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May 10th, 2003

Quote.

"My way of joking is to tell the truth. It's the funniest joke in the world."

-- Sir Walter Besant.

the future is a comin': atheist paradise.

so, i've been thinking.

people get up and say what the future will be like: the cure of death, a society of gadgets, bright, shiny, shuttles, beaming, clones, the list is endless. it does appear, however, that when people talk about the future, they talk about it as if it's going to be an amusement part for us, a place of laid back joy, shooting pool, getting drunk, and waking up the next morning and cleaning your system out with one thought. (your brain being, by then, more wires than pulpy flesh.) this kind of future is the stable diet of science fiction novels, and it was while reading cory doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom that i realised how much spirituality it lacked, and how one could imagine it as an atheist's paradise.

(doctorow's book is flawed in many ways, i might add. it's not bad. i like to think of it as pop science fiction, having a lot in common with pop music: enjoyable on a listen through, a simple three act structure, catchy chorus, but breaks down the moment any thought is applied to it. it's light, digestible, undeniably positive, and an afternoons amusement. you'll not think about it afterwards.)

but, back to my thoughts: an atheist's paradise. i like that.

Science Fiction, the Atheist's Paradise.

the idea that you could cure death is, fundamentally, a strange thing when considered next to the concept of an everlasting spirit. what possible need is the cure for death if you believe that you will go on in some shape and form? (i'm a reincarnation believer myself, following, if anything, that idea that each life is the path to enlightenment, whatever that may be. it's just where i fall.) but if you believe that there is something after, the notion of staying here, staying 'alive' forever (certainly an unrealistic term) appears to be unnecessary. and if you do believe in spirituality, then what use does your spirituality have in the future? if you dump your personality into a backup, and it is booted back in once you die--leaving aside what i view as the logic flaw that a clone is not you, and thus you have died, and what exists is not you--how can you capture that essence from which you define yourself?

there is the theory that we, as people, are nothing more than our learned experiences, but i've never bought that. experience does alter us--i have no doubt of that, but experience alters each of us differently, and, speaking from a personal space, i've always felt that there was a centre to myself, where 'i' (ignoring all id thoughts and those relating to the ego aside) have sat from as far as i can remember. this awareness of myself is what i think of being essentially me, and if it's not created by experience, then how is it possible to 'save' this, to ensure that death could not claim me?

i don't know.

anyhow, more of these thoughts as they continue. i am particularly interested in the idea of a spiritually lacking science fiction genre, even though i know that such a concept is not the beginning or end of the genre.