Re: words and their ambiguity ... indeed many verbal disputes seem to be based on a failure (or unwillingness) to agree on basic terms and definitions. I keep a glossary on another forum and have been told that it's foolish to have a glossary, that words shouldn't be fixed to concrete definitions and that when they are, knowledge about them becomes a basis for superiority ("Look at these special words I'm using; I'll bet you don't know these words, ha-ha"). I actually maintain that without some kind of common knowledge about word definitions, communication (let alone effective communication) is impossible.
Re: the effect of a philosophical discussion on one's actions ... the effect is subtle, but I assume it must be there. Kind of like how all the celestial bodies in space tug on each other a bit, so that no orbit is perfectly circular (or elliptical).
Re: the Matrix and metaphysical stuff ... there are many models (e.g. brain in a vat) of a substrate plane that may underpin our existence, some sinister, some sublime. There is a chance that a "spirit world" is connected to our physical world, but in a very delicate way.
Re: free will ... it is virtually impossible to imagine not having free will. We perceive ourselves as making decisions all the time. We have complex thoughts that precede our decisions. Imagining all that as the inevitable movements of energy and molecules is almost as impossible as imagining death without an afterlife. For some, this incomprehensibility is proof that we do have spirits. But then, it is technically impossible to imagine a hypersphere, and yet most of us agree that our universe is in the shape of a hypersphere.
Re: marriage ... it is becoming less common in the United States as well, though conceivably less so than in England. In tandem, people are talking about the need to extend marital rights to same-sex couples (and we still have a considerable range of rights that go with marriage if my understanding is correct). I don't know what the fate of marriage is worldwide. Perhaps as Jane suggested people will write up their own marital contracts.
Re: equalizing legal funds ... an interesting idea, may take awhile to take hold in the U.S. though, where wealth is still somewhat seen as a sign of honest hard work and virtue. Redistributing wealth is seen as a communist value, and we still have lots of people who are paranoid about communist values.
Just musing out loud,
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"