Life's our oyster and we're gonna suck that bitch down with a champagne chaser.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007  
Arrested Development
It seems as if my recent posts have had a religious theme to them. I'm not doing this purposefully, I guess theology and its absolute irrelevence, given society's advances in science, technology and logic, has been on my mind lately and its fun playing around with topics related to them. Keeping in line with my last post about how I'm going to hell when I die, I wanted to explore why I think heaven is a ludicrous concept and is a place that cannot possibly exist. I'm not talking about the fact that living on a cloud with millions of dead people, playing a harp, having wings, that whole shtick, being implausible. I'm referring to the fact that if heaven exists, and there are books out there that proclaim unequivocally that it does because the authors have been there apparently, it must be the most boring place ever. Sure you're going to feel happy all the time I suppose, it is paradise after all. And you're not going to have any problems or worries or pain or suffering, but without those things, there is no progress. Someone Stephen Colbert was interviewing recently said that, "There is no creative impulse in the absence of discontent. If you were in Heaven, you would be doomed to eternal senility." While you might feel joy, although to what extent the dead can feel anything is a mystery to me, there is nothing else.

It seems as if I'm being my usual cynical self and scrutinizing a moot point regarding an archaic notion, but I'm not one for false hope, Zeus knows how many times I've been let down by it. You can draw a comparison to the Eastern religious concepts of Yin and Yang. Opposites are necessary in this reality. Without suffering, how are you to know what happiness truly is. If you are living in eternity only experiencing pure happiness and bliss, you have no point of comparison. Say what you will, but it will get mind-numbingly boring. The bad things in life make you appreciate the good things even more. It's why people go out and party and have a good time after midterms and finals, and why it feels so much better to do something fun and joyful after something so painful than if they were just going out for the hell of it. Once you adapt yourself to something that is sad or miserable, such as a long gauntlet of exams for example, your concept of happiness and enjoyment is shifted so you enjoy those activities even more when you're through with the suffering. You need this duality in order to appreciate the joys of life.

Another aspect which makes the idea of heaven less than appealing is the fact that if there is no conflict, there is no opportunity to progress and be creative. If everyone is content with the status quo in heaven, how are they supposed to learn? Creativity, imagination and progress is what makes life interesting and unpredictable. If everything is served to you on a silver platter, when would you be able to use your brain to create and inspire. Everyone probably makes the same or similar decisions and all feel the same way (happy) so where is the diversity and individuality? A bunch of deities running around eating ice cream, playing raquetball, visiting Jesus, doing whatever pleases them leaves nothing to be desired. Once you reach perfection, what else is there left to do?

While hell seems to be a pretty god-awful (satan-awful?) place to be, at least there is an ample amount of discontent to inspire people to use their brains and think and be creative. Perhaps if you do something different one day, a winged demon won't gnaw your toes off. Maybe if you buddy up to satan you'll get to be on fire less often. Or you might even conjure up a way to escape hell or even overthrow satan. In heaven, what is there to do? Sit around, get whatever you want when you want it, maybe even be with the ones you love. But if you're not in conflict with your loved ones from time to time, they wouldn't be your family and friends would they? Bickering and making up is what makes love and relationships stronger. (Isn't that why they say make-up sex is the best?) At most, heaven should be a vacation spot for a week or 10 days before you go back to your real after-life. That would make you appreciate paradise even more than staying there forever. Whenever you go on vacation, if you're there longer than 2 weeks you start to get sick of it and want a change of scenery. Why should a paradise in the sky be any different than one in the ocean? Timeshares in heaven, anyone?

It's for this reason I don't subscribe to these notions of heaven and hell. They're not actual locations that exist. They're concepts meant to scare (Christian) people into being good and sin-free in their lives so they get into heaven and not go to the dark fiery place underground with satan, Hitler, Saddam and Dick Cheney (he died when more than 50% of his body became mechanical). It's a fictional prize meant to keep people in line. Whatever happened to being a good person just for the sake of being good? I tend to beleive in one form of reincarnation or another. Maybe we just keep repeating the life we're living now over and over in parallel universes of some sort. Perhaps we learn something new each go around and improve something in our lives that we hadn't before. At least then there's room for novelty and creativity.

Who's to say who is right and who is wrong? No one, that's who. Why? Because no one knows. I know this is a huge revelation to all of you out there, but no one knows what happens when you die. Some people think you go meet Jesus when you die, some people think you get reincarnated into a badger when you die, some people think you just die and become part of the earth once again. These are all just theories to make us feel better about something that none of can avoid but all of us fear, if not for the actual death than the mystery behind it. Some reasons are more outlandish than others (harps and wings with Gandhi and great-grandma anyone?), but in any case death shouldn't define your life. Why work so hard to manipulate something that's out of control, something that might not even exist, a life after death? Living your life in the present makes more logical sense. To glorify death and what happens afterwards belittles the life you're living. You can deal with death after you die.

4:13 AM


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