Fake Paradise or Real Hell?

Melina had a great idea. Via our blogs, we’re going to continue a conversation that we had using a pre-internet communications protocol called “talking”. During that conversation, Melina asked me: “fake paradise or real hell?”, and I surprised everyone who heard me by emphatically choosing “fake paradise”.

But there are some caveats. My decision requires nothing short of a letter, handwritten and signed by God, promising that my decision won’t cause any negative consequences for me or anyone else. That being said, why not? I want to be happy; I want to make others happy, and the “no consequences” caveat includes a provision that anyone I would have made happy will be equally happy in my absence. So without any reason to feel guilty or afraid, yes, I’ll have the blue one, please.

I believe that the only reason to continue, in reality, is to make things better for yourself and others. Perhaps I wouldn’t be the best suicide counselor, but I honestly believe happiness and responsibility are the only two reasons to keep living. If you take care of my responsibilities and make me happy, you can take me; I’m yours.

How many stories were told on this subject? Perhaps hundreds of books, movies, TV Shows, all about happy people living the good life until someone has to go screw it up. In a lot of these stories, it’s not a perfect fantasy but it’s the best they can do and the people are happier than they would be without it. If we’re not talking about stories where a band of slaves has to labor somewhere to make the fantasy work for others, and if we’re not talking about stories where the fantasies end with a nightmare, then I’d be the bad guy in most of them.

The only story I ever saw that came close to showing things my way was “The Menagerie”, an old Star Trek episode in which Captain Pike, after becoming paralyzed in an accident, chose to go back and live in an illusionary paradise, in the care of the big-head people. But he initially refused, dooming an entire race of intelligent beings to extinction (I can’t give the details here, see the show or read the wiki) and leaving behind a real woman who he loved on the doomed planet, just to avoid fake paradise. It took total paralysis to make him change his mind. As Bugs would say, “What a Maroon!”

Visit Melina for an opposing point of view, coming soon.

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