Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I don't really know what to say. It's been a bad frickin' week. I lost someone very dear to me; she was far too young to go. The funeral was today, and there was a priest giving a service in the evening. I'm not religious, but if I was, I'm Jewish, so needless to say, I was a bit lost by all the standing and sitting and the call and response style prayer. He talked a lot about moving on from one part of life to another, and being at peace. I stopped believing in god when I was about 12. No one really swayed my opinion one way or the other, despite what various members of my family might think. I was just in a place in life where analysis, science and proof were very important to me. Religious, heaven and hell, god and what not, all seemed like a convenient excuse that people made up to explain what they could not. To give a reason to existence.

But, I, too, am human, and had tried to come up with a decent explanation to what happens to us after death. I think that being a ghost would be cool, but my analytical 12 year-old brain simply wouldn't allow such rubbish. I have since come up with a a couple theories, none of which involve divine reward or punishment.

The theory that I like to fall back on most is the most concise: think. What do you remember before you were born? (Take this moment to think about it...) Well, that there void in memory is what's going to happen after you die.

See what I mean? Simple, straight forward, logical. But I'm still left with the question: why? Why be here at all? My answer to this question came to be slowly, and has evolved over the years. It's not at all simple, and it's kind of rambling, so if you decide to read on, please bear with me, I'm going to state my case in the format of a mathematical proof (i.e. putting forth several statements, seemingly unrelated, and then tying them into one another).


A. Our bodies are made up of molecules. Each individual atom is part of something larger, that works with the rest of us to get our bodies up and moving and trying to make sense of the universe. Take the bacteria that live in our digestive tracts. They're just chilling in there, eating my digested food, helping me poo. They don't realize that they're part of the greater good of making my digestive tract run smoothly. Bear with me, I'm going somewhere with this.

B. All of the atoms and molecules that exist in the universe originally were created within the oven in the center of a star. The earlier the star existed in the history of the universe, the simpler the element (i.e. hydrogen, etc). Early star explodes, and those atoms go blasting hither and yon, only to coalesce into new stars further down the line. This new star takes these basic elements and fuses them into more complex elements, and when this new star explodes, those new, slightly more complex elements go blasting hither and yon, only to coalesce, yada yada yada. Fast forward to the beginning of our solar system, when the sun and the nine planets (yes, I know, I'm still not willing to give up Pluto, so sue me) were nothing but a dust disc slowly revolving in space. That dust came from that line of stars that made those ever more complex elements and then spewed them into space. Fast forward to November 6, 1980. My mommy gave birth to me. I am made of elements. Elements that had originally been created in stars billions of years ago. Hence, I am made of star dust.

C. There exists a Dannon yogurt that puts various bacteria into your system that helps boost your immune system, and that helps you poo regularly.

Postulate: Humans are the universe's way of learning about itself. (says Carl Sagan)

Argument: Since people are literally made of star dust, literally made by the universe, is it possible that we were put here intentionally? Created in star-labs so the universe could learn about itself? Are we just bacteria used by something greater to serve a purpose? A purpose so large, that we don't even realize that it's there?

I know it seems so far-fetched. I'm rereading that and thinking, good grief, what a pile of horse dookey. But what if the universe is like some curious child experimenting with its new existence? Toddlers put stuff in their mouths.

I'm just saying, if people can believe that some omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient being created us in his image for no good reason, why couldn't this even be entertained as a credible possibility? It would, at least, give us purpose.

But then, it is 3:30 in the morning, and I've had a very long week, and a lot of quiet time to think about this.

See you in the next supernova.