About a month ago, I stumbled across this story. This is a story that, although I don’t believe at all, has completely changed my life.
Here it is:
“The Egg” by Andy Weir
You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The
EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure,
maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for
you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation,
she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything
I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind
can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny
part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out
here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like
there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself.
Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.
To understand how this changed my life, let me tell you a little about myself:
I’m a High School Senior, 17 years old. I am a devout Christian, and believe the Bible to be absolutely true. (Please, this thread is not to
debate the authority of Scripture … leave that out for now). I love to challenge myself with new, sometimes opposite, worldviews. This one I
immediately shrugged off. For a little bit.
Then it slowly started creeping in on me. I’d begin to empathize with people more. When I looked at my teammate in Cross Country who was wimping
out because it was too hard to keep running, I was no longer upset … I UNDERSTOOD. It was as if I could feel being inside him, as if I was him.
When I saw that girl at my school who doesn’t try to talk to anyone, and doesn’t respond to anyone who talks to her, I didn’t get frustrated, I
felt her pain. I understood what it meant to be alone, even though I have always been “popular”.
When driving to my job after school and I see the Vietnam Veteran on the side of the road begging for work, I don’t just feel sorry for him, I feel
like I AM him. I feel the anguish of being alone, I feel the anger at being abandoned after serving my country.
When I see the dumb blonde on T.V. making millions of dollars for being a shallow person, I don’t feel disgust, or annoyance, I feel the confusion
she has. I feel the way she doesn’t really know how to act differently. I feel the frustration she has at night when she can’t really be proud
of what she has accomplished in life.
When I read about the Native American tribes in History class, and about the different celebrations and life styles of the individual tribes, I no
longer think of them as “less civilized” people. I think of them as people doing their own thing. I see the values they have. I see why they
love to be one with nature. I feel the “oneness” they feel with the planet.
Do you see what I’m getting at? This short story has COMPLETELY changed my mindset. I now can’t stop throwing myself completely in every
person’s shoes. My compassion levels have gone through the roof! It’s just … awe-inspiring. To think how different every person’s life is.
How unique each individual truly is.
I challenge you all to start putting yourself in other person’s shoes. Imagine what it means to live not just a day, but a LIFETIME as a child
living on a farmhouse in Iowa, or as a business man in Tokyo working the same shift everyday, or as an illegal immigrant fearfully fleeing the
authorities, or as a rock star earning millions.
My message to you: open up your mind, and begin empathizing with everyone.
edit on 6-10-2010 by gatorboi117 because: format