To Be What Comes After

I haven’t written a blog post in a long time. I don’t know why. Maybe because this past year has been difficult and I haven’t had the time. I also forgot about this page because I’ve been too focused on making other things. I know that no one reads these words, and that is kind of meaningful to me in a way. I have this space all to myself, yet anyone could come along and see what I’ve written and receive a deeply sincere, unfettered, at times immature, deluge of my real self. At least as real as I’m willing to be. Know that this place is one where I feel more comfortable being my true self. The place I am most comfortable is Reddit, where I can hide in anonymity.

Earlier tonight I submitted a comment to a discussion thread in one of my favorite subreddits, r/INTP (it’s a Myers-Briggs thing). The thread was about depression and how others cope with it. One commenter, the one whose comment my own was in response to, said that s/he experiences depression only when s/he thinks too much, which is something we INTPs (again, wikipedia it) tend to do A LOT of the time. But this commenter said something that really struck me and prompted probably the longest response I’ve ever written on Reddit.

S/he said: “I think too much about what happens after life (nothing, IMO) and I have a nihilistic view on the world now.”

Being a rational being (and desperately trying to avoid sounding obnoxious about it), I have pretty much ruled out the existence of a god. But there has always been a little part of me that is unsatisfied with the idea that when I die, that’s it. Nothing happens. The end. The rational part of my brain says, “Of course that’s it!” but the idealistic part says, “But is it really?” I could go on, but I think I’ll let my response speak for itself.

This is what I said:

“I know this isn’t exactly relevant, but your comment on what happens after life, i.e. nothing, intrigued me. I think you might be right. But I also think that there are two things that could happen. Either you’re right, nothing happens and we turn into dust and fade away forever; the whole universe does–it dies having spent every bit of energy it could muster–and nothing comes after; or all of that happens (the death and fading and expansion into emptiness) but there is something that comes after, another universe comes into being, the whole cycle happens all over again. The only reason I think this is even possible is that I can’t seem to rationalize the existence of an eternal nothingness. Of course, even if there were an eternal nothingness (and I’m talking total nothingness, like no spacetime, no dimensions, not even the so called laws of physics, which are arguably not independent of the existence of anything anyway), there wouldn’t be a way for it to manifest itself. It wouldn’t make any sense to even consider. The only thing that can be is something.

So sure, maybe after all of this ends there’s a long period of cold empty space. Maybe this universe is destined to stretch on forever and wither away. But what’s to say there can’t be more somewhere else? I went through a period when I would listen to Alan Watts lectures on YouTube, and I know the guy is a bit of a kook, but I think inside all of his profoundly incoherent babble is a little inkling of truth, but it’s a truth that is so difficult to express with words that those who try to explain it often end up sounding crazy, or taken damn seriously by a few who are too easily affected by things which sound pretty but are pretty often way over their heads in terms of complexity and use-of-language. When you can’t quite understand what the man is saying, but it sounds really good, some of us will blindly follow even though we don’t have any clue what it is we’re actually followers of. Religion comes to mind. But the bit of truth that I remember taking away from Watts is that we can only ever truly do one thing: experience. So when we die, that’s it. It isn’t some eternal void that we get to experience. The thing which has done the experiencing has moved on. The only thing which could ever happen after death–and it’s probably not very likely, but I like to think there’s a chance–would be for us to wake up, begin anew, fresh as the day we were born, completely unaware that there was ever any past or that there will ever be a future, because we are once again infants devoid of any notion of these things (past and future), only living, experiencing the present as purely as it was ever meant to be experienced. And we’ll grow up and eventually feel as if we are moving forward through time, and this feeling will haunt us until the day that we die, because we’ve been given a taste of experience, and it’s a powerful drug, and we’re too afraid to lose it.”

Anyway. I don’t have any concluding remarks, which is fine. This space is for me. I don’t have to explain myself. I’m writing a book. It’s tentatively titled: A Very Long Time to Wait for Death. Goodnight.

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