Once again, I had a strange thought. Sorry. I can’t seem to stop.
I was thinking about what happens to all the data created for the Internet. Is everything stored forever? Is anything erased, like burning leaves in the fall, which disappear into smoke (carbon atoms?)?
If all data is saved, a huge pile must exist somewhere, because a whole bunch has been created since the advent of the computers...and the mountain grows. Perhaps, data expands like universe, whose extent is unknowable.
But, that was not my strange thought. I wondered if the saving of data could be a metaphor and compared to people’s belief in Heaven (and Hell). All humans that ever roamed the earth (and associated pets) are supposed to reside in Heaven (or Hell), which must be rather large spaces. That’s a whole bunch of folks and the crowd grows each day...like the total amount of data. Perhaps, they could also expand like the universe...
On Friday afternoon, I had the impression that I had discovered heaven. It is located in a small village on the French side of the Rhine River. We were visiting a small country inn that sits beside a small river http://www.auberge-de-l-ill.com/V2/index.html
This spot was not always so idyllic, as witnessed by abandoned bunkers dotting the countryside. A quick dip into history explains that this region has earned its current peace and quiet. The date engraved on the sandstone block at the entrance to the inn says 1878, indicating that the family owning the land have had to switch national flags a time or two. The building has surely been destroyed and mistreated more than one would care to recall.
After dinner and in bed, my wife uttered: “This was too nice to be true.” We had roamed the vast garden alongside the river, sat under the weeping willows and sipped cocktails, enjoyed a meal that few can produce, sipped wine that has few rivals (http://www.maison-trimbach.com/), and escaped to a plush room. There is a saying in German about enjoying the finer things in life (Leben wie Gott in Frankreich = live like god in France). We did...
In bed, I discovered that this spot is probably not heaven. Dogs barked throughout the night, church bells awoke the dead at 5:45 (and kept ringing every 15 minutes), and rooster felt the need to compete with both. Perhaps, it was good to be reminded of reality, so it would be easier to drive away from one the nicer spots on this planet. We now have another nice memory...and a plan to return another day
I noticed a quote—allegedly spouted by George Clooney—about preferring 8 professionals to the 70 virgins promised terrorists by the Koran. This got me thinking about that promise and the saying about the tragedy of getting what you wish for.
I can’t imagine a worse fate than having to deal with 70 virgins. Even one would be a burden. What would a guy do with 70 young women? Imagine managing that gaggle and their assorted needs, wishes, and jealousies. I recall the complaints of a colleague that had to manage the daily work of 25 women: it was a constant nightmare. I don’t know how any man could please so many women; it would be like poor King Midas.
True heaven is having one good wife/lover/friend. Unfortunately, that seems too difficult for most men to find, to satisfy, or to keep. I have been lucky enough...which explains why I would never find the promise of 70 virgins appealing. Just as I could not find much appealing in the Koran or any other religious treatise...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.