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When Wonderland Went Away (1 Viewer)

Mick JH

I wrote this a few months ago. My writing has evolved since then, but I still like it. Thanks in advance for reading it and please leave feedback. Cheers.

When Wonderland went Away

JRR Tolkien established himself as a literary mastermind when he unleashed "The Lord Of The Rings" onto the world. Currently, I'm reading the novel myself and I'm enthralled in the flawless mastery of Tolkien's storytelling. But a theme that didn't translate from the magnificent book to the magnificent films is that of mortality and immortality. It's merely touched upon by the filmmakers when they speak of the tale of Aragorn and Arwen, the mortal man in love with the immortal elf. This is merely a part of the discussion that takes place in the novel and is really a small facet of it. The same theme is played with in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which really detracts from the excellence of Aragorn and his conscience. But anyway, during the time that the Lord of the Rings takes place, the immortal elves are departing from Middle Earth for good, leaving the mortals to inherit the land. Essentially, Middle Earth will start to become the world we know today. Why? Well...

In trying to define life and find its meaning, I came to realize what our existence is about: Death. Every part of this planet, this galaxy, this universe and quite possibly beyond will die. This world of ours is mortal. Life inhabits everything, from plants and animals to inanimate objects, and the most prominent trait of life is that at some point it will end. Everything we know will expire: Creatures die and rot into the ground of our planet, our planet will be consumed be an ever-expanding sun, the sun will eventually explode. Things are created to die. When things die, they get recycled. Humans, for instance, rely on eating living things (even vegetarians as plants also live, last time I checked) and when we die, our bodies become fertilizer and, quite literally, worm food. When the sun will explode, the elements will be scattered giving life to other floating rocks, and creating other planets and celestial bodies, aimlessly existing in the vast wasteland of space.

Very blunt, is it not? It's almost a simple case of "things die so others may live, but they too will eventually die" creating an absolutely pointless cycle. Since life is apparently our "most precious commodity" and life cannot exist without death, it seems that death is the very nature of our existence: to die and aid things that will die. It's a system that's horribly inhumane and almost silly when you give it thought. This begs the question, "why is the universe there at all?" We deem the universe as the blank canvas of existence and that all we see was created within it. But, judging from everything else that exists, wont the universe die as well, or is it above existence?

The universe must serve a purpose, as the notion that "it was just there" makes little sense. Two plausible theories are that the universe is a part of something larger or that there's a facet of life that humankind has yet to discover or comprehend. The latter idea suggests that we are still a primitive species and would open the door to a spiritual existence beyond our natural consciousness. The former would allow for the religion versus science debate to continue, as it doesn't bring us closer to any answers. It would also strengthen the case of quantum physicists studying the possibility of parallel or multiple dimensions or realities. Both theories appeal more to me than the "the universe was just, y'know, there and stuff" notion, as it would add a degree of wonder to our world.

If either of these theories are proved correct, it's almost an assurance that we wont live to see it. But that thought is quite a humbling one: we are not the technical wonders we believe we are. We have our own planet all but sussed. We know for certain how the planet was shaped after its creation and have a good idea of what created it in the first place. But now, we have to look beyond it. Modern science and astronomy relies on the idea that the universe is the basis for everything, an idea that has no proof to back this claim except the fact that we can see it in front of us. But a philosophical and theological debate can be sparked by denying these beliefs that people now accept blindly (much, might I add, like religious devotees with blind faith that the scientific community enjoys ridiculing). Perhaps these other realities transcend physical senses? Perhaps they are what we have come to call "heaven" and "hell"? Perhaps they're inhabited by nineteen-foot tall gorillas in chicken suits?

However, science has closed the minds of the populous. It's simple to take a core belief that has no real scientific bearing and work all your scientific findings around it. A scientist's job would be infinitely more complicated if you must factor in what lies beyond our own reality, and I'm not talking about religious existences after death. The question of "what is the universe" has not been answered and until it has, to close your mind off to and merely accept your surroundings is to deny the natural curious nature of humanity. People are scared of what they don't know and must cling onto what they do know is a certainty, and look no further. Religion was created as a fear of death gripped our race and the faith provided answers. These answers were acceptable for a time until we became curious again, and questioning faith came into fashion. Religion and atheism both provide answers for the question of "what happens when we die" but both rely on differing factors of possibility and probability, not evidence.

I wont say whether or not any faith is correct, as I've become comfortable with not knowing for sure. I enjoy the wonder I have and I require evidence to found core beliefs. No side, be it scientific, religious or philosophical can provide me with answers at this time and I wont settle for "it's the most likely." What irks me is that both sides enjoy the control the have with dogma. Religious organisations preach everlasting life as the only truth, while scientific bodies dispute this by quoting solid facts and likely facts. People want to be in control, when they really are not and can't hope to be as long as they allow dogma to consume them. Wonder is a glorious thing, and the world should still be filled with it. We should be searching for the answers, exploring our universe and questioning the very essence of existence, as opposed to gripping to half-facts and keeping our heads in the sand.

I enjoy my wonder. It gives me comfort. The world is a curious place and deserves to be recognised as such. Scientific discovery and spiritual study must not be mutually exclusive, and if we're to find the answers to the questions we ask of our world, both must gel. We have our planet figured out. Let's pat ourselves on the back and move forward. There are bigger questions to be asked, but we're too afraid to venture beyond the confines of our home where everything is sorted out. It's an awful feeling to know that you'll never know the answers throughout your lifetime, but the notion that you know that the search for them is underway would be an enormous comfort.

Death scares me. I'm not frightened of anything more than dying, and I know that if I had the answers I would be a lot happier. The death of an atheist is too grim and cold a notion but it seems the most plausible to me. I realize that none know what lies beyond the grave, be it eternal bliss or absolutely nothing. If I could ask one question to an omnipotent being, it would be "what happens when we die?" But, I know that the answer to that question can only come from my species and my species wont answer. My species will turn me towards what is believed rather than what is true and my fear will only be magnified. I have an inquisitive nature, and I need the hard facts, yet nobody has bothered to look for the hard facts when it comes to mortality, as they're afraid of what they might find. I seek the truth, not comfort but I can't find it on my own. Unfortunately, the brilliant minds of my world wont give the subject the time of day, so it seems I'm doomed to suffer my uncertainty for a very long time.

In JRR Tolkien's world, the immortals were the wise and the inquisitive. The mortals (men, dwarves and hobbits) looked no further than what was laid out ahead of them. The immortals led the development of Middle Earth before they departed from its shores. The species that thrived through death were left to inherit Middle Earth. The mortals sought peace and quiet, as opposed to learning the nature of their world. The elves left and the new kingdoms of mortals were left in charge. They found their peace, but at the expense of knowledge. Here, Middle Earth ends.

So, it seems that the human race is content to tip toe through life with its eyes closed fingers in its ears, scared that the inexplicable might sneak up on it and give it a fright. Ignorance is bliss, after all, and wonder would be a direct attack on ignorance. Perhaps some day, long after I've met my grave, some person will say, "gee, I wonder what exactly happens after death" and maybe then people will start to question their world again. Until then, though, it seems that we're doomed to face dogma and fear as we trundle our way through our ignorant lives.

On that happy note, I say "BOOBS!"

Good night, kids.

Mick JH--


Staff member
Ah! A true kindred spirit. A well presented and thoughful essay on ours and the universes mortality. I too am in awe by the wonders of the universe and seek to know the questions as well as the answers by means of spiritual, scientific and philosopical exploration and not getting sidetracked by either side that preach ignorance and rigidity. Life and the universe in the final analysis may have no point to it and may be nothing more then a random chaotic fluke. And if that's the case, So what, their is still wonder and beauty in the uselessness and randomness of it all. This universe is truly a magical wonderland and I for one believe that magical, spiritual and scientific thinking go hand in hand when it's questioned, open for refute and done in the spirit of a seeker. It's the meaning that we give life, no matter the ultimate outcome that brings wonder and completion to our lives and the universe.

I loved your piece, it's something I would have written myself lacking the eloquence. I look forward to reading more of your work

warmest regards