Heaven is overrated

All religions have a wonderful aspect to the afterlife, the aspect of Heaven. A place of white and peace, where everything you ever wished for will be yours. Contentment galore. And most theists strive so hard to have a chance to enter the Pearly Gates.

But has anyone ever thought about whether Heaven is enough? What if there could be more?

When I think of heaven, I imagine a penthouse suite in the clouds with a gorgeous view of the ocean and sunset; perhaps it is always sunset. People wearing white, flowy robes and gowns and everyone has the glow of happiness. It’s also breezy there so that all our white gowns flow making movement seem ethereal. That’s my traditionalistic view of heaven, fuelled by movies and pop culture.

But having thought about things, if that is heaven, then it’s pretty damn boring.

What if Heaven is not just about an abode in the clouds. What if it is not about ‘settling down’. What if it’s the beginning of a journey, one through space and time!

I have recently learned with great wonder and great humility that we are less insignificant than the sub-atomic particle of a speck of dust when we identify our place in the universe (knowledge courtesy of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey).  In light of this knowledge along with my recent experience with 2001: A Space Odyssey (the book and the movie), I just started thinking of what I would want Heaven to be. Of what makes more sense to me to be a Heavenly experience than clouds and white and peace.

Imagine that death is merely a form of ascension, a transfer to a higher form of being, one not bound by time, and space, and a physical body; one that has no needs or wants; one that requires no food or water for sustenance; one that is free to explore the universe and its glory.

The ascended being can go near and watch a star go supernova without worry of repercussions, and just enjoy the marvellous beauty of the universe in motion, which is also an example of birth in death. They can shuttle through star systems and galaxies and behold their splendour. They can hitch a ride on an asteroid, just for fun. They can explore the far reaches of the universe that are just not humanly possible to visit. See wonders that we do not yet know exist.

That to me sounds like a truly fulfilling Heaven. What more can one ask for than to experience the beauty of the universe.

Short review of a book in progress: The Shining

After what seems like forever, I am now reading Stephen King’s The Shining. Found a dirt cheap Kindle copy and bought it immediately.

For the uninitiated, the gist of the story is that a 10-year-old boy named Danny has precognitive and telepathic abilities. His father, Jack Torrance, is unemployed, he gets fired from his last job as a teacher because of his temper, and is an ex-alcoholic. Their family almost falls apart because of Jack’s behaviour. Then he gets a job at this hotel up on a hill to maintain it through the winter when it is closed. But there’s something, a lot of somethings, and not nice ones, that are also there with the Torrance family. And Danny can sense them.

The book is engrossing and creepy. And I love it when author’s are not hesitant to play the devil’s advocate with their stories. Like Danny’s “visions” being interpreted as “autohypnotism” by the pediatrist. King just does a fantastic job of keeping the reader hooked with his breadcrumbs of mystery and little hints of terror.

I am hooked and I thinking this Sunday may well mark the completion of the book.

Another thing about King’s books is that you don’t realize how you creeped out you are by it until you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.