Russell Kirkpatrick's Journal
I’m dead, I know I’m dead, and against all odds it appears that some variant of the monotheistic cosmology was right after all. You know, God and all that. This doesn’t make me as happy as I thought it might.
We’re in this vast cave. What’s interesting about the cave is that there’s no vanishing point. No perspective. I can see everything. I have no idea why I am so intrigued by this – I’m dead, after all, newly dead, and that ought to be preoccupying me – but you can’t switch off the inquisitive mind, it seems.
In this vast cave is everyone ever. I mean billions and billions of people. Some in suits, some in robes, some in fur that could even be their own. I can see each and every one of them as though they were standing next to me. No ‘closer’, no ‘further away’. Don’t ask me to explain it. It seems that all the people who have ever lived have been divided into two groups: a very small one, a few hundred million or so, and a large one of tens of billions. I’m standing somewhere in between the two groups, though without a perspective it’s actually very hard to tell.
The cave speaks. We are, apparently, in the mouth of God.
‘You made the gate too narrow,’ says the cave. It’s an odd feeling, let me tell you, being in a vast, speaking mouth.
‘What gate?’ we ask. Now I wouldn’t have dared utter a word. There is a fierce dread on me, and I don’t want to be noticed. Shut up and watch, that’s the key. Draw no attention to yourself. I’m sure everyone else feels the same – you’d have to, if you are in any way human. Nevertheless, we are compelled to ask the question.
‘You lot,’ says the mouth, and we all know he means the smaller of the two groups. ‘You made entry into your religion too difficult. Virtually everyone here tried to get in at one point or another, but you kept them out. You came up with rules based on your culture and insisted they were universal. If someone didn’t look right or behave right or believe right you denied them entry. Six hundred million gatekeepers kept the rest of humanity in the dark.’
‘But’, we cry, ‘you yourself said that the way is narrow, and few there are that will ever find it.’ How dared we? Quoting scripture at God? We didn’t dare, we wanted the voice to go away, but we had to speak.
‘So I did,’ says the voice, ‘but I didn’t mean it as a command, or even an observation of the way things should be. It was a sad foretelling, a summary of the way things would likely turn out. Do you really think I wanted billions of lives to be ultimately meaningless?’
This isn’t the way things are supposed to work, I think to myself. It’s not what the preachers told me.
‘I wanted pilgrims, not gatekeepers,’ said the cave. The floor heaves, and the smaller group is spat out of the cave’s vast mouth. I have no idea where they went, but I heard their screams.
I would like to have stayed to see what happened to the rest of us – as long as I had a cast-iron guarantee the voice was not going to say anything to me – but I woke up. Yeah, I knew it was a dream all the time.
I’m off now to change the sheets.
You'd want to watch out, Jo, if I set up my own religion. It might involve mandatory sacrifices of impudent Australians.
Heh Peter, if that was a muse, I'd better lay out some bait and trap it.