A homeless vet sat in an electric wheelchair outside of a Target store. His hair was gray; legs wasted; youth spent; eyes discolored.
“SIr, I would like something to eat.”
“Sure, said Phil. “I”ll get you something here. Are you allergic to anything?”
“Good luck,” he said. “I’m allergic to that.”
“Yeah,” said Phil looking at his withered legs. “Looks like you’re right. I’ll be back.”
Phil walked into Target and headed straight for his bathroom stall. He closed the door and started tapping morse code onto his A-11 wrist watch.
“S-h-o-w m-e t-h-e s-t-o-r-y o-f t-h-e m-a-n I j-u-s-t m-e-t i-n t-h-e w-h-e-e-l-c-h-a-i-r.”
A blue beam emerged from the A-11 and entered the right eye of Phil.
An entire life story flew through his mind. The vet was a man who once thought he could do anything if he set his mind to it. He was valiant, kind and honest. And now it was obvious that he was completely despondent and dependent upon the help of others.
The transmission from the A-11 stopped. Phil got up from the toilet. Left the stall and went to kitchen wares. He grabbed a salad bowl. Then he got a bag of spinach, mangos, a can of black beans, salad dressing, strawberries and walnuts and balsamic vinegar. He went back to the bathroom, and in the sink rinsed the vegetables and made a large and delicious spinach salad. He stopped by the Target deli and got a knife and fork, and walked outside.
“Here you go.”
“Wow. Nobody has gave me something this healthy to eat before.”
“Can I tell you a story?”
“Once there was a free being. This being could create anything it wanted at anytime. Being all powerful, it became bored. So it entertained itself by creating universes where he could forget how powerful he was. When he entered these universes, he voluntarily gave up all his powers for the experience he was to have in that life. And when the life was over, he would store it away in his eternal library of lives lived and review them at his leisure.”
“Have you ever noticed how you go into a movie and grant permission for the movie to be ‘real’ when it isn’t? And how the movie is fixed and that you are powerless to do anything to change the outcome of the movie?”
“Well, it is the same for this being except they are lives he/she lives. There is no piece of evidence that the being is real in many of these worlds. What could a person get from such a self-imposed delusion?”
“The joy of discovery.”
Phil scratched his head and continued.
“Let me tell you this being’s favorite story.”
“Once there was a strong man. A kind man. A GOOD man. He was injured in a war and lost his innocence, mobility and suffered severe brain and spinal damage and lost everyone close to him. He was powerless. Poor. Destitute and rejected by all that loved him.”
The vet’s face dropped.
“And he forgot who he really was. Reality itself. Truth itself. Honesty itself. And everything science reveals in his world shows that there is no soul. That there is no free will. That there is no being that actually exists. And in his desperation, he believes it, although deep within, he longs to BE. He longs to EXIST free and independent and self-sufficient. But every religion from Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam says that his self was either created by someone else or emerged out of cause and effect. None dare claim that he was woven into reality itself as a timeless infinitude. And in his current world, no power other than standard physics apply. He can’t do miracles. He can’t tell the future, nor can he levitate objects. And he didn’t meet anyone who could. He met plenty who CLAIMED they could, but whom always failed when asked to demonstrate such abilities on demand.”
The vet’s eyes showed interest.
“Now, WHY would so great a consciousness choose such a depressing life to live? What benefit would such a being get? Why, oh WHY would she deliberately make himself/herself intelligent, crippled and helpless?”
“I don’t know,” said the Vet.
“Well, what do you do while you are watching a sad movie?”
“I sit, watch the movie, and experience it.”
“Do you experience it as yourself or as the characters in the movie?”
“Right. You are experiencing the movie. And you agreed to sit and experience the entire movie for the entire time right?”
“And you cannot CHANGE the movie. You can only watch it. Sure, you could write another story yourself, but you are enjoying another person’s story right?”
“So, what is the point?”
“To experience the movie and whatever I learn from it.”
“I like that, so what would be the purpose of a life this being would live as a helpless person?”
The vet coughed a few times and rubbed his face and spoke.
“To forget all his or her power so that something can be new again.”
“What would be the ultimate challenge for such a being?”
“To experience helplessness, enforced failure and uncertainty.”
“And what would triumph be in such a realm?”
“To choose to be free anyway and fail triumphantly.”
“Okay, and if he had to follow the rules of the worlds he created, what is his/her free will choice?”
“What worlds and rules he enters and follows. After that, it’s all just a movie. He can only choose the story.”
“Can such a being learn?”
“No, but he can choose to forget and relearn.”
There was a long pause while he ate his salad and thought about the question. Between bites he smiled at Phil with a look of mild contempt. After he finished, he looked at Phil and answered.
“To feel alive.”