Maybe we don’t actually leave. We just come back. Or go back. It’s the same either way.
Ashes to ashes. Back from whence we came. But of course, we don’t know where that is/was/will be.
It’s been floating around me a lot lately. What happens after and what happened before. The two inextricably linked. Is there something immaterial in me that gives my me-ness meaning? If so, where did it come from and where does it go to.
Concretely, in the solid, I am a bag of flesh. Vibrating waves of energy pulsing into matter. From parental gametes merging I grow and multiply like a cancerous, uncontrolled parasite, until something resembling me emerges into the world. Multiplying bits and pieces with a genetic blue print to impose bits of my elders into the lump of matter that eventually was me.
And here I am, so much environment later. My flesh has learnt and been built into a me that exists now. Learning and the world. Learning from the world. Brain adapted to this strange, strange civilisation we are part of it.
All the other meatbags, dancing around each other. Trying to learn the moves and work out how to be. We are here in the world. We are here with each other.
And we sit and want a why. Something underneath to explain it all.
Listen to Vonnegut’s Bokonon:
Tiger’s got to hunt,
Bird’s got to fly,
Man’s got to sit and wonder why, why, why.
Tiger’s got to sleep,
Bird’s got to land,
Man’s got to tell himself he understand.
But we don’t.
The unknowable outside of that barely understood and based on trust in science world view is meaningless absence. But most of us hunt for something in it.
I can ask people a question I think absurd and pointless. People often seem to have an answer. I make myself feel wrapped up in bleakness with my insistence of the black silence of the unknown (and the likelihood of simply stopping).
Before I was born, I remember nothing. In fact I don’t remember anything from much of my childhood. When I die, I suspect I return to that empty unknowingness.
At best, something that could be called a spirit, returns to wherever it came from, but that place is immaterial and incomprehensible. Not perceivable or comprehensible by my solid grounded reality.
Or, I just don’t know.
The unknowable is an important to me. It’s actually one of the few solid things I can see out in the world. There are things it is impossible to know anything about. We can make careful assumptions about the percievable (and question them incessantly), but anything beyond that is guesswork.
I don’t trust guesses. Anyone who tells me something solid about the unknowable…I listen carefully, but I can only hear it as stories. (It’s all stories, incidentally, but that’s another one). No matter how faithful, a guess is a guess.
I don’t know how we leave. We don’t return.
But we may.