“Not for me the comfort of knowing that I'll meet my parents and other loved ones in the afterlife. I'm a non-believer. I think that things just stop, but if I did believe I'd go to dyslexic heaven, which is Devon.” Eddie Izzard.
Recent deaths and temporal displacements: Some days I check the Recent Deaths in Wikipedia. An ever growing list of Pakistani politicians, Canadian screen writers, Naval officers, Israeli businessmen, oligarchs, sports coaches, churchmen and the occasional celebrity animal. They've all made a mark, they're all linked into the web of knowledge and there's either a brief entry or a long list of connected articles about the things they did, said or maybe thought. Some die of natural causes, some in accidents, some from cancer or heart attacks, most are pretty old, 70 onwards. In some ways it's like the world's testimonial bowel movement, churning the great and good through the final sphincter of non-eternal life and into the bottomless inventory of the Wiki-of-Dead where you never die because your entry (and departure) live on in the links and italics. So this is what life truly is because you'll be there, stuck immobilized and electronically chipped in that unremembered archive for much longer than you live. (If you really are a somebody it's the Daily Telegraph obituaries but I think they, assuming the right angle of decent and re-entry is properly calculated do at some point merge with the Wiki stuff, it just takes a little longer). So there we are, it's all just a digitised Monty Python bowel movement that has to run it's necessary course subject to a balanced diet, tight plumbing and a robust constitution framed in the illusion that is time passing.
How do you know it's your time? I don't know. There's no great trumpet call from a gruff but loving Hebrew God either (done in a late 50's free jazz style of course because that would surely be the kind of thing that any self respecting God would prefer rather than some Middle Eastern ram's horn that just produces an annoying farty tone which only scares sparrows and children) because he's not outside of this universe controlling it all and somehow making sense of it all. No, he's passed that point, he's there in the deep sewage space himself, consigned to the corporate memory of Wiki-land in some virtual pigeon hole from which you can never return no matter how divine you considered your existence to have been. For further information see world religions, disappointed spectral spirits, books written by people but considered to be holy (?) and delusional deities. Having said that some of his best works will continue to be broadcast on U-Tube, iTunes or on some Kindle based media either for free or at a very reasonable price. Be warned there may well be loops of country or accordion music playing in the background as peasant girls perform an awkward folk-dance involving baskets, cudgels and waving black scarves.
P.S. After writing this badly written piece I ate an apple and considered how disrespectful it might seem towards those with firm beliefs either in religion, the after life or the Internet. Then I thought about reality TV shows, modern economics, social justice, people who write to newspapers, wild animals being squeezed out of their natural environments and those mysterious foods that lurk in the back of the middle drawer of the freezer. I thought about my mental health and my daily unscripted and undisciplined meditations, mostly spent looking across a body of water. Then I finished the apple, looked at the slowly discolouring fleshy core and threw it into the nearby bin. In that brief but profound moment the cycle of life was described and completed. That's it.
“The true test of imagination is being able to name a kitten.” Samuel Butler.