Chapter 117 – God, No God

“This must be heaven,” I said. “This must be God.”

“There is no such thing,” he said. “Not in the way you know it.”

Such a blasphemous thing, I could not believe our thoughts were speaking such craziness.

“You mustn’t say such a thing,” I said.

“We are in this place,” he said. “Whatever it is, wherever it is. But it is not your God or any God from four thousand other religious beliefs. Nor is it anything I ever imagined. This place, this thing, is us.”

“I have always believed I would be in heaven at my death, or maybe Valhalla. I hoped not for purgatory or certainly not hell, though I may have deserved that fate.”

“I always thought there would be nothing. I simply would cease to exist. And though the thought of such a thing, while I lived, caused me angst, it really wouldn’t be that bad a thing because I would be dead and wouldn’t have any knowledge that I no longer existed. It is what I believed. But I hoped and made myself try to believe that a hundred years as a human being might earn me the Singularity, instead.”

“Where would you get such a belief? You think it can be both, eternal existence and the absence of it at the same time.”

“It just came to me. It was clear as a bell, as if someone spoke those words into my ear. And here we are. This must be it.”

“You mean like God speaking to you?”

That part of us that was still me was not convinced. I stood upon the top of the tallest mountain in my Iceland, looking down on the glaciers and volcanoes, the low clouds over the land and the sea in the distance. All the farmsteads, and villages, crofts with frolicking children playing or at chores, the dogs herding the sheep and farm animals, the short stiff stubs of grass sprouting from the soft boggy earth; I could see it all below me and in the next instant shot like an arrow to the sky to disappear into the blue and then into the blackness of a night sky, never to return to the earth of my Iceland in that life. How could this be, I thought, though I knew I had been in this place a thousand times before.

The revelation, opening inside my mind as deep as the cleft that had split my skull. I felt hands touching me, touching us, brushing gently against us, tapping upon us to gain our attention.

We felt the hairs of my beard, my hand stroking my whiskers in contemplation. We stroked his chin, in contemplation as well; he had no beard. We smelled the salty smoke of the hangikjot in the air and felt our stomach rumble at the thought of good food and ale. Emotion flooded upon us from every side, as if we were submerged in an ocean of sensations. Immersed, engorged, and penetrated through every part of our being as if we were drowning in joy and suffering, devotion and anxiety, tenderness and weeping, grief, dejection, anger and despair, pride and disdain, patience, affirmation and surprise, fear, guilt, disgust, and contempt. We felt helplessness, and modesty, determination, ill-temper which erupted into hatred but most profound, above all other feelings was love. Love for all things. All these things we felt in the same instant, like swallowing the ocean. How could that be? It was glorious. We wanted more, all of it.

We had never felt anything so complete. Like cracking through the shell of the egg to be born into a universe of mysterious and wonderous sights and sensations. It made us want to weep and laugh at the same moment. We were exhilarated and filled with joy, even at the terror of it. It didn’t make sense, yet it possessed us.

Another rent in the fabric of space ripped open, allowing light so brilliant to flood through like an enormous waterfall, an explosion of such brilliance no human eye could possibly withstand it. The most beauteous thing, the sight of it filled our essence with the deepest most profound love of all things. Love substantial, a physical object, alive, like a creature with silken skin and scent pervasive and hypnotic that drew us into it, absorbed us. It came as waves of rainbow color rolling in all directions, in all dimensions, above, below, and on all sides, the smell of it, a perfume so luxurious and heavenly that just the smell of it made us want to weep with joy. The taste of it smothered us, far beyond just our tongue, as if every pore of our being could taste the thing that contained all tastes that ever were, as if we could taste the colors of it; as if we could taste the sound of it, a gentle rhythmic symphony, raining upon us its continuous transcendental melody. Of course we could see it, sense it, colors never imagined, beyond the red, beyond the violet, colors that lived, pulsated in rhythm with this immeasurable space, colors that were pure energy.

“How can we experience such things as this?” we said.

“Me too,” we said, with my voice, our voice.

“Me too,” was said from a thousand million other voices that had flooded inside us. We saw their lives. Many were strange creatures unlike anything we had ever seen or heard of. Some made of liquid, some made of cloud, some made of light as if they were begat from a bolt of lightning. Some were just shapes, with identical smaller shapes that formed their limbs and upon those limbs were smaller limbs of identical shape, smaller and smaller limbs upon limbs, growing smaller and smaller into infinite smallness.

The light grew out of darkness, exposing things we had never seen before or even knew existed. We have been just humans. We have been them many times and we have been so many others, beyond counting, some magnificent, some despicable in their existence, some sentient, some not, some with so much more capacity than a human thing, many not.

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