Chapter 17 – The Interlude

Eternity has no beginning or end. This is as far as human comprehension can fathom. Or perhaps there is no such thing as eternity except that we are trapped in a segment of time relative to the realty of the Universe. Alternatively, eternity could be like a broken ring and our lives are the joints that make it a complete ring. That’s how we ride upon eternity and that would be riding upon time.

It is widely believed that the Universe was born through a big bang supposedly to have occurred just over 13 billion years ago. Perhaps too it will all end sometime in the distant future through a big implosion. A million years is a very long time for us. It is sort of forever. Just tracking back 2,000 years and you’d see the apostles of Jesus getting on with their daily lives. Track back 10,000 years and you might come to the dawn of civilization. Hence, a billion years is eternity to us living here on planet Earth. A vast number of us would not be touching 80 and most will never see 100. Comparably, that’s but a vain-flash where life is as if being but a brief fireworks display. We are largely important yet unimportant at the same time.

We are also largely similar to our fellow beings. Two people chomping on a bar of chocolate can share a discussion on taste and come to the same conclusion. Preferences of course are a separate matter. We are also largely predictable since basic human nature is universal. So where is this all leading to? Some of us contend with the notion of an eternal afterlife which has two extremes and options. This is the principle of heaven and hell. Eternal bliss versus eternal damnation! Some others believe in reincarnation where are can expect to be reborn multiple times so as to go through a gradual soul curing, purification and maturing process.

 

We can’t help but to feel like a minor cogwheel in a multiplicity of cogs – some bigger and some smaller – working in tandem towards the churning of entirety we sometimes call the Grand Scheme. The end result of things would be dependent on how each cog turns to affect others. Do foul-ups occur or are those foul-ups designed to occur Much thought and talk have been devoted to the concept of predetermination in that all has been predestined. Some might argue that if that is the case then life would be a redundant manoeuvre of futility destined to be in vain. After all the journey and destination harbours no discovery but is merely the practical after theory. Perhaps too, it could actually be a fusion of freewill and predetermination as if main markers along your journey have been predestined while how you mitigate these markers would be new discoveries and revelations unknown even to our Creator.

By the way, how has life been after you passed childhood onto adult life? Surely you would have learned, realized and felt many things. Have you been hurt before? This might appear as a stupid question but it’s of sheer significance. The older you get, the more questions you tend to ask. Many too just simply choose to cast concerns aside and concentrate more on living the moment. To them, they will deal with the matter when it comes but in the interim other matters are more pressing – matters relating to their daily lives.

Religion has and continues to influence a great swathe of humanity. Looking back, we can begin to understand that religion came about as an organizational means of bonding people through commonality. What motivated the founding of religion seems clear that some semblance of control over the mass is required or else there would be sheer anarchy of sorts. Anarchy in itself can come via various facets or manifestations with extremities seen in violence and mayhem. It’s a state of lawlessness hence religion is recognisably law or simply the “dos and don’ts”. From the earliest of times Man has sought to exert control as seen from cavemen arming themselves with weapons such as the rudimentary clubs simply for control of his situation which includes defence. However, defence soon turns to offence since it is inherent human nature to extend control to as far as possible. This turns to conquest which requires offence.

Stairway to Heaven by Mary Sedici

It is easy to concur upon the concept of a creator whom we ultimately refer to as God. It’s also easy to concur on the concept of all-powerful as from a human standpoint we can’t ever possibly create a world such as ours. So religion adopted God into its fold since we are part of what there is – hence we have a connection to God. Today, there is a kaleidoscope of religions that can differ extremely as well as share uncanny resemblance as in the case of monotheistic Abrahamic faiths namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam; or the Indian ones namely Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism – where the concepts of Ahimsa or non-violence and reincarnation are fundamentals.

Nobody argues with God or rather nobody dares to argue with God. After all, he is omnipotent. Hence God is mostly central to religion. Some founders of religion claim they were instructed by God. To seal any doubts, faith was conceived for faith is remedial in its very concept to overcome any barriers that cast doubts and disbelieve as something bordering on a miracle. Faith is blind devotion since you are placing all hopes on something that has yet to materialize as in the case of “seeing is believing” or at least the convincing of any of our 5 senses which we take as real and rely on them almost entirely. This is with the acceptance that if you can touch something, then it exists. If you can smell, see, listen to or taste something then it exists too. So faith has been called upon to annul these senses as well as to neuter any doubts.

Sex is unequivocally potent. One of the most powerful forces of nature, it is evidential that the perpetuation of life is paramount to biological life on earth. There is an overpowering propensity to try to ensure with utmost certainty that life goes on. Yet, life is fragile and threat of demise is incessant. This in itself seems to underline the realization that God himself is either facing opposition or has created his own opposition. It may be how Greek mythology came with the scenes of Gods in battle. Apparently, it may not be too far-fetched in so far as human logic goes, to conclude that God is either experimenting or gambling with outcomes.

With predetermination, some of us get glimpses of the future through visions, intuition, premonitions and dreams. To many, all these are nonsense and perhaps psychosomatic too. To those who have inexplicably experienced it, theirs is another world. All of us experience déjà vu with many of us not even knowing what it is called. We just know “this has happened before, I remember it and it hit me for just an instance”. But how could that be when it’s happening for the first time or is your mind playing tricks on you with the way it deciphers?

Image: Arc Digital Media

Life has always been and continues to be a mystery thus baffling us – with the sheer remoteness of even having been born. It seems very pointedly decisive while at the same time it also seems opportunistic or in vain. It seems there’s meaning while it seems that you’d have to make that meaning yet it also feels like so many unseen forces are working against you. It seems like it’s experimental and begging for the fruition of outcome.

Our path is beset with all sorts of obstructions and inconveniences and that seems to be there to hamper us: in other words, making it harder than it already is. We feel we take two steps forward and get pulled one step backward. Worse still we may take 2 steps forward and get pulled 5 steps backwards which means you’re worse off than when you started off. Then we proclaim that sort of setback as a misadventure – yet not until you’ve done it could you ever have known the outcome.

So some of us are likely to opine that it’s all a matter of outcomes determined by “cause and effect” or action and reaction; and culminating in induction and results. Still some may view it as life being predetermined and that you have been made in such a way as to respond to what’s been predetermined. In simplistic terms, it’s like choosing which way to go at the crossroads. Naturally, each way will bring about different outcomes yet you decide which way instinctively and your instincts have been predetermined. Hence we constantly ask ourselves what life would have been like had we chosen another path. We start to dwell on what could have been, what should have been to derive to what shall never be.

In a more thought-provoking belief, why can’t life be purely experimental as if God is experimenting just to see what outcomes would materialise to become because he just doesn’t know and wishes to find out? In such a theory, God is therefore a gambler and seeker which require reality to materialise. This also means he is toying with the laws of probability and it has been as such since the sperm that made you won the race against an estimated 250 million others. This also means that there could have been any one of the 250 million or so versions of you.

Perhaps he did not know for a fact that you would survive the foetal stage – a stage that is fraught with so many dangers while you are entirely dependent on your host, whom again, whose life is fraught with so much danger as well. So in fact life could be a dizzyingly mind-confounding game of probability where one is tied to another where they function in unison yet independently. Some choose to call this the Grand Scheme or if you wish, the turning of the Big Wheel.

Some argue and logically so that if life is predetermined then we might as well lie back and do nothing. Predetermination if at all is the driver of life is expected to work unconsciously. It may be a case where you mistakenly think it’s your freewill but actually it is unconscious predetermination. So the lying back and doing nothing turns out to be freewill after all and not at all predetermination. The moment you move on, predetermination would be in motion.

Wheel of Karma by Rizwana A Mundewadi

Karma seems so unfair. Why shouldn’t it be? It seems like judgement has been passed and what’s resultant is you being born as you are. Why can’t we have been born beautiful, intelligent, talented, rich and famous like some folks have been? After all, this body is new and has not yet sinned. Or are they trying to tell us the body is dispensable and don’t quite matter? Instead the soul is all that matters. So when your body feels pain it’s supposed to affect the soul as well and it’s only expected that the soul feels pain too. So in essence, for the punishment, moulding, conditioning or whatever of the soul, the body is made to suffer. It might actually be that this is the only way and at the expense of the body of course. To keep the body going the innate fear of dying is implanted. So in short, you will serve out all your days.

In the material or physical world death is permanent. Logic tells us this since we are organic we will decompose into nothingness or as the saying goes, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”. We don’t want to die and if given a choice we would want to live a whole lot longer, if not forever. Fear of dying may actually be unfounded if at all the spirit realm exists. As it appears to be thus far, it’s the soul or spirit that matters and the physical body is merely its ride.

An alternative thought form could be that our soul is not being punished but is actually en route to an important mission. In short, it is in transit. Our world could be a transit point where souls are conditioned en route to their next varied destinations. It could also conform or commensurate with what and how they were before being chosen for their next mission. Hence a nasty person could be destined to a nasty destination and the benevolent to a kind one. Still how come both the nasty and benevolent are coexisting and found here? Then this place could be no better than a soul junkyard where assorting takes place.

Most of us believe our souls will never die and shall “live” on. They are ageless and timeless and have been around since forever. It’s highly probable that God could be on a grand mission and where at the outset asunder his mighty soul into smithereens where our souls are but smithereens of his great soul. We may actually be more closely linked and related than we can ever imagine. We may be part of the same, a minute fraction of the mighty soul’s entirety that someday will eventually coalesce again after the mission has been completed.

Creepy 4-Eyed Cat by Casey Weldon

Could animals be watching us and relaying their comprehension and perspectives from the opposite side? What roles are they playing in this mysterious world of such diverse life forms? Many species have become extinct over the epochs but life on earth still goes on as if nothing had happened. It has adapted to a new balance. In the same way, life will still go on in the event humans become extinct since nature is not reliant on humans yet humans can impose such devastation on nature.

Most of us are so engrossed with fellow beings that we easily overlook the significance of other creatures. Most look upon them as nuisances we can do without. Many simply don’t even want to think about it since their lives are not being dictated to by these other species. So when we watch documentaries on nature we are awed. We never thought much about it until we are being told or shown. Only then do we sit and ponder why for instance do insects have compound eyes. What sort of comprehension does the insect get from compound visions? Still many do and question upon purpose and vocations. Common pets like cats and dogs communicate with humans so much so we understand them to quite an extent and grow to love them as they us.

While we are traversing the passage of life, many are not bothered about the environment of co-existence yet we are passing this way only once. Can we say that these people lack depth or are we all supposed to be like that – with each specie doing its thing and nothing else matters as nature would self-balance itself?

It may well be that here is a field for multi-pronged learning of and for multiple species. It may be souls or what some would opt to call life-force, occupy all the species, all on a learning mission within their own capacities and designs. Worms, insects, fish, mammals and all are on an advanced experimental and knowledge procurement mission. How does it feel like to be devoured while one is still alive? What sort of pain and terror, fear and all that does one actually feel? We can’t possibly know as humans since we are not being preyed upon in such fashions.

Certain religions believe in the evolution of souls and that our souls have been in the bodies of other species in the past, for instance from insects to marine life to mammals and finally human. Furthermore, this is to mean in and through the bodies of all species and sub-species. After all, certain species live short lives of perhaps even a couple of days or weeks. As for humans, there is only one specie but differentiated by race. So this might be the final journey on earth before we move on to become higher life forms elsewhere and for other missions.

Author: J. Sam Barr

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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