together as one mystical body, transcendent of space and time. So is this the secret to lasting happiness in a dark, fallen world-- escaping into transcendence? There is a sprawling pharmacopeia of substances which can deny the sorrowful realities of life and ease unrelenting physical pain.
Transhumanists (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism) hope for a day when the frailty and limitations of the human condition ultimately give way to digital immortality. (http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/high-tech-gadgets/digital-immortality.htm) By 2045 the Singularity will have arrived, or so futurists predict. By then, we'll have merged with artificially intelligence machines to cast off death, sickness, infirmity, and all other ills to which flesh is heir. To exist as a digitized consciousness, as ones and zeroes inside a virtual environment, seems to be transhumanism's end goal. Imagine if the entire human race uploaded itself into Robert Nozick's theoretical "experience machine" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experience_machine) and never came out. What kind of world would we create for ourselves and each other inside the simulation?
The following story is from the Buddhist tradition, but it could have been one of Jesus' stories about the Kingdom of Heaven. As far as I can tell, the Parable of Me And Mine is one such story.
Some children were playing beside a river. They made castles of sand and each child defended his castle and said, “This one is mine .” They kept their castles separate and would not allow any mistakes about which was whose. When the castles were all finished, one child kicked over someone else’s and completely destroyed it. The owner of the castle flew into a rage, pulled the other child’s hair, struck him with his fist and bawled out, “He has ruined my castle! Come and help me punish him as he deserves." The others all came to his help. They beat the child with a stick and then stamped on him as he lay on the ground. . . Then they went on playing in their sand-castles, each saying, “This is mine; no one else may have it. Keep away! Don’t touch my castle!” But evening came; it was getting dark and they all thought they ought to be going home. No one cared what became of his castle. One child stamped on his, another pushed his over with both his hands. Then they turned away and went back, each to his home. Behaviors resonate for centuries for both children and adults. Today’s prized possessions and cherished ambitions are yesterday’s sand-castles. What is left.
Lasting happiness in a world as dark as ours involves seeing it all from an eternal perspective. Equanimity comes from understanding the transient nature of life, phenomena, emotions, and how it all relates to the Kingdom.
Parable of Me and Mine ("Sandcastles")