4 min read

“You don’t have to fear death. It’s nothing like advertised, but it’s not bad.”

“So you don’t just disappear, do you?”

“Well, you exist, in a sense. And you get to do what you’re good at. But it’s different.”

“Different how?”

“In life, you don’t realize how much of what makes you you is meat and liquids. You lose those when you die, and it changes you. You can’t get angry or excited as fast as in life. There’s no more rush, no urges. With distance comes efficiency. Shedding your body is how you free your mind for processing.”

“For what?”

“For processing. You see, once you’re out there, you join the synergy. Become a part of a scaled-up ecosystem. Turn into a neuron in the super-brain of the universe.”

“What super-brain? God?”

“How the hell do I know whose brain it is? Maybe God, maybe a deity, maybe some alien form of life. Maybe it’s the dark energy itself. Do you think a neuron in your brain knows about you?”

“There’s no need to get mad.”

“I don’t get mad. Or upset. I’m dead, remember?”


“You see, a living person is like a fetus in a womb. It doesn’t know about other people. Even its own mother is beyond its comprehension. It cannot even know if there’s life after birth. And just like the task for you while in a womb is to grow and practice breathing movements, the task for you in life is to experience different things and become good at something. To train your mind.”

“Train it for what?”

“Oh, but I’ve told you, for processing. You’re not listening.”

“I am. I just don’t think I get it. What is it that you process?”

“Information. Lots of information. At first, you are overwhelmed by all the waves of incomprehensible data. But then, a detail in that excessive flow catches your attention. Something familiar, something you can recognize. And suddenly, you know what to do with it. And you do it.”

“I don’t think I understand.”

“I guess I need to work on my communication skills. Imagine a pattern you recognize without thinking. When you’re good at reading people, you can spot when they lie even if you don’t know consciously which clues to look for. The same is true in processing. Within the waves that rush past you there is so much information, you can never grasp it all. But something—it’s probably something you were good at in life—something will stand out.”

“And what do you do with it, exactly?”

“You process it. Think that thought, complete that image, calculate that number. It drills down to your core competency.”

“You’re kidding, right? Core competency?”

“Of course. At first, you get a full information load. But after onboarding, when you get used to processing what you recognize, more and more information of that type is diverted to you. If you’re good at finding a square root, you’ll get more square root calculations. It’s like there’s a dead rockstar project manager somewhere out there, and he’s directing all the info flow to all of us in the most efficient way.”

“It’s not funny.”

“Why not? Is that professional jealousy? You’ll get over it with all the liquids gone. You’ll see how brilliant the system is. It’s like the visual cortex— I’m sorry for all the brain references, but I just couldn’t pass up an opportunity. You know, with your tumour. Is it spreading, by the way? Are you hearing things now?”

“Oh, come on!”

“What, not funny again? Sorry. Where was I? Yes, like the visual cortex. It gets all the signals from the retina and older parts of the brain, and even though a single neuron doesn’t know what its signal is about, the ultimate output is an amazingly detailed picture. Who knows, maybe this super-brain with all its dead-people-neurons has developed a super-consciousness, and it can comprehend the final picture. Get it? In death, you’re a little cog of that comprehension.”

“What if I had enough of being a cog? I don’t want to be a neuron. I want, for once, to take my wife to the beach somewhere warm.”

“That’s your meat talking. Don’t worry, you won’t even remember why keeping promises used to be so important.”

“I don’t like your afterlife.”

“It’s not my afterlife. It’s the afterlife.”

“Well, I don’t like it. The prospect of total nothingness is more soothing.”

“Whatever works for you, Simon. I was just trying to facilitate the transition, so to speak. What, not funny again? Sorry.”

“Go to hell!”

“To the processing, you mean. I will, my friend. We all will.”