Feature photo by Gonzo Carles
My view on the afterlife, or lack thereof, is not a popular one. Even those with buffet style pick-and-choose-what’s-right-for-you belief systems believe there exists some form of consciousness post death. I understand that it can prove to be a comfort to think of not only yourself, but that those you’ve loved can live on, truly. And true, I do wish the best for those I have loved in the past, even those I have hated. However, I don’t find pleasure in the notion that I may live again, in some hypothetical realm. I try to live my life for the moment and not hold back. If ever there was a concept I deemed appropriate it’s the lack of a Jewish afterlife. In this notion, they try to make the time that they’ve got on this conscious Earth mean something, for they may not revel in existence after the present one. What ruins it is that once they find their messiah, their heaven shall open up, and if I am correct in thinking, it may only be reserved for those believers. With that being said, living my life at the present time is all I can do because for me, this is it. I’ll try to stretch my legs as far as they shall let me and become the most singular and specific person I can be. There is no one or thing in this world (or beyond) like me, and that is my heaven. Belinda Carlisle may have gotten in right: heaven is a place on earth. Not the 80s, though…
I’m sure you’re wondering, “What exactly does this pretentious heretic find fitting for his fat sack of bones once he heaves that last rancid breath of life?” Well, to answer your query, my mortal soul will end up as fertilizer, or if I’m lucky, fish food. It will not travel to some sort of upwardly abyss in which I am met with former family members, lovers, friends or people of former note. If I am to be buried, it will remain in the ground until the fine poetry of decomposition takes its toll. I will eventually succumb to the putrefaction and ultimately give myself unto the planet. My bones may be resurfaced one day, millions of years in the future, the efforts of some sort of archaeological dig at some future university. I will never be met with a bearded senior citizen or his Galilean bouncer.
Often when I am confronted with someone who isn’t traditionally religious, they cannot believe I don’t believe in anything. “Well, you must believe in something,” their arguments repeatedly cry. Why must I believe in anything, much less something that isn’t tangible? Even viruses, some of the smallest things known, have photographic proof of their existence. In my eyes, if not even at the molecular level can you be observed, there isn’t anything there; therefore it shouldn’t exist as a governing body from which I must obey. What of emotions? Love or hate? While you can’t touch them, their body of work exists in the actions of those vessels which house them. War can be construed as the proof of the existence of hate, and monogamy as the existence of love. Even laughter is proof of humor. What proof exists of gods or powers? The beauty of the planet? That again is at the molecular level, and the further down you go through that microscope the further you see that not magic but math is involved. Science is involved. If I had a gun to my head, and that crazed gunperson forced me to identify my beliefs and label them as such, I would say that science is my religion; I don’t understand it most of the time, yet I know it has the solution. And isn’t that at the root of any type of faith?