Flying back from California on a Bombardier 900 with a connecting flight in Pheonix, I sat next to an interesting woman. She was dressed in rough clothing (Carhart overalls), wearing round glasses and had a beat up computer she was trying to work on.
When I engaged her in conversation, I found that she was a botanist for the US Forestry service, married to a forest firefighter, had two small children, in recovery from being a Catholic and was in the part of life where people are harried with all the tasks of child raising, engaging work and the administration of life. That seems to be a collective experience with all married couples with children (as well as single parents). Rather bookish in looks, her conversation and thoughts were of more depth than most of the casual conversation I have in my daily work life. Although, if I am honest, because I am often alone, I can be gregarious at times when traveling.
<rabbit trail> When traveling alone, I find I exist in this bubble where only I exist. My thoughts everpresent seem to be even more in the forefront like a companion. In the type of work I do, I meet with people, engage in discussion and discovery, and for the most part, it is social. However, I do find that it is a perpetual process of spending time with people unknown. That being said, I often think that my mind becomes a constant traveler’s companion.</rabbit trail>
Back to my original thought.
During this discussion, I asked her a number of questions just to see if my perception of her stage of life was correct. She was a good sport, and it made the first leg of the journey pass quickly (in my perception). Thinking about the flight I was on, I proposed the following question to her.
What if instead of boarding an aircraft to fly across space through time, you instead entered a portal that disassembled you from matter to energy. Then used that energy to encode the construct that is you. The patterning of the atoms (atomic mappings) that make up your body built into an immensely massive JSON type file or another data construct. That energy package would be transmitted across the traveling distance at the speed of light to a receiver that would then reassemble you. (Think E=MC2). Perhaps the energy used to transmit your energy would be taken from fat cells not reassembled, cancerous cells or another area unwanted. So the traveling would cost would be negligible.
Then, after hundreds of trips through the portals, you found out that effectively, you died every time you were disassembled, and a perfect you reassembled from the energy into mass with the copy of your atomic mappings (minus the unwanted fat, cancer cells, etc.).
You are a copy of a copy’s copy.
You are not who you thought you were.
How do you feel about that?
She did not have any answers for this. I would have been surprised if she had. Although it would have made more interesting conversation. It did leave her with something to think about beyond just the standard daily fare.
Always planting seeds.
Ideas are like viruses. Once they are in the wild, they grow with a life of their own. Influence and change even in the most minimal form are in its way evolution as well.
If the memory of a memory passed across time is a form of reincarnation, it seems to me, it is a bleak one when it comes to the prospect of life after death. Across all cultures from time immemorial, humans have believed in and hoped for life after we cross that great divide, across the River Styx.
If I go based solely on hard data, what I can see, feel and measure, then this is it. There is no further no matter what we do, or how far we go. But then you would have to argue quantum physics, particles that are connected to other particles without crossing time and space. So much we don’t know compared to what we do.
My mind and my heart, the part of me that loves, wants there to be more. To survive and grow into something else with the people I love across the wonder of life. We all yearn for that. That’s where religion digs it rusted crusty malignant claws into us. Teaching us to hate and judge. I have rejected it as a relic of humanity’s childhood. An old dirty toy that has sharp rusty edges that threaten to cut and infect. An ugly thing that should be discarded and tossed away into the landfill of our past.
Forgotten and never to be retrieved.