THE INFINITY GAUNTLET #1 (July 1991)
Art by George Perez (pencils), Josef Rubinstein (inks), Max Scheele (colors)
Words by Jim Starlin
Islands by Brendan Monroe
You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.
The Buddha was often asked why he did not answer the question of “is there an afterlife” in his teachings. His answer was always “You ask this question only because of your attachment. Lose this attachment and you will no longer ask”Needless to say this was a very unpopular answer and the Buddha lost followers because he would not answer. Later, lesser men, attempted to answer it and conjured up all kinds of Buddhist Heavens and “Perfect Lands”. The Buddha never said anything more about the subject.I, being a lesser man, have this answer to the question the Buddha never answered. It is my view and mine alone. Here it is:The Examination of Life in the Context of Space-TimeAll designed systems have a “purpose”. A watch, a space shuttle or a toaster oven … all have as their central characteristic a function.There is an unbroken connection between every living thing on this planet from tube worms in the Pacific Rift to you and the first self replicating system. You are directly connected to every living thing on Earth both now and since the beginning.
A Fourth Dimensional Structure called a HypercubeThe American Science Fiction author Kurt Vonnegut once wrote a short story called “Timeline”. In it he describes human beings as fourth dimensional beings. Worm like creatures pink and small at one end and grey at the other. We are constrained by our three dimensional perspective.Life is not the discrete form you see with your senses. It is a vast fourth dimensional web of being. We accept time as linear and progressive because this is the way we perceive it with our senses and interpret it with our consciousness.The truth, as physics shows us is that time is not linear. It is as many Eastern philosophies have described it for centuries eternal. All that was and will be is. We only see time as linear in the same way we can only sense certain wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum or the way our senses are limited in scale. We cannot perceive the very small or the very large. Likewise we see time as flowing from moment to moment always forward.
Clifford Torus a Fourth Dimensional StructureLook at life in the fourth dimension. Consider the atoms which make up living things as they move both in space and in time. It becomes a tangled overlapping skein of life, You are connected, not is some vague philosophical way but in a very real and physical way with this tangled fourth dimensional web of life. Viewed in this way, the question of “life after death” becomes meaningless. The Hindu/Taoist/Zen view of death as not an end but a transition makes very real and concrete sense.There is no death only the death of consciousness within the individual. Viewed from a fourth dimensional perspective YOU have always been alive and will always be alive. It matters little that the atoms of carbon and hydrogen which have agreed, for the time being, to be you will someday go a different way and become something else. Your mind, your consciousness is not so much as a tool for gathering information as it is a reducing valve to reduce information to a form useful for gathering sustenance and allowing you to pass along your immortal coil … your genes … your DNA. Your consciousness will have served its purpose but its essence is contained within the helix.We are obsessed with endings and beginnings. Whence did life begin? When will it end? Is my death the end of that which is truly me? How was the universe formed? What existed before space and time? These questions only matter from the perspective of one locked in three dimensions.If there is a God then it is us.