A conversation with a stranger

Me: The world is such a small place. How did I come to be here at this diner at the exact same moment you have? There is no one for miles around us!

The stranger: Mere coincidence I believe?

Me: Yes, I guess so. But is it not strange that we came here with the exact same intentions, wearing the same clothing?

The stranger: Yes, it is rather curious. Do you believe you are here for a reason, meeting me like this?

Me: No, I don’t believe in stuff like fate. I believe in things I can see and touch.

The stranger: That’s rather tragic don’t you think? Would you prefer life to just come and go purpose free? For there to be only a beginning, an end, and a whole lot of meaningless living in between?

Me: No, not exactly. I mean, I don’t think my life is meaningless just because I don’t believe in anything after death. My life derives meaning from the people I love and care for during my time. Live in the moment kind of stuff…

The stranger: Oh, that sounds quite liberating I guess, to not be burdened by such fanatical concerns. Many other people will condemn your ‘beliefs’, or lack thereof.

Me: Yes, I find religion to be quite unpalatable. I keep my distance. And yes, I do find it liberating to not have to hide in the shadow of an oppressive, no wait, loving, all knowing… I’m going to stop there, you get my point.

The stranger: I don’t think I do. Do you not worry that when you die you may be confronted with the answer you refused to seek out all your life? That you are just an ant, utterly incapable of contextualizing another realm that exists around you? And you are confronted by some deity upon your death, reprimanding and banishing you to eternal damnation. Do you not worry about that being a possibility?

Me: Well, if that is the result, it would have been a nifty trick on the deity’s part. I mean what’s that all about! A god who leaves all these traces of evidence over time to trick you and give you overwhelming doubt about his/her/its existence – a test of faith they call it. Believe… Don’t question… No thanks. I would not have any regrets, definitely not. I won’t follow such a god.

The stranger: Well, it seems like you have thought about this long and hard. But you still haven’t satisfied my question. My point is you are basing your decisions on evidence bound by the physical earth. An ant cannot conceive of humans in its world, similarly, microscopic beings would not be able to conceive the existence of ants. What if you are just an ant, incapable of conceiving a realm beyond you, irrespective of diligent, curious people poking around with earthly things, trying to close gaps?

Me: Well, I think I would accept that. I have used all the available information I could have on this earth to make the most informed choices. If a force or god (whatever it may be) greater than me purposefully gave me logic and choice and an ability to comprehend this world as though it is not governed by the supernatural, then jokes on him I say.

The stranger: mmm, that would be a funny joke. Have you considered that it might actually be a joke?

Me: What do you mean?

The stranger: You make me laugh. Humans are so arrogant. I can’t blame you for it. I really can’t. You are to date, my favourite experiment. And let me tell you, I have many experiments!

Me: Ok, It’s been great chatting, but I have to go now. This has been real! Who are you anyway?

The stranger: Go where? You have nowhere to go. You also have not come from anywhere…well, in your mind you have, but of course there really is no such thing as ‘your mind’. This must be all a bit overwhelming for you… I understand. I will give you some time to process it.

Me: This has been a fun chat, but really, who are you? And stop with the roundabout riddles, what are you talking about?

The stranger: Well, I am the ant, and you are the microscopic, insignificant critter. You are my experiment, one of many. Some are successful and quite enjoyable, others not so much. This has been quite interesting, amusing if you will… Although I would be incredibly optimistic to say it was a successful one. How do you define success at something when there was no purpose to it in the first place? Excuse my smirk, I was terribly bored.

So there, you must really feel liberated now, coming right from the horse’s mouth. You do not have any purpose. You never were meant to have. If you don’t believe me I understand. I get it; see it to believe it and all that good stuff etc. etc.

Well, what do you have to say for yourself?

Me: I’m not sure how to respond to that. I will however play along… If I am a microscopic bug, who cannot interpret a world with you in it or around it, and you are the ant, what would a human be to you?

The stranger: Exactly! Now you are getting the hang of it. I simply don’t know. I don’t even care to! It’s beyond me. We sort of have that in common! Only difference is I’m not as arrogant as you are in your convictions! You irrefutably do not believe in me, yet here I am before you. Poof! Same applies to those who believe in an ‘idea’ of me, which comically varies on a grand scale with you humans.

Maybe I am the alpha and omega, or the devil himself, I’m not bothered with such petty labels. I must say with the latter though, I have been playing with the magnifying glass on a few sunny days of late… Call it a guilty pastime. Don’t pretend you have not been guilty of that one before!

Me: You are right, I don’t believe you. I have met a lot of crazies in my time. But you definitely take the cake! It’s been fun chatting, but I really have to go. I’ve got a ‘meaningless’ chore to do. Bye for now. Until next time…um, I didn’t get your name, stranger?

The stranger: Don’t worry about me, it’s pretty much as irrelevant as this conversation has been, or what you did prior to it. Any ant for that matter! It has been good chatting, but I have to run as well. I have just thought of a great idea for my next experiment. Enjoy your last… I mean the rest of your day. Goodbye, little ant.

Me: Ok, goodbye, um… human being.

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