Well, if quantum immortality is real, which it may or may not be (More likely it both is and is not real), then I guess we should continue to make like Ram Dass and be here now. We should revel in this temporary space, burdened by sense, and attempt to lighten the load of others around us that might be less prepared for their own endless, quantic journeys. I think I find the idea of quantum immortality being a possibility less bleak than the scenario presented in Robert Charles Wilson’s story. Maybe we will have to go through some bullshit, but ultimately the idea of such a thing would seem to me to lead to an endless, ego-less playground, not some alien torture chamber. It could lead there, maybe, but I have a little faith in my navigation skills.
The story reminds me of two things, one being a night in my dormitory when I was about nineteen. I was laying in bed, about to go to sleep, and my roommate was laying in his bed across the room. I had an idea, and as he complained that I had woken him up and that he had a test in a few hours, I presented it to him like this; “Imagine that you’re ninety something, and you’re on your death bed. You know that you’re going to die, and your family is around you, and you’re ready for it. You’ve finally accepted it, and you’re even looking forward to it a little, to the fact that you get to rest after all the work you’ve put in. So you die, and you say something meaningful and your children cry and there’s blackness for a second. Then all of a sudden, you wake up in a cold chemical bath, being prodded and stared at by these inexplicable alien beings that are clicking at you in human-esque noises, asking a litany of questions about what it was like to be human in the 2000’s.” This kept my roommate up all night. I’ve mentioned it a few times since then when we talk, and he always gets mad, saying it’s a thought that bothers him intensely.
The other thing is a dream I had recently in which I was torturing myself. It was me, looking out from my perspective at another version of myself who had built, a very elaborate chamber of horrors for myself. I would press myself into a bed of nails, I would feel the pain, I would beg for it to stop, and then I would die. I would bring myself back into the room, and then I would set myself up in another device, or I would be sent into a sort of simulator, forced to play out some horrible scenario involving the people in my life. I asked myself why I was doing this, and I said, “You are being prepared. You are going to have to feel everything, because you are all there is, and you are going to have to accept that.” For a moment I kept struggling, but then I realized that I knew quite well how to accept things, and so I did. The tortures continued for a little while, but I no longer felt any pain. I knew it would all pass, dream or not, and when the other me saw that I wasn’t reacting anymore, the room and the other me melted away. Once it did, I built nice little landscapes instead, images of nice people saying nice things, and then I woke up feeling pretty content.
I don’t know what is going on, and despite the constant input of new information, and my sharing of the information, I don’t hold any illusions that I’m closer to anything than anyone. I do sometimes find myself thinking, though, that I might have more faith than most of those who claim it often; Faith in the process, and in knowing that everything is going to be alright. And that makes me feel okay.