Archive | September, 2011

Heaven for Beginners

7 Sep

While Carey was pregnant, I began writing an essay about my ideas on Heaven.  If you know me, you won’t be surprised that it has little to do with clouds and harps and (as Schwyzen puts it) chucking Hosanna-propelled crowns at the resurrected Christ.  Heaven, for me, was easiest to think about using geometric concepts and maybe a quantum mechanic thrown in here and there.

It’s been just over three months since the boys left us and these ideas are more precious to me than ever.  People have asked me about where I think they are and whether they’re able to see me and hear me.  “I think they can,” I tell them.  “In fact, I think they can see and hear everything.”  My wife has asked me if I think they miss us as much as we miss them and I told her I didn’t think so because I think we’re with them.

Anyhow, thanks for reading.  I’m still deciding how to use this space.

Dissent/discussion welcome.

HEAVEN FOR BEGINNERS

1 (Line)

To understand One, grab a pencil and draw the number one itself, which is to say, draw a line. It can be as long or as short as you like. One has no depth or thickness, only length. It’s a single axis, a way to describe point A’s relationship to point B.

That’s really all there is to say about One.

2 (Plane)

Two is a plane, a flat surface. It’s circles and squares, length and width. It’s the Mona Lisa or a page of Brahms’ Cello Sonata in F.

But Two has no depth, so if you want a Two representation of your own life, they best you can do is a photograph. For example, take a look at that snapshot of you from Heather’s wedding. Beautiful reception and everyone remembers that gorgeous flower arrangement at the head table. But what kind of flowers were they? The photograph isn’t telling because your shoulder’s in the way. Turn the photo over if you want, look underneath it, or zoom in on the image as hard as you can, lose yourself in the grain of the pixel blur… you’ll still never know. The information, like the photo itself, is flat.

Color, shape, length, width.

That’s Two.

3 (Depth)

Three is length plus width plus depth; the x, y and z axes. If Two is a circle, Three is a sphere. 2D is area, 3D is volume.

We live in a Three world and it’s here we can crane our necks and see over your shoulder and, yes, chrysanthemums.

Perspective, thickness, dimension, atmosphere. Board a ship, sail around the planet, end where you began.

Three.

4 (Time)

Ask a friend to locate the Eiffel Tower on a world map. If they’re reasonably educated, they’ll find Europe, then France, then Paris. “There.”

Maybe they’ll give you precise coordinates, latitude and longitude, distance above sea level. It’s conceivable they’ll tell you how far it is from the Earth’s core or the nearest tip of the Crab Nebula.

Now ask them to locate The Olympics.

Four is when.

We may be living in a Three world, but we’re coasting through a Four reality, one moment at a time, so casually and consistently that we forget what a marvel it really is, like fish who only know Wet.

We exist on an earth that’s hurtling around our sun at a breakneck 18 miles per second, which is attached to a solar system traveling even faster. “Where” changes so fast and so often that the concept itself is borderline useless if we don’t couple it with “when”.

We die, then we make babies together, then we fall in love, then we’re born, then we’re married, then we meet. (Not necessarily in that order.)

Three is space. Four is time.

Onward.

5 (AllNow)

If you could step outside your own body and observe your activity for one day, it may or may not be all that remarkable, but imagine consolidating all your comings and goings into a single, 3 dimensional, long-exposure image. A you-shaped blur that begins in your bed, curls into the shower, the kitchen, your car, into your workplace, eventually snaking back into your home, and ending in bed. Depending on your routine, that single you-caterpillar would likely stretch for miles, if straightened out end-to-end, a perfect map of everything you did, everywhere you went that day.

Now think of the Earth itself, winding around the sun for centuries, millennia, as a single image. A solid blue ring around a little yellow star.

Now imagine all life, everywhere, all activity and every event as a single, literal object. The entirety of time and space, every birth and death, every asteroid collision and every cup of coffee drunk. The blurs of human history, overlapping and intersecting, piping through the cosmos, as the earth spins round the sun spins round the galaxy spins round the universe.

And not just everything that’s happened, but everything that will happen. All time, start to finish.

This is Five, what Morrison refers to as the AllNow.

For us, “today” is everything. In fact, it’s all we have. Your maximum point of influence in the universe is the instant you’re experiencing at this precise moment. But look: that moment’s gone and now you’re in a new one. And look! A new one.

Et cetera.

Not so in the AllNow, the time/space object where we all exist, but can’t perceive it properly because we’re forced to experience it one moment at a time.

Your life story will conclude; it’s a fact. As surely as it began, it’s going to end. If you could see your Three/Four life from a Five perspective, you’d understand and you wouldn’t be afraid, because there it is. No more surprises.

That’s Five.

6 (Possibility)

You’re in a coffee shop, you accidentally knock your spoon off the table. He notices, gets you a new one. You begin talking, get married and live out your days together in Walla Walla.

You’re in a coffee shop, you bump your spoon, but catch it just in time. He buys his coffee and leaves. You move to the Dominican Republic to volunteer at an orphanage.

One happened, the other didn’t. There’s only one you, only one destiny, only one fifth dimensional time/space object. Right?

Six: possibility.

Schrödinger proposed a simple scenario in which a cat is trapped in a box with a radioactive atom, a Geiger counter and a poison flask. The cat’s dead, unless it isn’t. We can’t know for sure until we open the box and observe it. It’s conceivable there are two realities operating simultaneously: one in which the cat is dead, the other in which it’s very annoyed.

What if time and reality are constantly forking and branching, accommodating every possibility, every permutation of every event that ever was? What if the time/space Five object we’re inside is simply one option, one strand of infinite realities?

Somehow, somewhere, you did get the job. You did wreck your car. You did quit smoking.

He does love you.

What if every story ever written, ever dreamed, however outrageous, really is happening?

AllOccurs in AllNow.

Six.

7 (Heaven)

“Why is there something rather than nothing?”

That’s Leibniz asking the question from the 17th century, and he wasn’t the first.

To recap: a time object supercontext, infinitely versioned to allow for every possibility of every event in the universe. 3D worlds inside 4D realities inside 5D timespaces inside 6D possibilities.

At last, Seven. The omega level, the authority, the governing dimension, the place of souls.

Seven is Heaven.

If you’ll allow that only the eternal can contain the infinite, that we’re, all of us, being prepared for something… there must be some method of building, containing and nurturing all that is.

It’s here the iterations of time and space are nakedly displayed, where we’re there to see it and understand it. As e. e. cummings describes:

everything which is natural, which is infinite which is yes.

It exists because it has to, because it’s the only Somewhere that makes sense. If Five is AllNow and Six is AllOccurs, Seven is, must be, AllIntimacy.

Your ambitions and purity and the completion of the You project is Here. Your dead ancestors and friends and even your descendants: they’re not just fond memories and they’re not simply with you “in your heart”. Even your loved ones and your enemies and everyone you’ve never met, who are still living now in the “present”.

They’re HereNow.

And you. The Real You, not the moment-to-moment crash test dummy you’re riding now, where the past is memory and the future is unknown. The Authentic You. The 7D You:

You’re HereNow.

AllIntimacyOccursNow.

“Why is there something rather than nothing?” (Yes.)

“God is Love.” (Yes.)

Heaven is here. We’re in it unknowingly.

Deep breaths, friend. You are loved infinitely. Take comfort: One is a line.

Heaven is Everything.

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