“The day you die will feel like June 5th 1642”

by Ariel Williams

You die and you are gone. The body decomposes.

It is like a switch was turned off to a computer and it no longer has power. The hard drives spin down, the processor stops processing and the information in memory goes blank.

But do not fear for when you die you won’t even realize you are dead. You won’t be afraid or in the dark or alone or cold or hungry. You as a person won’t exist.

The day after you die will feel just like June 5th 1642 felt like for everyone alive today.

What, you don’t really remember what June 5th 1642 felt like?

That is exactly the point. The day after you die will feel just like that. It won’t feel like anything at all. You won’t be scared or sad or happy or alone on that day. You won’t remember anything about it at all.

Sometime around 2010 I took a picture that I like to call the perfect rose:

The only proof that this rose ever existed is this photograph.

It left me spellbound with awe. It was in the Rose Garden at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

See that tiny drop of water on one of the petals? I love that tiny drop. I love that flower.

Although It pains me to know that this amazing rose, the most amazing I ever saw with my own eyes, (at least to me) is gone, that doesn’t change the fact that it is gone.

No amount of wishing or wanting it to exist in some magical special place will make it so.

But it also doesn’t change the fact that it was still an amazing and beautiful rose. I danced around it giddy for more than 15 minutes just staring.

I so wanted to cut it and keep it forever but I didn’t.

I knew that this rose could not last forever. All I could do was try to capture it in my cheap >$70 camera and hope the image even remotely looked like the real thing.

It took 10 tries before this picture finally happened.

I didn’t know how good it was until I got home and looked at it on the computer. The slightly overcast day gave it a fair light from all directions and actually somehow let its natural color shine through.

When my mother dies she like that rose will be gone too. She won’t be sad or afraid or alone. But I will still have memories of her, and a few pictures too.

The Universe is 13.82 billion years old with 300 sextillion stars and we are not even here for an instant of that.

It is beyond all definition of hubris to me to assume that some kind of forever afterlife would be built for us when we first existed 100,000 years ago.

The concept is just impossible.

To me the thought of an eternal afterlife of pure bliss and happiness with no evil and no sorrow is actually even scarier than just ceasing to exist.

At least if there is nothing I won’t care. No more than I cared about June 5th 1642!

Even a heaven with a full range of emotions would become frightening after an eternity.


If life were perfectly happy and happy became routine then happiness would no longer exist. Eternity in heaven, unable to interact with our world in any way that can be observed or measured would become a frightening experience.

Let’s imagine Heaven is like a theme park for the mind. It is like an experience machine of the grandest scale and capabilities possible.

Once in Heaven you can do anything you can imagine and experience, anything you want but there is one rule — it must always be a happy experience.

There can be no sadness and no pain in this experience. You can travel through time or space and visit virtual worlds that you could imagine but there can only be happy experiences; there is no pain and no sadness in heaven.

Think about eternity for a moment.

It is a really long time.

Would you not have experienced every game and activity you ever wanted to do in just, let’s say a 1000 years?


Ariel Williams

Dreamer. Writer. Artist.

Check out her blog Nerdgasmic for cool stuff.

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