There is a happy land, far far, away. Somewhere beyond the moon, sun, and stars lies the Empyrean Heaven, where souls come to rest, all pain and strife ceases, our feelings of separateness are revealed to be an illusion and all things rejoice in an eternal, harmonious chorus.
This is a lie, of course, one of the oldest and most tempting. We are not immortal, and outside of the universe is nothing. Why is there something rather than nothing? Why are we here as individual beings with the consciousness of our own death? We do not and cannot know these things. As William James wrote in “The Problem of Being”, “from nothing to being there is no logical bridge.” Therefore, our existence is absurd.
But I don’t begrudge the faithful their Heaven. Indeed, I want it as badly as they do. But I think that the idea of it now, the beautiful dream that inspires so much art, is the best we may have of it.