You are 90, old and frail. Your organs are on the verge of collapse, you are in so much pain you don’t want to live anymore. So you call up your loved ones, and order some cyanide pills on amazon because you’re just hip like that.
As you wait for the people and merchandise to arrive, you think back to everything. Your first vivid memory of being stuck in a hot car for 5 minutes before your parents remembered that they put their kid in an oven on wheels and rescue you. That time you came across a fox that sneered at you, and how horrified you were at the prospect of being mauled to death. The time you broke a bone playing sports and it managed to become life threatening. That time you overdosed on drugs. The mini stroke. The drunk driver. The guy who had a gun. The hurricane. Cancer. You survived all that.
Your family is all here. They may or may not know what’s on your mind. Your great grandchild gleefully brings you your amazon package, and you pat them on the head. You don’t really know what gender they is, you lost track of who and what your descendants are a long time ago, and your eyesight isn’t so good either.
But its okay, you figure the good ones are here, and that’s all that matters. You smile, and calmly break the news.
Some stare blankly. Some break into tears.
You open the box to extract your cyanide pills, and you casually pop some into your mouth.
And you wait. You wait for 5 minutes. You wait for an hour. You wait for 3 hours, Timmy’s got an important interview tomorrow and he kinda wants to leave. You wait for 6 hours, Jennifer is now being nagged by her bored kids.
You get tired, fall asleep, and wake up to see that Joey – whom you’ve always hated anyway- has left.
Okay, what the hell is going on? Are these cyanide pills even real?
You give one to your cat, and it falls dead instantly.
Welcome to the afterlife.
This is called the protagonist theory of afterlife. The idea is that because you are the protagonist, you will never die. The cool thing about this idea of afterlife is that you can live a lifetime obeying the rules, but once you are sure you will die but end up not, you will explore the extent to which you will not die, and gain access to all sorts of cool powers. While I absolutely recognize I just made that theory up and it is supremely unlikely, it is a really comforting thought to say that the person who you saw die never experienced death – in their reality, they didn’t die.