July 9, 2009

Pascal’s Wager

What folly lies in the mind of the tragically aloof? To be a non-player in the game of life, to have no passions in your heart, it may be the antithesis of hubris, but it too, can be a tragic flaw. Suffer me, for a few more minutes of your time, and I will allow you to view into a brief segment of my life, and to show you that somewhere along the line, you must ascend from your ill-gotten mist, and you for once must Participate in this wonderful dance that all buy into by the great coincidence of human birth.
Human nature leads to arguments. Our big, ever-so-capable brains have not yet found a way around this innate fact. We must come to terms with such an idea, as it will be with us as long as our minds expand. We formulate ideas, and more ideas, and ever more ideas, spiraling into infinity. These ideas do not coincide all the time with the infinite amount of ideas spawned by others possessing these brains with expounded capabilities. Usually, we can debate an idea; maybe find a different and willing middle ground idea for both parties to accept as a formidable idea. Other times we don’t find this different scheme, and thus someone’s brain begets an idea as outlandish as eugenics or natural selection.
As a youngster, I had many people who were happy to wave to me in a hallway as I passed. My myriad and superior skills at such complex games as kickball and tetherball and most games with the suffix “-ball” actually, led me to be revered, almost as a god. Children of generations ago were wont to do. My camaraderie with these fellows was based mostly on my proficiency at games of the “-ball” genre. Outside of that, my brain’s ideas really didn’t mesh well with these ideas these hallway wavers had. Often, they were irrelevant to me, as I thought myself above them.
Of all the people I knew at that time, only two young girls had much of the same ideas that I had. They both grew to be attractive young ladies, but my interest in them at that time was solely in their minds, one of the last times that a female’s mind mattered to me. After the incident that I will relate…never mind, we all know males well enough to figure out the consequences.
For the sake of argument, and to protect the innocent ladies that they have become, these young ladies become Frick and Frack for this narrative. We were enjoying a nice, sunny day under the Teflon-domed playground of the Martian New School for the Blind. Lunch was in session, and we had all three scoffed at the offerings of fatted bovine raised on the planes in the shadows Olympus Mons. (Which happens to be the largest volcano in the know solar system, but that is not important for this work.) So again, we were conversing, playing our little academic games, from the serial rag-print of “Earth’s Great Mysteries”. It was a bimonthly, put out by the same publishers of such pulp trash like “Superman: Mars,” and “Spiderman on Eros.” I liked it, as did Frick and Frack, because between its covers were housed some quaint trivialities such as Decipher the Rosetta Stone and Prove Fermat’s Last Theorem. The bafflement of the classic scholars was our playground fun.
Most times these instances passed without incident, but that day was not of the most times variety. We had become familiar with the archaic, obscure mathematician Pascal through the booklets, but today’s page was something altogether different. This Pascal fellow dabbled in philosophy. He stated some kind of wager, which the editors put in under the Things to Ponder section. He states that it is better to believe in god than to not believe in God. The consequences of being wrong were far less severe if you believed in God. Believe in god and he turns out not to exist, nothing happens. Choose to not believe in God, and he actually happens to exist, you have an eternity of unspeakable suffering in hell. You may think, that after over 3,000 years and this Christ fellow did not come back as promised, these Christians would give up hope. That would be a wrong notion.
Nope. God is alive and well, even in this era of trans-galaxy travel, and even after the annihilation of earth by the Moroccans. They rose to power so fast not a person anticipated it and all were powerless to stop them. Anyways, Frick and Frack were debating this wager. The dividing lines seemed to be between Christianity and I guess what you might call an advanced form of Hinduism. I ignored them on this matter, but Frick was a fierce advocate of our friend Blaise, so they quarreled about this idea. I paid little attention to them. Their quarrel was unimportant to me, so I watched the purple skylarks alight upon the roof of the building. At one point, I was asked which way I felt, and I didn’t care, I was aloof to the whole thing, while I was thinking what a purple skylark would taste like under orange sauce.
I’m not sure how the conversation went after that, because I was dreaming about this food they once had on Earth, this “rice.” I had heard myths of how it had tasted with fowl and how several Earthen cultures were based around the consumption of this food. At last, I noticed Frick, looking at me, asking, “Is that alright?”
I nodded my head in lazy affirmation, “Sure,” entirely unsure about what I was affirming.
With that gesture, Frick dug her claws into either side of my neck, and one of the last things I remember, as the blood streamed down my chest, was her standing over me, saying, “If God exist, we won’t hear from you, because you are in heaven with him, part of the body of Christ.”
I nodded, chocking on my own blood, resigned to my fate of death. The pondering of the skylarks and my aloofness to the conversation of the two young ladies was my downfall.
No one in history has such clear memories of their last life as I do. I am somewhat of an oddity. People in my new home don’t believe me; saying if I were alive already once, I would have gone to heaven or hell, not end up on Charon, the lone moon of Pluto, the second furthest planet from the sun. They smile at me. They nod at my declarations, but it just a patronizing nod. Maybe I am in hell, but the classical version of hell doesn’t have a spaceport with rockets leaving for greener vistas every 15 minutes.
I’m now sure, Pascal is wrong. Now, however, I am but a child. Maybe one day, I will find an aging Frick, perambulating on the planes below Olympus Mons, and tell her of the invalidity of Pascal’s wager. Maybe I will, but honestly, I don’t care.