“I crave thought experiments the way some people crave carbs.”
Since the Industrial Revolution shifted the world into high gear, the cult of speed has pushed us into an ever-accelerating breathless relationship with time. Most of us live on the edge of exhaustion few of us recognize. Our minds and bodies pay an unrecoverable price for the consequences of living in this accelerated culture of our own creation.
One experience disrupts all other attempts to cram more into each minute of the day – funerals. Funerals are one of the few permitted reprieves where we’re allowed to push the pause button and contemplate depth. In funerals we’re re-introduced to deeper intrinsic questions and perhaps contemplate realigning our values and priorities. The agenda that brought us into a memorial service may seem less compelling after an encounter with the question, “Is this life all there is to living?” Funerals extend our vision from the stewardship of minutes to the contemplation of eternity. What exists beyond the power of now?
In my reading of obscure authors, I came upon a parable, a thought experiment from a Hungarian writer Utmutato a Leleknek. The title of his poem is:
“Do You Believe in Mother?”
In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” “Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?” The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.” The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible, and eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. Because the umbilical cord is so short, life after delivery is logically impossible.”
The Second baby insists, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.” ”The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It delivers us nowhere.”
Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.” The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is she now?”
The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.” Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.” To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”
Utmutato a Lelekneck – Hungarian writer and poet.