Every now and then we come across a piece of work – a painting, a song, a story – that questions everything we once believed, challenging us to rethink life as we know it. This is what author Andy Weir accomplishes with his short story The Egg.
The topics of life and existence are often debated among the deepest thinkers in our population, an ongoing narrative been those who are scientifically minded and the religious community. What does life mean? Why are we sent here? Is there a greater purpose? Why Weir may not have any proof or tangible evidence, his story ‘The Egg’ introduces a unique take on the meaning of life.
A survey conducted by AARP, focusing on those aged 50 and over, found that 73% of people agree with the statement ‘I believe in life after death’. It’s an interesting insight into the way that we frame our existence here. Rather than seeing life on Earth as an experience in and of itself, most Americans see it as only part of a bigger journey. A stepping stone towards the next stage. For some, this next stage involves heaven and hell. For others, however, it may be a longer narrative, with the introduction of reincarnation.
Regardless of what you believe, most of us, at one time or another, question whether we are here for a purpose. We search for a bigger picture, hoping that it will provide insight into why we experience what we do on a daily basis. Where do you stand? Allow this story to get you thinking…
The Egg by Andy Weir
YOU HAVE DIED.
You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked, “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“there was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup, But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
What’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
YOU LOOKED AT ME WITH FASCINATION.
To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right.”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
YOU FOLLOWED ALONG AS WE STRODE THROUGH THE VOID.
“Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you could possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking our finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.”
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. And into lots of different lives.” I said “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?“ You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly, you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I LOOKED YOU IN THE EYE.
“The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life, you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
YOU THOUGHT FOR A LONG TIME.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “It’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.
The feeling you feel right now like you are levitating over yourself that’s your mind being blown. Elevated. You’ve Ascended to a whole new level.
I wish you have a mirror right now to see your face.
And yes, it is inevitable to think about this when you meet someone else.
You will start questioning yourself “Can my mother, or my brother, my kid, my wife, my best friend, all be me?” You’ll think of this when you talk with them.
You’ll start questioning even more, “Can this sexy waitress, or Leonardo DiCaprio, or Ghandi, all those terrorists, politicians, soldiers who died in wars, my boss.. could all of them be really ME?”
But that’s ok.
Question. Question everything and everyone.
Start seeing The Universe through this prism. Start seeing The World and everyone in it with this eye.
Imagine if we all saw each other like this. As one.
So what if this is just a story, it’s the story we believe in that matters. And maybe it’s time to change the story and accept new one. A story which will make The World a better place.
It’s not which story is true. ALL OF THEM ARE.
It’s which story makes YOU a better person. A GOD.
P.S. When I think about it, YOU wrote this text for yourself.
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