There might be No Life After Death. Sigh!
I have finally completed the Rama series by Arthur C Clarke. Like most people, I would suggest read the first and skip the rest.
Rest of the books are not worthy of being called Clarke’s science fiction. The co-author of the 3 sequels, Gentry Lee, seems to have turned an amazing science fiction storyline into a wannabe thriller. The climax of the final book, thankfully, makes a good attempt at explaining the famed number 42.
Well, for the sake of those who stumble upon this and plan to read the series, there won’t be any spoilers.
The end says there is nothingness after death. No reincarnation. Or heaven or hell. Or something fancier. Only nothingness.
And the thought has made me quite miserable.
I think the reason is that this is the first time in my not so short life when I have realized there exists a huge probability of no continuation of my life. Every thought, memory, experience, learning will be gone one day. I could document parts of it. With time, even the meaning of such efforts will change even if it manages to find curious readers.
So the worst case, a highly probable scenario is that there might be nothingness. Forever.
The thought is scary and depressing.
Particularly for those who grew up thinking that life and death are a part of a never-ending cycle. Or for those who think there is a destination to the journey of life. Death itself is a depressing inevitable reality. The thought of it being so absolute makes it multiple times worse.
My mind understands that this, I dare call it, epiphany, should be inspiring me to work harder in life, gather as many experiences as possible or maybe just have as much fun as I can.
However, it is only making me sad.
I am possibly arrogant to assume I am more than a minuscule collection of chemicals that rose to consciousness and important enough to be preserved in some way throughout the passage of time. Even after marvelling at Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot.
I am looking at the issues of our species and wondering if all of us are idiots for carrying on our lives with such little thought to why we are here. Or am I a bigger idiot for being so sad about it when I will clearly get back to my self-centered world tomorrow morning. The Rama series was not at all about the end of life. But this inconsequential part struck a nerve the existence of which I was yet to realize.
P.S. I read the entire series because I was not able to find continuous stretches of time and brainpower for some heavy reading. Or in simple words, I was shying away from some “real” reading. Ah, excuses!