I had always considered myself well educated. Well educated but not exactly that smart. When I graduated college with an electrical engineering degree, I followed it up with my master’s work in neurology. I can’t specifically say why I chose to pursue these subjects other than I had always loved science. Since I was little the extreme ideas which I read about that were really on the edge of science had always captivated me and ever since then I had fallen in love with the subject. But, just because I knew science didn’t mean I was smart, after all. Just good at memorizing things. In fact, if I was really honest about it I guess I’d say that I’m actually kind of stupid. I compare myself with the greats of my time and there is just no way I measure up. Sometimes though, I think my humility drives me to get smarter, because the more I thought that I was dumb, the more work I’d do to compensate for that and in the end, I’d know more, and I’d be smarter. Strange thing is, I don’t think anybody is smart enough to know the profound truths about our universe with any confidence. People claim that they do, but I don’t quite understand how they can be so sure. Sometimes I wish I felt so secure about myself like they did. I find myself questioning so many things about life that I begin to ponder whether I’m like a modern day Holden Caulfield. And actually awhile ago I did come to some such conclusions. But that was before I died for the first time.
The bliss of a passionate youthful love is something so extraordinary and seemingly perfect. That person who you share it with becomes a facet of yourself. You grow up thinking about love and dreaming about what it’s like, and when it happens, it’s so much of a surprise that you find someone so much like yourself that it must be a sealed and final deal of a pact between soul-mates. Unbreakable, we called each other. Then your parents and your friends get jealous. They say, “You don’t really know what true love is,” and, “it’s just puppy love you’ll grow out of it.” I tell you what; if I know one thing for certain, it’s that they are so completely dead wrong about this. It is true love. When you’ve cried, sweat, ached, pleasured, hated, screamed, and existed so close to another person… that’s what drives you crazy about them. You begin to realize that even though you’ve known this person for so little a time compared with how long you’ve actually lived life altogether, you’d die for them, and that is mad just in and of itself. It was because of this that my fiancé and I had been together for several years, and only after we graduated college and could afford to live a life together did we get engaged. But that all changed one terrible day the spring before the wedding. I was diagnosed with an extremely invasive cancer of the bones, the apex of which was centered in my chest and ribcage. My heart would only survive this torture for a few more months at most.
I knew the stages of death then. You learn about them in psychology and it’s supposed to liberate you with the power of knowledge, but it doesn’t. I denied it. I got pissed about it. I became depressed. I even bargained with God, but I never accepted it. I became a recluse, and understandably so considering my outlook, which at that point was a total and complete stranglehold on my freewill. God became a thing of the past though… I collapsed in on myself and avoided everyone. I would sit and read and read science hoping it would bring me salvation, but I soon realized that science can’t do that for you. Science isn’t like some sort of competing religion. It’s not like the theism of atheists, after all that makes no sense. Science is just the same thoughts that let anyone know how to do something. The same thoughts that let a brain surgeon perform a successful operation are the same thoughts that let you know that if you let go of a rock that it will fall to the ground. You didn’t need to study science to know that did you? There really is no such thing as science, just a set of observations about the character of nature. Nevertheless, I read and read, and eventually my salvation did come. It came in the form of Eric Drexler’s nanotechnology. Not that it would be adequate enough to heal my cancer right then, but that it would fix me up in the future, when technology had progressed far enough. The fact of the matter was that I was not going to live long enough to see the introduction of successful nanotechnology treatments. I needed to bypass time somehow. Then I thought; what if I just freeze myself? Indeed I read up on the issue and cryogenic freezing of people had been going on for awhile now. But I didn’t want to have to die first. Unfortunately the law said that I’d have to. But I know what happened to peoples brains when they died. The neurons slowly would die too, erasing any memories, and erasing the essence of that person in whole. After all, the person resides in the brain, not somewhere else. I did not want to die. I was afraid and the law was going to make me disappear forever, and there was nothing Eric Drexler, the god of nanotech, or myself could do about it.
My fiancé told me that it was a stupid idea, that no such thing would ever work and that I ought to just make my peace with the life that I had lived and to be around each other until the end. I screamed at my fiancé, saying things like “You’d never understand, you don’t know the impact of science in the years to come,” and “why can’t you just help me find a way to do what I want?” But, the fiancé wouldn’t help me freeze myself and we began to draw separate paths away from each other, which didn’t help me because, after all I was about to die and I was about to do it alone. I pushed and tried to persuade every cryonics facility I could get in touch with to freeze me, but none of them would do it. I had no choice but to die and forget about that thing called eternal life. Or hell, even just a longer life, I didn’t care. Then I found God again. He was really my only option. I mean, I was sort of backed into a corner that I didn’t like, but I had no choice. Either go out of this universe a horrible, terrified, sobbing mess, or find Him again. And I did, because it was the only way I could come to terms with what was going to happen. Nobody should ever reluctantly find God. My only ultimatum was that it must have never been God’s plan for me to kill myself by means of liquid nitrogen, and that he was stopping all those people from helping me because he wanted me by his side after all. My thought process was a churning, bubbling horror movie, but then at least I could accomplish the last stage of human death. Acceptance.
Those two words make one hell of a sentence if you ask me. Never before could anybody actually say that without obviously becoming a liar. Death meant permanence back then. At least to most people, myself included. But, because I had questioned it, because I believed that it wasn’t so permanent, even for a short time as it was, it changed everything, because it changed my fiancé.
I woke up, which is something dead people don’t do. At least they don’t wake back up in the realm of which they came. I felt the death smite me, I knew I was gone from that earth forever, but I was wrong about the forever part. When I came back online I had it all explained to me. They had to stop me from screaming first but, I cooled off after awhile beginning to form an anti-acceptance of death. Obviously this is the first thing you have to do when you come back online I was told, because the last thing you do before you die is accept your own death fully. So when life becomes you, you go through a stage then too. Except it’s like the reciprocal version of the one you went through before you died. This is of course assuming you had time to contemplate your death before it happened, because not all people did. Those people usually couldn’t make it through liquid nitrogen though because too much of their brains would be missing to complete them again.
Anyway, I laid there. The people of the future told me. They said I’d been frozen for one-hundred and thirty-six years. They said that my fiancé, who was currently recovering in a different facility, had decided to freeze me after I died. I had influenced my dearest enough to follow through with my original plan, and in desperation after my death my love had decided to commend my body to liquid nitrogen, and also that life later as well. It was done right away so as to avoid brain damage. They said that my love was waiting for me to return. That this was a better place than in the time that I had died. They said that nobody dies anymore, and that nobody does any work either. They said that they have complete control over matter, and these molecule sized machines were doing all the work for them at no cost. They worked like DNA, replicating themselves and assembling proteins to build things. They had machines to make anything they wanted, and solve anything they desired. Death was a thing of the past, and now I was ready for the life ahead of me.
But I was not ready! God wasn’t supposed to let man have control over death. To reverse it, to extend it indefinitely. Only God has complete control over all matters of things. I was angry. Not at God, because obviously he had nothing to do with this. But at myself for coming to such conclusions. Then I thought that maybe this actually was heaven after all. Eternal life, control over everything… but finally decided that sin wouldn’t exist in heaven as it does here. Would I be allowed such devious thoughts, and blasphemous ideologies? No, that’s the simple answer.
And now of all things, I’m supposed to just pick back up the love that I left behind? I didn’t ask to be here, my fiancé had brought me here against my will, and now I was here on earth again devoid of God, and it was all because of my dearest. Dearest nothing! I hated, I cried, I refused to accept that person anymore.
But, then again, what if that person had saved me? I still didn’t know about God after all because I was alive again. What if I’d been saved from erasure? Then I owe my life and complete gratitude to my dearest.
At this point I had grown so tired of questioning reality and fabricating truths to serve my purposes that I came to the conclusion that I had just one choice left to make before I could move on.
As my cybernetic body came online sections at a time, I began to think of what I must do. And when the love and the hatred overcame me, I had two options: Run away from this place forever following my original sentence and diet myself of all free-will, or return to what I had left over from before and love again.
When I walked for the first time, the second first time of my divided life, I walked out into the sunlight, my body in perfection with the universe, my cheeks became red and plush with life and the butterflies of my essence fluttered in the pit of my stomach when I thought of him.