There’s no Heaven or Hell – But, Don’t Worry

Imagine standing in the most beautiful garden you’ve ever seen. The sun is shining, the grass is lush. To your left are rolling hills that become the feet of great mountains. To your right just through the foliage the gentle undulating land meets a golden beach and the crashing waves of a mighty ocean. You stand in the utter stillness and on a whim, make a foolish wish: This moment and this place can last forever; it can transcend all harm, all disease and all the ills of mankind. Your picture of the world however, is a construction limited by the survival requirement that you see the cosmos writ large, a macro view. It is impossible for you to stand there, stagnated and rooted to the same spot forever. You need to hunt in order to eat, find safe water to drink, save fuel for the winter, find a mate. The governors of all of these activities, upon which they are all contingent, cannot be seen by your eyes – they are too small or too large.

Within feet of you, and with every moment that passes billions of minute interactions are taking place: Cells within your body are decaying, dying and being recycled so that most of ‘you’ is continuously replaced. Cosmic rays are re-writing strands of your DNA and that of all the life around you – the offspring of which will bare these invisible changes and help (or hinder) their ability to survive and perhaps be transmitted down the generations through their progeny. Energy from the sun is being transformed by the multifarious plant life that you can see, producing their own sugars that will in turn be stolen by the animals that eat them and passed on to you when you digest the prey you have caught. This energy will be used by the most complex computational machine in the known universe to solve the problems of how to live. It has solved them well so far, creating extensions to it’s eyes that can detect the very small, the very large, the very old and the very young.

The machine’s necessary ability to plan and perceive possible futures has caused a misstep though – why not create a dream world that is a frozen prison, devoid of any flux – truly inanimate, where human minds can live in perpetuity? For some, this heaven could live by another name. There are perhaps corners of the universe that can be described as hellish but for all we know there are productive creatures there – similar to the bacteria that reside in the boiling ‘smokers’ of deep sea vents and after time unimaginable, their descendants will enjoy a world that has cooled.

Myself? I prefer this invisible, raging torrent – the fights between viral invaders and my cells, the storms of electrical activity that are my enlightenment and the power of the fifty per cent of me that helped to build my progeny.

– Your Joyful Benefactor

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