Even the happiest, most purposeful people get a little nihilistic sometimes.
That was me last night. John and I had gone to bed, kissed one another good night, and diverged into our respective inner worlds.
My inner world is usually one of excitement (“What are we doing tomorrow? OH MY GOD, vacation is next week! Yay, I get to try my new tea tomorrow”, etc.), but last night it was especially grim. I like to think I’m a scientifically minded person: I search for facts and evidence, and I’m surprisingly able to change my thoughts and opinions based upon new evidence. I’ve struggled with religion for a while now, trying to reconcile my desire for God with my bleeding-heart liberal political views. But I have encountered thoughts of annihilation before, and I’ve even had that one awful thought: “What’s the point?”
I still don’t know. That is, in fact, what I was wrestling with last night. And the more I thought about it, the more I recalled that the very reason human beings came up with religion was because they didn’t know how to answer this very question. Christians believe in a God who loved the world so much that He sent down His own Son (who was also him? But also distinctly not him? The apple analogy only partially explains it…) to atone for everything we ever did wrong, rather than just smiting us outright. Great. And then if we accept Jesus, we’re rewarded with Heaven.
But what in the hell goes on in heaven? (see what I did there? Hehehe)
I know a little bit about what the Bible says — lots of singing, rejoicing, worship and oneness with God forever.
I mean, I like to sing and dance and everything. But won’t that get a little old after a couple billion years?
Buddhists, from what I’ve read, don’t necessarily believe in God, but that humans beings are able to reach a state of complete peace and joy, called Nirvana, if they closely follow the teachings of Buddha. This doesn’t sound too bad, except what happens at Nirvana? Are you cognizant of the moment you reach it? Or are you just kind of a blob of ectoplasm that lights up joyously when you finally get there? And who tells you? Buddha isn’t waiting in Heaven to be like, “Hey, congrats! You made it! We even have Nirvana, complete with Kurt Cobain, here to celebrate with you.”
I realize that there is no answer to any of these questions I am asking. As a scientist, I have a butt-ton of questions. As a human being, I want them all answered. As a logical person, I know that’s not possible. Grr.
I guess my question is this:
when the universe ends, when every sun has burned out or exploded, and all life ceases to exist, and it will be billions of years before all of this emptiness is ever touched again by the light of a star…
Will any of it matter?
I desperately want the answer to be yes. But how can I know? How can any of us know?