's ''The Ruins'' does something like this towards the end of the novel.
* Happens on occasion in Terry Pratchett's ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' books, especially the later ones in the series.
* Creator/RobertEHoward's Literature/{{Kull}} does this a lot. Especially in ''The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune'', where Kull gazes into a mirror and wonders if perhaps the mirror image is the real man and he is but a mirror image himself... and more from that drawer.
* In Creator/SheriSTepper's ''Grass'' [[spoiler: the hyper-intelligent Foxen are being killed off by the less intelligent, but more ambitious, Hippae; because they have degenerated into passive navel-gazers.]]
* Probably makes up the majority of the text in ''All Saint's Day''. And it is a rather informed variety, as the protagonists friends, with the possible exception of his love interest who comes in half-way, have a in depth knowledge of the works of western philosophers, at least the German ones, as well as their original, more artistically bent, thoughts and critiques.
* In [[Literature/TheGoodSoldierSvejk The Adventures of Good Soldier Švejk]], a WorldWarI novel by Jaroslav Hašek, private Baloun, the resident BigEater, is at one moment literally desperately observing his belly, flattened by wartime shortage of food.
-->''"You should belong among the sect of hesychasts," said pityfully Jurajda, the learned cook, "they were also watching their navels for days on, until it started to seem to them that they had a [[HolyHalo halo]] around it. Then they concluded that they reached the third level of perfection."''

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/BabylonFive'':
** The two SufficientlyAdvancedAlien species repeat the [[ArmorPiercingQuestion Armor Piercing Questions]] "Who are you?" (Vorlons) and "What do you want?" (Shadows) to [[TricksterMentor force the "younger races"]] to contemplate their navels (or biological equivalents). The two races themselves have been asking the questions for so long that they [[LawfulStupidChaoticStupid don't know their own answers]], and have ended up adopting the OrderVersusChaos framework without really understanding it. They have become roughly equivalent to divorcing parents trying to get "the kids" to choose a side. This comes to a head when a third, even ''more'' SufficientlyAdvancedAlien (to continue the metaphor, the Vorlons' and Shadows' parent figure) shows up with his own question: "Why are you here?" This helps the main characters realize it is [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome time to start kicking butt. Philosophically.]]
** In the final episode, Lorien comes to speak with Sheridan one last time. He starts with the first three questions, then adds a fourth which fits very logically into the sequence: "Where are you going?"
** Confronted by the Gray Council after the Battle of the Line Sinclair fires both [[ArmorPiercingQuestion Armor Piercing Questions]] at his captors: "Who are you?" "What do you want?" and adds a very apropos one of his own "Why are you doing this?" All of which must have been darned disturbing coming from their [[MessianicArchetype Messiah]].
* The short-lived spinoff ''Series/{{Crusade}}'' added its own third question -- "Whom do you serve and who do you trust?" -- to the "Who are you?"/"What do you want?" sequence, and used all three questions in its opening credits. ''Crusade'' was cancelled before we ever got an answer.
* ''Series/DesperateHousewives'': Every episode opens and closes with Mary Alice's voice-from-beyond-the-grave yattering off some inane blablablabla about life, happiness and whatnot.
** Subverted once and ''only once'', when [[spoiler:Edie]] dies at the beginning of an episode, and does the opening narration (again from beyond the grave, though) instead of Mary-Alice - but this time the entire monologue is a rant on how she was happy to die at the center of everyone's attention, just the way she had lived.
** There is also an occasion where [[spoiler: Rex]] narrates, and he amps this trope up.
* Parodied in ''Series/GarthMarenghisDarkplace'' - every episode closes with Rick Dagless indulging in some introspection on the hospital roof at sunset. Given the [[StylisticSuck deliberately poor quality]] of the writing, the topic of his navel-gazing is frequently a {{Wangst}}y, incomprehensible and pompous CharacterFilibuster of some kind.
* Literal example; in one episode of ''Series/GetSmart'' where Max infiltrated a group of both male and female hippies. The guru told all the hippies there to contemplate the navel. The Guru had to tell Max [[BareYourMidriff "Your OWN Navel"]]
* Done sometimes in ''Series/GreysAnatomy'', with Mer doing the narrating. It's usually plot-relevant and has something to do with doctors, medicine in general, and the [[TitleDrop title of the episode]], though.
* ''Series/HellsKitchen'', of all things, turns into this whenever Marco Pierre White opens his mouth.
* Tubbs on ''Series/MiamiVice'' was especially prone to this kind of behavior; most anything involving the BigBad from season 1 or his daughter would immediately launch the audience into a five minute long flashback BigNo-filled [[SlowMotion Slow-Mo]] montage.
* Parodied in the Dennis Moore skit on ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus''.
* Tod and Buz of ''Route/{{Route 66}}'' like to narrate about life, the universe, and everything in extremely metaphorical and existential terms.
* In ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' J.D.'s (and occasionally, other characters') inner monologue narrations do this a lot.
* Nate contemplated a used condom in one episode of ''Series/SixFeetUnder''.
* Happens from time to time on ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', particularly in comparison to the other, somewhat more two-fisted elements of the franchise. (See, for instance, the entirety of "In The Pale Moonlight") On one noteworthy incident led [[DeadpanSnarker Garak]] to comment that, since [[BizarreAlienBiology what passed for his navel was centered on his forehead]], he would have to be the one to get things done.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'' occasionally suffered from somewhat pretentious and long-winded voice-over monologues of this nature. Made worse that usually it was a teaser for MythArc episodes.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' Serial "Planet of the Spiders", there is a rather literal example. Sarah Jane is brought in to investigate some strange goings on at a mediation retreat of some sort. Mike Yates tries to explain the meditation to her but she doesn't seem to really get it.
-->'''Mike:''' They're just meditating. Watching.
-->'''Sarah Jane:''' So what are they watching?
-->'''Mike:'''They're mentally watching their tummies. Go up and down as they breathe.
-->'''Sarah Jane:''' Like contemplating their bellybuttons?
-->'''Mike:''' You could put it like that.
-->'''Sarah Jane:''' Well, I hope you all know what you're on about.
-->'''Mike:''' Probably seems a bit daft. It's an exercise in awareness really.
* In the ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' episode "The Visa", when George ends up double dating with Jerry and Elaine, he asks Jerry not to be funnier than him so that his date won't leave. His date comes back to the table and says that it's her aunt's birthday. Jerry then launches into a depressing spiel about birthdays.
-->'''Jerry:''' Well, birthdays are merely symbolic of how another year has gone by and how little we've grown. No matter how desperate we are that someday a better self will emerge, with each flicker of the candles on the cake, we know it's not to be, that for the rest of our sad, wretched pathetic lives, this is who we are to the bitter end. Inevitably, irrevocably; happy birthday? No such thing.
* On ''Series/EverybodyLovesRaymond'', Ray decides to give Ally TheTalk. She is uninterested in ''how'' babies get here, instead she wants to know ''why'' babies are here. More specifically, why are we here? Why did God put us here? This prompts a discussion among the adults as to the meaning of life.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty'''s popular staple in the comic was the characters sitting in a dandelion field while analyzing whether THIS latest popculture event will inspire the end of the world, or that will. Most especially with Binkley, who was known for having panic attacks on the idea of reincarnating as a toaster.
* Calvin, from ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'', has a tendency to do this.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'''s Orks are a subversion of this - one of the quotes in their codex postulates that they've become so successful ''because'' of the fact that they don't bother with the heavy philosophical questions that plague other races and just stick to shooting or smashing things in the face.
** Hummiez don't underztand orky navel watching. We boyz know that Gork and Mork are the invincible and the indeztructible, but we'z like to discuss regularly which is which. (Fightning noise)
* TabletopGame/{{Munchkin}} has the card "Contemplate Your Navel: Go Up a Level."

* ''Theatre/{{Cats}}'': The moments of happiness... We had the experience but missed the meaning and approach to the meaning restores the experience in a different form, beyond any meaning we can assign to happiness... The past experience revived in the meaning is not the experience of one life only but of many generations - not forgetting something that is probably quite ineffable...

[[folder:Video Games]]
* At the very end of ''StarOceanTillTheEndOfTime'', the characters find out that their entire universe is [[spoiler: a video game. The man who created the video game destroys it;]] however, the heroes choose their last moments to do some navel contemplating and their perceived universe is forced to spontaneously generate.
* ''Franchise/MetalGear'' does this from time to time, usually at the worst possible moments. Towards the end of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'', the BigBad actually tied the hero up and spent a good 15 minutes lecturing him on the troubling implications of genetic engineering while nuclear bombers made their approach.
** Also the excruciatingly long codec conversation with the [[spoiler: Patriot AI]] in the sequel, where Solidus patiently waits not 10 feet away until it's over to try and kill you.
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'' loves this. While presumably during an ongoing battle, Snake finds time to listen to repeated philosophical discussion of the war economy and nanomachines that one person could do in a two minute summation.
** [[spoiler:Big Boss]] proves he really was a Patriot at the end of the game, by blathering on for almost as long as the AI's did. Bonus points for [[spoiler:dying and hanging on long enough to finish his speech.]]
* Nearly everyone in VideoGame/DeusEx, ranging from terrorists, to bar patrons, to cabals of businessmen secretly running the world have their own complex theories to discuss about life.
* Interactive Media game ''Vortex: Quantum Gate II'' is about 30% navel gazing after you have just found out your mission wasn't to kill giant bugs but to kill innocent fae. And then there's even more after the second revelation that Earth has only five years left and the shadowy mining company you work for has been covering it up by 'disappearing' whistleblowers left and right in a vain attempt to hide the truth from the public until they can take over this new world and spring a manufactured heroic revelation onto the public. Drew's faced with the choice of saving his whole race or exchanging a sizable portion to save the newly encountered race.
* ''VideoGame/OracleOfTao'': Nearly 1/3 of the plot is devoted to existential issues. Justified (sort of) in that the hero is trying to become an oracle and in the process learns all manner of things.
* Used literally in ''VideoGame/StarControlII''. The player can talk the Thraddash into contemplating their navels, but the player learns that the Thraddash require three mirrors to properly view their navels.
* Spoofed/[[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in ''[[PhoenixWrightAceAttorney Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney]]'', during case 4-3:
-->'''Trucy:''' This is no time for navel-gazing! Let's crack this case!
** Also made fun of in ''Justice For All''.
-->'''Edgeworth:''' This is a trial, not the Phoenix Wright Wax Philosophical Power Hour!
* Kreia, from ''[[KnightsoftheOldRepublic KOTOR II]]''. Kreia is an excellent example of this, as nearly everything she says argues a [[{{Ubermensch}} Nietzsche-like philosophy]], but her grandmotherly tone renders it profound, not mere filler. Gamespy says [[http://goty.gamespy.com/2005/pc/index23.html "Kreia can teach a player more about basic moral philosophy and the flaws of Nietzsche in one game than a full semester in college -- and make a trip full of heavy-duty thought a whole lot of fun."]].
** In a nastier example, the Jedi Order (and Jedi Council in particular) were doing a lot of this; contemplating a ''possible'' external threat rather than deal with the Mandalorians trying to conquer the galaxy. Their inaction ultimately led to a SelfFulfillingProphecy when Revan said, "[[ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight Screw this]]" and went out to fight, getting DrunkOnTheDarkSide in the process.
*** Interestingly, their suspicions are revealed to be correct in ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' and its associated media, which shows that there indeed was a threat manipulating the Mandalorians. Whether their course of action was correct is still up for debate.
* ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'' has had this in his own spinoff title to the point where it has become exaggerated by the fanbase.
* Used literally in ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' - one accessory is entitled the Navel Ring Of Navel Gazing, and confers incredible contemplative powers.
* The ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series has had a history of existential angst ever since ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', where the main heroine Terra finds out she's a HalfHumanHybrid and deals with the weight of the knowledge. Every game in the main franchise since then has dealt with identity issues and such to some extent.
** Used [[Narm/FinalFantasy unintentionally hilariously]] in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' when [[TheHero Squall]] monologues about how he doesn't want people to talk about him after he dies and then shouts "I won't have it! I won't have anyone talk about me in the past tense!" which makes sense... until you realize that the entire monologue just took place ''in his head''.
* ''VideoGame/LinearRPG'': "Kliche considers the fact that destiny and fate are really the same thing, but perhaps the old man was referring to a deeper truth in the causality of the universe and the phenomena that make up his life..."
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'', a lot of N's dialogue is like this.
** Roughly 75% of Cheren's dialogue after he meets Alder.
** A few other [=NPCs=] do this, most notably ''a preschooler'' you can meet early in the game.
-->"Change your perspective — and the reality changes."
* ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIV'' had a particularly rousing one during its credits roll.
--> '''Announcer:''' This marks the end of an epic battle. The winner emerges with the pride and honor of a hard won victory, but also with a nagging sense of uncertainty. The loser walks away with a heart heavy with shame and anger, ready to make a new start and fight again another day. Both warriors know that this isn't truly the end. Neither one's potential has been truly reached, and there is much hard training ahead. They'll never forget the days of exchanging blows at a fevered pitch. They'll never forget the days of lost hope, of self-loathing. Once they've caught their breath, the warriors will return to the ring. This is the burden of the true fighter. There is no other choice. Who knows where their next opponent lies? This story may be over, but the battle is just beginning!
* Irenicus did a fair bit of it in the dream sequences in ''VideoGame/BaldursGateII'', waxing on about how "life is power" and precisely why, in his opinion, your character should embrace their Bhaalspawn nature instead of fighting it. All of which was made ten times more creepy by David Warner's mostly-deadpan delivery.
* Solving a puzzle in ''VideoGame/{{Antichamber}}'' will reveal an apt quote about the solution, or sometimes about the next problem. It is hard to be sure which.
** For example, [[spoiler:at the end of a training track with the blue block gun, you are shown a door and a block. Look away from the door, and it will vanish behind you. The game then has a quote about keeping important things in sight.]]
** A trippy one [[spoiler:comes from learning about a feature that isn't advertised about the green gun (the game normally provides a simple puzzle immediately after the gun as a tutorial). A first time player may attempt a puzzle they've come across many times before that involves green blocks, but it's still unsolvable due to there being too few. After finding another, carefully tucked away puzzle, it teaches the player about the green gun's second ability: cube farming. And then the game provides a quote on precisely what the player just experienced ("Solving a problem may require using abilities we didn't realise we had").]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Robopon}}'', Dr. Zero does this in the second game after you beat him, listing off every positive virtue in the book as he wonders how Cody was able to defeat him. Then he declares that it doesn't mean anything when you have money and power.
** Blaze, the first of Zero's cyborgs, does this, lampshading whether robots have sentience and saying he doesn't want to find out by dying.
* ''VideoGame/TheHouseOfTheDeadOverkill'' the end has the characters discuss the true meaning of their ordeal, with Washington thinking it's a postmodernist deconstruction of modern feminism. And swear gratuitously... even G, though he's just mocking Washington.
* Quite a bit of dialogue is this in ''VideoGame/TheTalosPrinciple'', though this is largely because philosophy is a major theme of the game.
* Along a similar line, ''{{VideoGame/SOMA}}'' dwells heavily on what it means to be human, with a number of in-game conversations discussing the topic.
* '' VisualNovel/{{Narcissu}}'' and its prequel, ''Narcissu 2nd'', are made of this trope. There's not really much of a plot, just sick chicks musing about life, fate, & religion before they (inevitably) die.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* A [[http://meninhats.com/d/20021014.html couple]] of [[http://meninhats.com/d/20021025.html times]] in ''Webcomic/MenInHats'', characters contemplating profound questions about the universe get hungry and turn their thoughts to sandwiches. It can apparently [[http://meninhats.com/d/20031022.html cause Aram]] to BSOD, too.
* In ''[[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/gamer/ Captain Gamer: OOC]]'', [[StreetFighter Sakura]] questions the Captain's commitment to personal justice. It leads to an 88-panel discussion of identity that completely blows the top off a long-running theme in the entire first arc.
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', Belkar is [[spoiler: under a Paladin's curse and hallucinating about the aristocrat that authorized it]] and is constantly being asked "What are you?" After several attempts at classifying himself, he finally responds with "I am... a... sexy... shoeless... god of war..."
* This is basically the entire point of ''WebComic/{{HERO}}'' once you get past the first part or so. You'll end up hard pressed to find a single sentence that isn't in some way philosophical once it gets going.
* ''Webcomic/MegaTokyo''. So, ''so'' much. To the point where OfficialCouple Piro and Kimiko have become a metaphor for how people relate to fictional characters and spend entire strips contemplating the nature of relationships.
* ''Webcomic/OutThere'': Many of the characters get introspective and philosophical at times. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081006.html Sometimes]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081007.html a]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081008.html whole]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081009.html week]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081010.html of]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081011.html strips]] will be devoted to someone's (usually Miriam's) inner monologue.
* Fairly often in ''WebComic/OzyAndMillie'', one time parodied:
--> [[http://ozyandmillie.org/2000/11/11/ozy-and-millie-518/ "So are you any closer to unlocking the secrets of the universe?"]]
* ''WebComic/BobAndGeorge'': [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/031020c George contemplates free will]].
* ''Webcomic/FamiliarGround'': [[http://www.familiar-ground.com/2009/03/02/why-are-we-here/ Why are we here?]]
* Karkat in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' engages in this during a three-year journey between universes, musing on the unfair and DoWellButNotPerfect nature of a world where YouCantFightFate, and its implications for any meaning life might have, and morality therein. Its a natural thing to wonder about when [[spoiler: passing through the dream-bubbles of a myriad of doomed-timeline versions of dead friends... and yourself]].
* [[http://xkcd.com/1120/ This xkcd comic.]]
--> "Sounds like masturbatory navel-gazing."
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', Grace and Nanase [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2004-10-22 engage in this]] together.
* ''Webcomic/BitsAndBytes'': Nolan and Gretha do this a few times when some of their favorite gaming companies closed down (''Creator/{{THQ}}'', ''Creator/{{Atari}}'', ''Creator/LucasArts'' for example) and how the gaming world has changed around them since they were younger.
* Most of what the characters do in ''Webcomic/OneOverZero''.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnAeuSvyh70 Anime Explains the Epimenides Paradox]].
* Done well (and hypnotically) on a very regular basis in ''BrokenSaints''.
* As he proceeds through the game, very much Bobby Jacks of ''SurvivalOfTheFittest'' - with a lengthy speech on his morals and/or deconstructions of his own motives cropping up every two scenes or so. Given that by the point he started to seriously do this he had wasted no fewer than ''seven'' people, you might argue that it took a ''little'' too long for his conscience to catch up with him.
* ''AssociatedSpace'' has an entire coastal village on the University Planet of Clonmacnois dedicated to the contemplation of esoteric philosophy. Which leads the hero Fatebane to remark, "We're all failed philosophers, in one way or another."
* Wiki/{{SCP|Foundation}}-[[http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-058 058]] is a bovine heart with legs and tentacles that attacks everything while spouting philosophical-sounding gibberish.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
** The phenomenon is parodied with the episode "The Firebending Masters", when [[spoiler: Zuko]] and Aang are exploring an ancient temple and accidentally trigger a trap that imprisons them. "Now what do we do?" Aang demands. [[spoiler: Zuko]] suggests "contemplate our place in the universe?"
** The episode "The Guru" is an entire episode of this, at least while Aang is on screen. That he is unable to continue his passive detachment when faced with visions of his loved ones in danger means he ends up IncompletelyTrained (for a brief but significant period at least)
* In the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' episode "Fury", Hawkgirl says of one Amazonian that was supposed to have been meditating, "Looks like she got tired of contemplating her navel..."
* In ''TransformersEnergon'', there were filler episodes every once in a while, where a couple of characters would sit around, and contemplate what happened since the last RecapEpisode.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/TheTick The Tick vs. the Protoclown]]'': Tick gets knocked into orbit unconscious, and his mind (a six-winged vision of his head) tells him he can only get home by answering the question "Why am I here?" [[JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind The Tick's brain]] is mostly desert. There's the pleasure center (a giant smiley face that will make him enter an endless coma of ecstasy), the brain's defense mechanisms (little Ticks armed with fish), and a giant Tick statue that will answer only one question ("How's it going?") The Tick eventually stumbles across the answer himself: "[[CompletelyMissingThePoint I'm here because]] [[RuleOfFunny a big clown hit me]]!"
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "The Tooth Fairy Tats" has Kyle start to doubt his own existence after discovering the tooth fairy isn't real. He spends the rest of the episode reading various philosophy books and talking about the nature of reality, even when the conversation around him is something totally different. He finally has an out-of-body, one-with-the-universe experience, and comments that it was weird. [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment It's never, ever spoken of again.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'':
** One episode has Brock go through a bout of this, when he began to doubt his own bloodlust, so he goes to Dr. Orpheus who has him do a spiritual journey at a meeting with an indigenous Brazilian shaman.
** The episode "Twenty Years to Midnight" played with this at its ending, although it's ultimately subverted.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The hesychasts of Orthodox Christianity were disparagingly called "omphalopsykhoi", or "those who have their souls in their navels". Hesychasm is a tradition of solitary prayer and ascetism which has some similarities with the meditation practises of Eastern religions.
What are you looking at? A plothole?