This article was written for and published originally on the Subrosa blog
Complete change of tack here. Less serious but this might ask questions of you. Yes you. The person sitting reading this on your screen.
Back in the mid seventies I was about to leave high school and set of on my journey into the big wide world. One of the last things I was asked to do, along with the rest of the English class I was part of, was to write a short essay on religion for the Minister of a local church which was about to celebrate a major longevity anniversary. The best essay would win a prize of some description.
Pretty straight forward? Well for me no, not at all. Like most young adults of my age at the time I’d been brought up going to church, Sunday school, BBs, and youth clubs. I’d sort of had enough of that sort of thing by then even although the church I was involved with then was generously allowing me, and my heavy rock band, to practice in the hall as long as we played at the occasional Sunday service. But I digress.
I took my seat in the room with the rest of the A stream 6th year students in a pretty bored state of mind. A few sheets of blank lined paper were given to each of us and then it was time to be silent and we had an hour to write.
For some reason I decided that I wasn’t going to write about the sort of religion I’d been involved with. I decided I’d write about a wee theory I’d been considering for a few months. I don’t have the original text as it was handed in but I’ll try to re-create it here.
One of life’s perpetual questions is where do we come from and what happens to us when we die. No one has come up with an answer to that. People have had various stabs in the dark based on religious beliefs but no one has tangible evidence, which would provide an answer.
We are born, various things take place and after a number of years we die. Fairly simple to grasp and we look upon this as a journey from A to B all lined up, neat and tidy. It’s like looking at a map. You choose point A where you start and you go along the route which takes your to your destination point Z. There maybe detours, side trips, unintentional wrong turnings etc. but the route is logical and one step leads directly to the next. Understandable? Yes?
At this point I went down, shall we say, a different route. We expect that every second of time is consecutive. That is one is followed by two is followed by three and on and on for all of our lives. We can’t go back, we can’t re-live even a few seconds and we can’t add more seconds in a guaranteed manner. We also believe that once a second is past, it has been used and is gone forever.
What if every second we live is alive forever? That’s loopy? Isn’t it? Can you disprove it though? No. Do I have proof for this? No, but if time travel was possible and we travelled back ten years, we’d find everyone alive and doing things they did ten years ago. Long shot? Yes but the principle is worthy of consideration.
Next step then, is that if every second of everyone’s lives is there forever it would mean that we were immortal. We live forever within the seconds we use. If all our seconds are alive for all of time perhaps our immortality is not lived from A to Z but is lived as our consciousness jumps back and forward to any and all points of our lives in a random order. The timeline or lifeline we inhabit is there forever. The only rule is we can’t step out of it… yet.
Now thinking back to the Minister who was handed the essays. I imagine that he sat down at his desk and started to read through them. Then he comes to mine. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall. I’m sure it must have stopped him in his tracks. Maybe he was annoyed. Maybe he offered up a prayer for the heathen who blasphemed to such an extent. Maybe he laughed. Maybe you are doing one or more of these right now.
And I didn’t even mention quantum physics. But I just might give that a whirl. Soon. Whadda ya think?
What is a “dead” certainty is that we all know we have to make the most of every second we have. So why are you still sitting there. Get up! Go and do something amazing. Remember to write it up and post though even if it is a bit bizarre, or a lot.