One of the stories out there, that make you hit an existential crisis.
Original Author: Andy Weir
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 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 alright?”
“That 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. Some vague authority figure. 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 the religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strolled in 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 or yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.”
“You’ve been a human for the last 34 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for longer, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh, lots. Lots and lots. And into lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 A.D.”
“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 do you come from?” You pondered.
“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 you honestly won’t understand.”
“Oh.” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If i get reincarnated to other places in time, could I have interacted with myself at some point?”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own timespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? Your asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question.” you persisted.
I looked in your 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 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.”
“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 of sorts.” I answered. “Now its time for you to move on to your next life.”
And with that, I sent you on your way.
I really like this story because it correlates with what mediums (someone who can talk to the dead) have to say about the afterlife. Here is the post I made a while ago on what mediums have to say about the afterlife (PART 1) (PART 2)
The afterlife and what happens when we die has been a special interest of mine for as long as I can remember. For anyone interested I have a post on everything on the afterlife. It’s a compilation of all the knowledge we have, from scientific, historical or a case study perspective. (EVERYTHING ON THE AFTERLIFE POST)
This is my favorite story ever. This is what I believe
A lot of people seem to really love this story.
OMIGOSH!! IT’S HERE AGAIN!!
Asked by Anonymous
My first thought when I saw that scene was that he was practicing dancing to it just to make sure it was…well, a “danceable” composition, if that makes sense. Checking the tempo, feel, rhythm, etc. This is his gift to John and Mary and, just like his speech, he’s terrified of screwing it up.
As to your other questions…ugh. UGH. That whole “I taught him conversation” at the end of TSoT conversation just wrecks me. I mean, this has just happened:
Sherlock’s true feelings are briefly written all over his face, and John absolutely cannot deal. He looks down, has a second of wait, what? glances back up to confirm he’s seeing what he thinks he’s seeing, and yeah. He can’t look. He can’t face those feelings.
Sherlock sees that, and he gives John an out. He tells them to go dance. Mary (very considerately) asks “what about you?”, they joke about there being “limits,” and then the tutoring conversation happens.
Here’s how I read it (lining up the dialogue with the gifs):
SHERLOCK: “Don’t worry Mary, I have been tutoring him.”
JOHN: “He did you know…”
JOHN: “Baker Street behind closed curtains.”
I put a delay on the last frame. It lines up with John’s “closed curtains” comment. See how Sherlock’s kind of trying to laugh along until John makes that joke? He glances at John with a confused, almost hurt expression here.
John, meanwhile, has gone into full-on bro mode. It’s his way of utterly denying what he’s just read on Sherlock’s face. His shield is fucking UP. I love John Watson dearly, but I have a hard time watching him here, because he’s truly being a dickhead.
JOHN: “Mrs. Hudson came in one time.”
JOHN: “Don’t know how those rumors got started.”
A careless glance at Sherlock, a dismissive joke about their dance lessons and years of rumors about their relationship, a flippant laugh (seriously, listen to the way he laughs there, it’s SO not his normal laugh)
brush it off, never meant a thing, face the wife, face AWAY from Sherlock, don’t look back don’t look back don’t look back
He gets super affectionate with Mary. And yes, I know, it’s their wedding, they’re dancing, they’ve just learned she’s pregnant. But we’ve seen John act affectionate with Mary and this is different. John might as well have NO HOMO stamped on his forehead here.
He. Can’t. Deal.
And Sherlock knows it.
Did he imagine, after their lessons, maybe getting the chance to dance with John at the reception?
Possibly. Probably. He did just tell Janine (and us viewers) that he loves to dance and has been “living in hope for the right case.” Well, he’d solved quite a case this evening.
And after all, John had danced with him before during their lessons. Maybe Sherlock thought John was comfortable with it – comfortable enough with his own sexuality, whatever he considers that to be – to dance with his friend at his wedding reception, his best friend, his best man. It doesn’t mean anything unless it means something.
But no, that was “behind closed doors.” Can’t let anyone see that, nope. That’s how those rumors got started. Those silly, meaningless rumors that meant absolutely nothing, just everyone in the world reading too much into this totally platonic friendship, right mate?
Maybe they could’ve danced in front of everyone, because it wouldn’t mean anything. Except John read the real meaning on Sherlock’s face, and nope, not gonna happen now, can’t face that, can’t deal, shields up.
Because it would have meant something to Sherlock. Just like it did “behind closed doors.” It means everything. And he doesn’t care who knows, not anymore.
But John cares. Right, Sherlock? John cares who knows. He cares what people think. It really bothers you. What? What people say.
It still bothers John. He can’t deal with Sherlock’s feelings, and he can’t deal with his own. John’s shield is up and who knows if he’ll ever lower it again. And Sherlock accepts that, and he respects it, and he does the only thing he can do now.
Well. I didn’t mean for this meta to happen. Time to go cry into my soup.
And now I’m crying.