Eric Brown • • 7 min read
The Egg by Andy Weir: A Profound Story on the Process of Becoming
Inside of you there is a spark.
You feel it, and so do I. It is like something to be you. You have an experience.
Inside of you there is a presence, an awareness. A desire to connect, love, live, and learn. It’s ineffable, difficult to describe, and science can’t yet explain it.
If we can be sure of anything at all, we can be sure that there is something happening inside of us. The lights are on. There is an embodied experience to be lived and felt.
Why does it ‘feel’ like anything at all? Why do we feel like we are sat somewhere just behind our faces, looking out at the world through our eyes, listening to an endless stream of thoughts and feelings rush across our mental landscape through our consciousness.
This is known as the Hard Problem of Consciousness, originally stipulated by the philosopher David Chalmers. This exploration of why it feels like anything to be alive has puzzled theoretical philosophers and scientific materialists since time immemorial.
Though we may be different on the surface, have different backgrounds, believe different stories — we all have that spark of divine consciousness within us. We are cut from the same cloth, a node in a vast cosmic network of being.
Solving the Hard Problem
What if this conscious experience wasn’t something happening to us, but something happening for us?
What if it is a lesson to be learned? An experience to be integrated. A sort of cosmic play, unfolding in front of us for our growth and participation. Doing is the best way to learn, after all.
How might we approach our lives differently if we recognized that this is all a lesson, and class is always in session? A series of events unfolding for us to learn from, to grow from, and to discover more about ourselves. Everything that happens to you, happens for your benefit, so that you might become all that you know you can be?
This is the question posed in ‘The Egg’ — a short story released by Andy Weir, to immense reception. It’s a quick read, but the effects of these words will ripple through your psyche for the rest of your life.
Are you ready to dive in?
The Egg by Andy Weir
You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.
I Am You, You Are Me
This story, so succinct, yet incredibly poignant, hits on a number of points that resonate deeply inside of us.
Our common humanity, a recognition that we are all Gods with amnesia, materializing here to learn experientially what we know intuitively:
That we are all one.
That we are here to learn, play, and love.
That we are not just a drop of conscious water, but part of an endless ocean of experience.
If we are to claim our power as Gods, as we are developing now, with the power to shape planets, give and take life, manufacture landscapes, and travel through time and space — we must have the wisdom and knowledge of Gods.
If you were a God, how might you do that?
One way is to live every possible life. To learn through experience the fundamental truths of existence. To recognize that love for self is love for all, and taking care of others is also taking care of yourself.
For each life is not the end, it is not even the beginning! It is the tutorial level of the infinite game, a process of becoming and birthing so that when you are ready, you can hatch and become the God you were born to be.
Life as Drama, the Hindu Perspective
In the Western/Christian world, we often think of the universe as a construct, something that has been built. That there is a creator who designed everything, and we are also a result of this construction. It is no mere mistake that Jesus was the son of a carpenter.
In Hindu philosophy, their view of existence takes a different direction. The universe is viewed as a play, a dramatic experience. It is something that is happening, and we are both the actors and the audience.
It is an elaborate game. A play is simply an elaborate illusion. But it is an illusion with a purpose: to convey deep truths, to make you laugh, cry, and feel. With good acting, you feel as if the play is real, you connect with the actors, you believe the illusion.
Now imagine that you were the best actor possible, and you could design any and every stage that you wanted to? How convincing would your illusion be?
Hindu philosophy is centred around two pillars: Brahman, the Supreme Self, and Atman, the Individual Self. The one dominating idea in Hindu philosophy is that Atman is Brahman. The individual self is the Supreme Self.
We are God, sent here to learn experientially what we know intuitively. We have constructed an elaborate illusion for ourselves, in which we are both the actor and the audience.
The grand illusion.
Everything that is happening is happening for you.
Each moment. Every person. All of your feelings, intuitions, and experiences.
The vast cosmic landscape, the infinite experiences throughout all of observable time.
All of this is for you.