After a 7 year battle with cancer, you died. You left behind 1 kid.
“What…where am I?” You asked.
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies.”
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me, and a low hum of what sounded like spinning fans. “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.”
“Will…will things be alright?”
“That’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 pleb educator than the Almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “Everything will be fine. Your child will remember you as perfect in every way as there wasn’t enough time to grow contempt for you. And when your child is old enough to inherit the bitcoin you left, life will be comfortable.”
“Oh, good,” 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. Lightning was flashing in the far distance. “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. Your entire history from Genesis is embedded deep within your soul. It’s all accounted for.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your 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 33 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 in 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 Byzantine General in 1256 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. We have our own way of keeping time…not minutes, not blocks, but something else.”
“Where do 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 Michael Saylor?”
“And you’re the little plebs stacking sats, too,” I added.
“I’m Jerome Powell?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions of people he stole from.”
“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, incredulously. “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, in 21 seconds, it’ll be time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I left you to begin again.
This story was heavily inspired by the short story “The Egg,” by Andy Weir. Only a few minor changes were made in this version. The original can be found here: http://www.galactanet.com/oneoff/theegg_mod.html
Fun fact: “The Egg” was published only a few months after Bitcoin went online in 2009!