Back in the Stocks: A Short Treatise on Thought and Eternity (Part II of II)

Continuing with the previous observations, when we die, we die and forget it all. And then the cells that made us up disassemble and become a part of the earth again. Just like their dancing little sub-particle components, they dance and shift around and trade partners like some hand-clapping, toothless country folk with stupid smiles on their faces, as they switch partners in some rural dance hall with flickering neon lights seen from a poorly-paved, two-lane highway...

"Just because I was pro-segregation doesn't mean
I didn't help explain the universe in this article, goddamnit!"
This has eternal implications; the universe is matter in motion; it makes no sense to say that it ever stops or starts; it can do neither because if it had an end, then it had a beginning, and vice versa. So in order to justify the existence of anything, matter (in some form) must always be. No need to go one unnecessary step further due to ignorance and claim a deity was responsible. We can stop at matter and everything makes enough sense to answer the grand question.

But if every atom and subatomic particle on down is just energy in motion, then every single particle will assume an arrangement in relation to all other particles in existence. This means that every possible thing, every possible formation that can evolve will evolve—and this will happen cyclically an infinite number of times.

So that patch of freckles on the right side of my face that seems to have darkened with age, those “crow’s feet,” each strand of graying hair—it has all happened an infinite number of times before and will happen forever because, given eternity, all that can happen will happen. Every injustice committed, every wrong – righted or not – is chiseled into the stone of time. Every moment, good or bad, regardless of the outcome, could not have been any other way. Any onlookers, if they could stop at any given moment, could look at each moment in time like a family photo album, or put them together and play out the progression of life like a movie...

"Ah, look, here's the scary part where this
poor little girl gets raped,
murdered, and wrapped in garbage bags
 by that evil man!
Think of the implications of this; in order for you and I and earth to have evolved, an unthinkably huge number of things had to happen to arrive at the scenario of what made “us” possible. Your very choice of dinner was as much a toss-up as the genetics that resulted in you coming to be. Nothing is simple. Nothing ever is simple.

Go back even further; how many universes came and went with arrangements similar and dissimilar to the universe we live in? Some universes had no life in them. A quadrillion others had only scum-like, simple-celled creatures on a few thousand strung-out planets or moons of burnt-out suns. Nothing really to see, and then everything went black in the same cosmic, utter waste that went before it.

Do you have any idea how much time has passed between the folding and collapsing of even one universe where eyes evolved to cry while looking upon it and saying: “Why, oh, why am I here?!” This is time on a scale that defies comprehension.

It hurts to think about, and it should. It hurts, like an ice pick to the ribs, because the more we think about it, the more numb we get to it (and like any serious injury, when it’s numb and we keep on, we know a trip to the ER is likely). When we realize that the number of universes where what could be called the same earth comes around again, we faint for want of purpose. This destroys any meaning we ever even thought we had. We only live once, right? Well, yes and no, but not really. We are beings who can contemplate our place in the scheme of things. That’s a good thing, right? Well…hate to burst your bubble…!

And then this universe will pass – finally, way after all the wars have been fought and all of the signs used in protests over countless issues have been laid down; after change and change and change; after planetary migrations and disasters, and even more cellular changes numbering so high that the best mathematics professor would pass out from trying to read the zeros – after that comes an endless, endless expanse forward. And from there, it happens again. From there, another pointless party starts. We don’t need to know the particulars. We don’t need to know the details. We only need to know we are here now. That’s enough to know that the future can only be bleak on that broadest of broad scales.

It honestly makes me nauseated when I think about this for too long, but not many people think about it at all. They are always living in the now. Lucky bastards! The religious are thinking about everything one day being fine when they are spending eternity in the bosom of God, playing harps. No need to think beyond that point! God is in charge! Everything will be alright! Don’t think! Worship...

"Okay, look, we were never the type to debate controversial
stuff like the problem of evil or we never would have made it here!
It was like, one day, with all this time and harps on our hands, we were
just like 'HIT IT, MARY CATHERINE!'"
God is not in charge. God is...not. The idea itself makes no more sense than Santa Claus. It is nothing more than a comforting delusion because its only purpose is to reassure small minds of their perceived meaning. The truth is, the moment I blink out in death, all those crazy eons of time I just got through illustriously describing—well, they’ll go by in a flash and I’ll wake up as “me” again, and so will you. And nothing has ever been any different.

Only, we’ll have forgotten everything and will have to relearn and redo everything we did before—with and without variation from the life in this expanse. So, in a way, you could call it a “resurrection” of sorts. Not exactly the comforting idea that Christians have in mind, though, is it? And every other possibility must be cycled through before we’re right back to where we are now. And here you are again; you’ve read this article an infinite number of times and will do so forevermore (so you might as well go ahead and finish).

I am self-aware and partially aware of my part in what I perceive as a vastly greater cosmic whole, but I can never know what I want to know about this whole. And here I find that all I know will be forgotten and every experience I ever had or can have will not even amount to a unique story to tell. In the by-and-by, it won’t matter and no one will remember the tales told. I don’t think Solomon had any idea just how right he was when he said there is nothing new under the sun.

The Taskmaster, that greater cosmic whole, that cruel and heartless anomaly, he doesn’t give a damn about what you think. He doesn’t care what you’ve been through. Your days will be much better if you serve him willingly, but even better if you don’t know he is there. You can think, plot, devise, and conceive. You can even run and try to change – with all of your might, purpose, and strength – things not to your liking. But you are a slave, a tiny, dirty, unclothed, stinking slave. You will do as you are told. You can rebel and fight back, but you have nowhere to go, and eventually, that cruel Taskmasker will catch up to you. After your beating, you will be put back in the stocks for all to see and pity. There, you will be thinking again.



When not peeing in Christ's cornflakes, Joe E. Holman can be found reviewing movies or at his website,