The Blue Pill or Red Pill?

You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

~ Morpheus in The Matrix

pills

My friend, had he lived, would have turned 35 today. I was reminded of this fact when Facebook encouraged me to "Help him have a great day!". Throughout today, many of his friends are leaving messages on his Facebook wall, confident that he's enjoying the day in heaven and looking down upon us, watching his Raptors and protecting his little girl.

I'm sometimes envious of this view of the world. It must be wonderful to believe that he's in a better place. It must be comforting to know he's still reading his Facebook wall and aware of our lives here on earth. Its sounds blissful.

I don't believe any of that. When my friend died in April 2014, I believe he ceased to exist, lost all awareness of anything and everything, dissipating back into the cosmos. I'm left with memories of our friendship and inspiration to be a better person.

Death is as natural a part of life as birth, but with a biting finality that results in a longingness that cannot be satisfied. It's no wonder so many choose the blue pill. I often wish I had made that choice.


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Argie

@Mike
Its possible some of those who write things like "that he's enjoying the day in heaven and looking down upon us, watching his Raptors and protecting his little girl" are doing so out of goodwill and not of a literal belief. It could their way of expressing their love of your fiend.

BTW, I believe in god and heaven but does heaven have the internet - and how fast is it?

November 23, 2015 @ 3:43 PM

Duane Klaming

Mike,

My brain is wired as yours'. I don't believe it is a choice, at least with me. No amount of wishful thinking and forced ignorance could make me believe. The blue pill would have no effect.

November 23, 2015 @ 3:47 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Duane Klaming

You're right, it's not a choice. But I wish it was.

November 23, 2015 @ 4:14 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Argie

I think those who write "I know you're watching the ALDS up there and cheering on your Jays" believe it.

November 23, 2015 @ 4:15 PM

Norman

Condolences to you and all who were close with him !!

November 23, 2015 @ 10:43 PM

McNulty

I may be in a minority but I believe that saying, "He's up there in heaven watching his family" is almost cruel to his memory.
I understand it's a belief and somehow it's comforting but to me it would be dreadful. I can only imagine the pain as you watched your loved ones grow without you. Watched them deal with the grief and eventually move on. Or watch them die as well. That's not heaven to me.

When I die, and I will, I will cease to exist. My memories that I leave in my loved ones will be all that's left. And that's the way I want it. That's what makes life so valuable and precious today.

November 24, 2015 @ 9:27 AM

Ben V

@McNulty: I'm with you.

Being single and dating I had the pleasure of a meeting a rather attractive woman who seemed like a really good match. Until she asked me about my faith. I told her I was an atheist and could tell by the cross around her neck she was Christian. Despite my lack of caring for the church I wouldn't be opposed to being with someone that believe something that doesn't really bother me. However she didn't think the relationship could work long term because she wanted to know that her husband would go to the same place as her.... Our separation in death would be counted in years, but that our souls would live together forever in heaven. I of course think myself and my potential significant other will end up in the same place in the ground or cremated, ceasing to exist.

I think the most sacrilegious thing out there right now is the facebook posts asking for a like that will count as one prayer or typing amen. "Type amen to all those loved ones looking at you down from heaven" or click like to add a prayer to this person dying of cancer. It's enough to make you puke. I don't know what's worse the delusion that god might care about your lack of effort like, or the delusion that people think they are somehow more holy because of it.

November 24, 2015 @ 10:55 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Ben V

This is the worst thing I've seen on Facebook this week. "She's fighting with cancer. Can she get 9999 Like's? Type Amen" #pathetic

— Toronto Mike (@torontomike) November 22, 2015
November 24, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

James Edgar

I too passed on the blue pill. And find all those pray for this and that post quite nauseating . I do get it's meant as a goodwill gesture but it's pretty annoying anyway.

November 24, 2015 @ 11:19 AM

Ben V

@James Edgar: I see it as less than a goodwill gesture. I think it's more for selfish reason, so that people can feel intrinsically like they have done something good or that they are somehow more pious with the click of a button. It's almost along the lines of "Oh I'm so busy today posting selfies to go to church or do something better for mankind, but I did take time to like to help save that baby"

November 24, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

McNulty

Several years ago my sister-in-law (at the time) told me how much she pitied me because I didn’t believe in her faith and therefore wouldn’t live forever once Armageddon took place.

She was quite aghast when I said that I had no desire to live forever. Who would really want that? Perhaps living for a few hundred year would allow for great travel. But after 1000 years or 10 000 years or 1 000 000 years I think life would be a dreadful bore. Imagine those family reunions! I just don’t understand the desire for eternal life. I also don’t quite understand the logistics of living conditions.

But I digress…

Mike Kic seemed like a good guy and it’s a tragedy that he died so young.

November 24, 2015 @ 1:29 PM

Dr. No

Condolences in the passing of your friend.

However, I find your generalizing of something so complex and beyond the human mind (death, meaning or non-meaning of life, etc) to be reductionistic and frankly a little bit arrogant. "I wish I took that blue pill" is really, "Sometimes I wish I was ignorant like everyone else", when really, you have no answer more concrete than those you deem ignorant.

None of us know. You cannot say for certain that it is the finality of everything (all existence) just as religions cannot confirm that there is a bearded man in the sky.

Understanding that there is no answer as can be explained by the human mind is, in my opinion, the truest form of existence. Sometimes, I believe that things are random. And other times, I cannot help but see the meaning behind things.

Human existence is fluid, not black and white, so I find the extremes that people take on either side incomprehensible, when we really do not know.

Again, condolences on the passing of your friend. Sometimes, there is nothing that can help the grief except for time. And I think you can take some solace that, at the very least, there is meaning in the fact that all people understand and relate to that sense of loss. Maybe that's a good place to start.

November 24, 2015 @ 3:23 PM

Argie

@De No
Well stated.

@Ben
You must admit you're generalizing when you write "I think it's more for selfish reason, so that people can feel intrinsically like they have done something good or that they are somehow more pious with the click of a button. ..." No doubt some people think like that but not all or perhaps the majority.

I agree it can be annoying just as every other person on f/b who has the French flag in their avatar - "because its what everyone is doing". There were recent attacks in Beirut, Nigeria, Mali, Israel - where were the flags for those countries?

November 25, 2015 @ 10:11 AM

In hail

Many (most?) of the postings on facebook where you try to get ten millions likes or whatever are scams to sell names to advertisers.

Speaking of disease:
Pittsburgh sportscaster Rich Walsh and family sue agrochemical corporations for death of father, blaming pesticides exposure. Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF and others named in suit.

November 25, 2015 @ 10:32 AM

Ben V

@ Argie: Perhaps. But I see no other reason to click like or Amen. I can also bet that in 5 days most people don't even remember the pic they liked or felt like they were sending a prayer to. I truly believe that the people participating in the whole scam are actually buying into it and think they are somehow doing good by it.

November 25, 2015 @ 11:26 AM

Dr. No

@ Ben V,

Fundamentalism of any form is never good. Clicking Amens is relatively harmless compared to escalating hostilities over who's god is better. I understand the annoyance though. But I find Toronto Mike's reason for posting this interesting. It begins as a heartfelt admission that he misses his friend, which is noble and something we can all relate to.

Then it turns into a diatribe on how people who "know more" also have to suffer more because they bear the burden of facing reality. This is where it goes off the rails for me. Does TO Mike, or anyone, think that people who are religious are exempt from grief? From missing their loved ones? It comes across a bit condescending, and avoids the fact that atheists have the same number of answers for what happens in death as any religion; zero.

If anyone had an answer, there would be no discussion at all. So the fact that TO Mike engaged in this discussion just reaffirms that there is no concrete, understandable answer as translatable to the human mind.

Still love his podcasts though!

November 25, 2015 @ 12:15 PM

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