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why i don't believe in heaven


momentary exhaustion (n.) dull dissatisfaction, a bearable unhappiness that underpins the lives of the uninspired. The days drip with honey-thickness, and you plod through them slowly, caught in the sticky predictability. You are not unhappy so much as tired. You are a compass told which direction to point—toward school/college/career, the only life you've ever known. You've exhausted all your moments.

This sort of thing hit me halfway through junior year. I felt as if I was replaying the same level in an RPG, over and over again. Nothing was new anymore. When you've been surrounded by the same people, places and culture for so long, what is there to remind you of the future? If each day is the same as the previous, how can we feel the pull of time when March looks like her sister April, and April looks like her cousin May?

People will tell you to live in the present, but without the promise of a future, happiness will always feel momentary and cheap.

(Momentary exhaustion is when routine bares her vampiric smile and leeches you dry and bloodless.)


But then, by happy chance and good fortune, we were able to visit America, specifically Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco, New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia. Each bus stop felt like a staccato, jolting and much too short. It had been a long time since I had been so happy. I began to see a future for myself beyond school and home. They say a writer must find inspiration where they least expect it. Well, I was inspired, alright. I wanted to exist here and see who I could become in this starred-and-striped niche.

All it took was a change in scenery for the colour to return to my anaemic life. You see, the world is absolutely damn wonderful, and I had been seeing it through the wrong looking-glass for too long.

So, yes, I am a skeptic of heaven. Not any particular heaven, but utopia, nirvana—the whole lot. Any place that promises perfection. Because everything would be the same, and I would become too accustomed to it. 

Religious or not, I think we're lucky we live in a world that can still surprise us.

jo

16 comments:

  1. It's hard to wrap my mind around absolute perfection forever, too.

    I love the honesty in this post.

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    1. Yeah. It's a bit of paradox, isn't it?

      Thank you. :)

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  2. I always look forward to reading your posts. I understand feeling uninspired and they way you have talked about it makes it easy to understand. Have a wonderful rest of the month!

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    1. <3. I'm glad you understand. Thanks, and you too! :)

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  3. Thank you for this. Sometimes I forget that the things to look forward to most are things on this earth, things that deserve to be explored and wondered at. I love your photos too

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    1. I forgot, too, sometimes. I'm glad it was a reminder. And thanks. :)

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  4. oh I love that last line so much

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  5. Momentary exhaustion is the perfect, perfect term for that feeling. And your description sums up my recent state so well. You can string words together, girl.

    Mmm, I'm glad for happy surprises too. But seeing as they make life so much better, do you think perfection would include them? Heaven could be a place of unending surprises and 'aha' moments and pure relish for living.

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you can empathize.
      Hmm, I did think about that. That would be the ideal heaven. :) But I think there are things other than perfection that draw us to a place. For example, the smoke and burning neon lights might not be ideal, but they're certainly familiar. And it would feel quite strange if we were flawed beings living in an flawless paradise--seems like a paradox to me. What do you think?

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    2. I see, yes - what we're familiar with is where we're most comfortable even if it's not the most ideal (the powerful comfort zone again!).

      That's a valid point - we'd feel way out of place. But if this is the Biblical heaven we're talking about, God says He'll make all things new (Revelation 21:5). I take that to mean we'll be new too - restored to the state we were before the fall. It doesn't mean we'll be all-knowing miniature gods, but we'll fit in with a perfect world: restored beings in the world we were always made to live in. What's your take on the idea that humanity being restored and feeling at home in a flawless place?

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    3. Beside the fact that I have a hard time believing in God, I have a hard time believing in any sort of heaven. But I believe anyone (including myself) with any sort of opinion about heaven has to answer these essential questions: what kind of relationship would we have to happiness, if sadness was out of the equation? Is perfection absolute or relative to all the bad things in the world? In this way, my post is not to dispute any particular heaven but rather to challenge the notion that perfect places are the best places.

      As for my idea on particular heavens: I have none. Islam promises 72 virgins in the afterlife while in Greek mythology you are trialed by three Judges. None of these are more believable to me than the others, though some appear to be more believable in the right contexts.

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  6. It's great to read the line that People will tell you to live in the present, but without the promise of a future, happiness will always feel momentary and cheap.
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  7. I really like this post. I could relate to it a lot. as a religious person who believes in heaven, its sometimes weird to me. because sometimes I dont want it, as terrible as that sounds. I think what makes like beautiful is the mess. (of course, the days where it hurts the most, I crave a perfect place to be. its problematic. lol.) but I totally related to that feeling of the mundane and everything feeling so routine.

    its a lot to think about. thanks for sharing :)

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  8. I really like this post. I could relate to it a lot. as a religious person who believes in heaven, its sometimes weird to me. because sometimes I dont want it, as terrible as that sounds. I think what makes like beautiful is the mess.
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  9. I have a hard time believing in God, I have a hard time believing in any sort of heaven. But I believe anyone (including myself) with any sort of opinion about heaven has to answer these essential questions: what kind of relationship would we have to happiness

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