I’ve never been to heaven, and will likely never go. I imagine my application will be consigned to the dumpster outside the Pearly Gates without much ado; my letters of recommendation are hardly stellar, my scores on the Holiness Records Examination are rather lackluster, and my statement of purpose is unfocused and tentative.
Even so, I like to speculate that heaven houses the grandest of all universities (and I mean that in a fairly literal sense).
Given the number of years I’ve spent in school, it astonishes me how little I actually know, about anything. (“Sometimes I amaze even myself.”) It’s rather embarrassing, actually. Frequently I wish I could start over. And work harder. And learn something of substance this time around.
But I’m not always sure I want to be eternally enrolled in real courses, at an earthly university, where producing papers on time sometimes requires all-night stints over packages of chocolate chips, and bothersome and often painful debt is often the only feasible route to earning a degree. This in turn means that finishing the program becomes imperative (as opposed to lollygagging around several fields, which I infinitely prefer).
The University of Lollygag, that’s what I hope to find in the hereafter. Featuring a low-pressure environment lacking any time restraints whatsoever. The university in which the performance element of education has been abolished.
I don’t want to wake up on the Other Side and be able to speak Georgian, without expending any effort. Nor do I want to have lost interest in speaking Georgian or other earthly affairs. I want the process of learning–temporal learning–to still be available, but with infinitely more resources and possibilities.
The only way I can avoid weeping over my school’s catalogue is to hope that, in some way, I’m ensconced in eternity, and that possibilities will open up there that have never been available here. Visions of beatific choirs of angels praising God unceasingly for eternity leave me vaguely uneasy, as nice as they sound. Sometimes I worry that nothing interesting will matter anymore once we’re dead.
I think I want a heaven where discussions can still be had, discoveries can still be made, and art of some kind can still be created because the platonic ideal is yet out of reach.
- 2 November 2006