[Resurrecting this one again ( no pun intended)–One of my favorites, to lighten the mood a bit. I first posted this eight years ago next month. With what we’re all going through, I thought we could use it again. And as I get older and closer to my own big transition, I have found it to be more and more relevant.]
By Andy Weir
You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An into lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.
13 Replies to “The Egg”
Reblogged this on The Reluctant Poet.
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This was one of those reels that spins around, goes forth and back and up and down. Whenever I read a book that fools too much with the time continuum, I get flustered and want to slam the cover shut. Boldly taking ‘theological’ topics, spiritual sentiments and altered states of being then wrapping these impressions into an almost whimsical banter with profound undertones – I didn’t want it to end. I was having a great cloud bounce while eaves-dropping on this conversation.
Thank you for sharing…
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This was an amazing piece. It does offer a way of resolving the problem SillLight and I were talking about, too. Which is kind of a relief. 🙂
These are mind blowing thoughts. A different take on the whole ‘meaning of life’ question, which I find, these days, I am constantly asking. But there is definitely something more outside of this shell, and too, a bigger reason for why we are currently in it. The only thing that has ever made sense to me is what we learn along the way and for me, that can be the only reason for this classroom called Life. But this piece made a lot of sense to me; though the universe that surrounds us as one’s own individual egg is definitely a new thought/concept. Thanks for sharing it. I will pass this on to my cousin. I think she will enjoy it too.
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I really like the idea behind this piece. Let’s call it the positive view of the cosmos and creation. Or at least, a benevolent one. I want this to be true.
BUT…. There is another thought that smacked me a couple of days ago that I’m still mulling over. I think it’s the conflict that’s at the core of the fight over evolution.
For evolution to have worked — and I’m one who thinks there’s overwhelming evidence that it is the reason species, including ours, are the way they are– one of the biggest disturbing things is that it requires death. Death on an unimaginable scale over hundreds of millions of years. Avoiding Death long enough to reproduce drives developments in new adaptations. I had accepted this already, but the additional thought was to wonder at what kind of God would set such a system in motion? (I’m still allowing that there is a God) The indifference to individual suffering and death would have to be beyond understanding. To my little human mind, that kind of god would not be a benevolent being, but a monster, kicking at the anthill where we’re the ants.
I think the ideas in The Egg might provide part of an answer. I don’t know yet. But this is what happens when new information comes along, through the scientific method, that contradicts comfortable old beliefs. I just hope we can keep our eyes open and keep seeking, but without deluding ourselves any more than is absolutely necessary. 🙂
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A million questions we may never have the answers to; at least not in this life, but we can always theorize. I have to keep telling myself this; that maybe there are as many answers as there are questions. Coming from a Christian background I struggle constantly with the thought of how many millions of souls have been created throughout the course of History and then… where do they go and why? According to the “Christian” faith… how many are condemned to hell? The Bible makes it seem like it will be the majority and so, if God is benevolent, and also Omniscient, why create something you know ultimately you will throw into eternal damnation? Where is the love and purpose in that? It doesn’t make any sense (unless God is sadistic), because it does not jive with a Benevolent Being. However, what does make sense to me though, is the lesson; the classroom, and possibly the return in reincarnation, as there is always the possibility that there is still more to learn. I don’t know. Again, all hypothetical. But I think God is okay with the questions and so, I need to learn to be okay with the unknowing. Even in regards to Evolution… I don’t know. Perhaps what a day is to God is a 1000 years or more to man. What I liked about this piece though, was the thought it presented; the lesson. This makes more sense to me then any prescribed religion. Anyway, I’m rambling, but hope you don’t mind. I’ve really been kicking around too many of these thoughts in my head for some time now. I really need to somehow organize them. “)
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Oh, and I meant to say, I want it to be true too. “)
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Wow!!! I love this whole blog, so simple yet so very profound!!! “Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
Reblogged this on The Wandering Poet and commented:
So worth the read to the end, then you can share what you discovered through this passage, It’s different for everyone just as everyone has walked a different path 🙂
Thank you. It is remarkable. I wonder what happened to the author?
Interesting story. We are one; we are each other.
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