There is a theory that at death, not only does your energy return to the universe, but it returns with personality intact–or alternately, you return as part of the whole consciousness of the universe, aware not only of yourself, but also of every coherent personality.
I find this comforting. And though there is nothing in science to support any part of this except the energy returning to the Universe part, I choose to believe it. However, that belief comes with some burdens of thought. Not the least of which is that arms, legs, face, and eh hem, other parts will not be part of the travel plan.
There are other downsides to this belief. The one that haunts me is the nature of energy in the universe. Energy is two dimensional. One of the characteristics of being two dimensional is that you exist outside of time. Meaning that if your personality survives with the energy that is released at the time of death, all of time, from the beginning of the universe to the end, and further, maybe outside of the universe, will be laid flat to examine. That means that everything you’ve ever done, not done, thought (since thought is energy) will be stretched out like a newspaper for you and anyone else to examine.
My personal hope in this belief is that I’ll be able to slip in and out of these moments and experience them as they were when they occurred in three dimensions. Being able to go back and relish a first kiss, the moment one first falls in love, your very first sexual encounter (particularly if it wasn’t a nightmare), and a litany of other remembered and forgotten moments, can be visited, or more accurately, ridden like a Universal Studios attraction. As pleasant as that sounds, spending eternity moving in and out of sweet moments throughout time, we all know life isn’t a bowl of cherries. There are dark moments. Painful moments. Moments we’d just rather not be reminded of.
There have been times in all of our lives, no matter how compassionate we think we are, that we have hurt others. Sometimes intentionally. Sometimes thoughtlessly. And these moments that we try to push to the back of our minds as we progress along the path that is time, would be just as available, just as vulnerable to scrutiny, not only by ourselves but by all consciousness in the universe. Face it; if mind is truly just energy, then all minds can see all time, all events…even yours.
So, my thought experiment I engaged in last night as I stared into the dark sky, taking note of each bright star in my field of view, was to speak to myself. Me to me–Or rather, the me in that 3 dimensional moment of time to the me that just knows it all now–I said “Hey, man… I’m so sorry I’ve done shit to embarrass you. I hope judgement from others isn’t too harsh. I’ll work on not being a dick so much.”
In that moment, I recorded a message to future (and all time) me, letting me know that in that moment in space time, I was aware, even for the briefest instant, of the true nature of the universe. I’ll assume flat 2D me wasn’t that impressed. It would sort of be like watching a cat walk by a mirror, jump in the air upon seeing his reflection, then sniffing the glass to find the truth of the matter. Maybe I provided 2D me with a chuckle. In either case, it felt profound at the time.
But I haven’t been able to get it out of my head, since. To me, though based loosely in science, the act of being aware of a conscious mind, yours or others, slipping in to your moment…this moment, the moment you are in right now, and feeling what you’re feeling, thinking what you’re thinking, experiencing not only the act, but the motivation and the ripples it sets off into the world, that’s pretty damned heavy.
And while we might wish to hurry past those moments, particularly the bad ones, feeling that if we just rip through them like a bandaid off a wound they’ll be gone and we’ll never have to deal with them again, for the 2D universe, that instant and all its ripples into the world will be frozen, like a frame by frame examination of a DVD–only deeper. Like being able to not only see each frame, but being able to slip into the head of the person on the screen, to feel the motivation behind the action, to know the effect it will have on everything around you.
Ouch and ouch.
With all motivations, intentions, goals, and their effects laid bare for all to see, dissect, examine, and experience, I’d imagine the short lived excitement at realizing you know everything is tempered by the realization that everyone can see you just as clearly. That might put a slight damper on the euphoria. Or maybe not. Maybe if we live with our best intentions always at play, simply confounded occasionally by the nature of imperfect life, we can be forgiving. Or, maybe, if we live selfishly, deceiving and hurting others, feeling we have some right to do whatever we want so that we might steal some comfort in the short blip we live in, we’ll be exposed and ostracized–judged by the universe as being unworthy.
So, I have no evidence of an afterlife, mythological or scientific. But it seems to me that if there is one, many of us will have uncomfortable squirmy moments to relive. And some will have an eternity to roll, exposed and dissected, in every dirty, mean, cruel thing they’ve ever done or thought. To me, 2D quantum time tourist seems like it will be more exciting and fun than anything else. Yeah, I’ll have some cringe moments to revisit, but for the most part, life, all life, was my charge, and I took that charge seriously.
Here’s to you, fellow travelers. And if you feel like it in your next quiet moment, look up to the sky at the wonder that is our small view of the universe and say, “Hey…sorry about being a dick sometimes. I’ll try to do better.”
If nothing else it’s therapeutic.
Ciao for now.