A short story about the afterlife.
When people imagined paradise they could only go so far into detail. Your short story reveals that paradise sounds boring. Like watching too much Netflix, eating too much ice cream, riding on too many unicorns. Sooner or later you get bored of the ‘good life’.
I also find the idea of paradise dangerous. It makes us believe that this Earth is just the material world in which we’re trapped for a while on our way to paradise. A nuisance. It makes us blind to the beauty of this universe that thrives with life and enables us, for the blink of a moment, to exist and take it all in.
Fun thought experiment. A while back, I wrote a piece about opposites. Maybe I’ll dig that up. This reminded me because writing that helped me appreciate the struggles we have here on earth - as part of what we are meant to experience.
A fun look at heaven, and life as well. As a thought experiment compare what Maslow hierarchy of needs is as heaven. If you got to the top of the pyramid would you be in heaven? How can we better define and achieve the the third, fourth and fifth levels?
I'll give myself some credit, here. I could see that the story was not going in the originally intended direction. Elle was clearly trying to find a clear path, and never quite found it. No problem. In spite of my clear intentions, sometimes my writing takes me to places that I never knew existed in my mind. Other times, I get stuck in the mud. Either way, we find out more about ourselves. And we become better writers.
As for what heaven is, or is not, there's a great Twilight Zone episode that explores precisely what Elle is getting at. Here is a five minute synopsis.
Love this exploration! It has some fun parallels to a short Twilight Zone episode called "A Nice Place to Visit" where a man goes to the afterlife and gets everything he ever wanted: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77ueTRaYTwg
I’ve got to politely disagree with this version of heaven. I’ve been researching heaven for a book. I’m working on about dogs as greeters in heaven. I love your writing, but I also feel that there’s so much more to learn about what heaven could really be, and after reading about hundreds and hundreds of near death experiences, I think there’s much more to it and one doesn’t have to be bored. Finally, I also believe in reincarnation and have studied that extensively, so if I am bored in heaven, I know I can always return here.
Someone once said wise words:
"I don't want to go to heaven. It sounds awful and boring. I want to go to hell. That's where all the interesting and fun people are."
This story beautifully aligned with my quiet misgivings with that picture of heaven. Too much of a good thing always becomes not so great.
Maybe that's why reincarnation makes more sense to me.
Take a little rest then get into another life with a new purpose, goal and lesson.
Also the concept of ancestors in the afterlife still interacting with their living descendants makes more sense to me. It is a way for them to still be occupied, doing something useful and making use of all that hard-won wisdom.
This reminded me a little of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, where society is peaceful and everyone is happy (albeit because of a drug called soma). Disease and aging are things of the past, and whatever you want, you can just do. Interestingly, Huxley himself called it "a negative utopia."