What happens after you die?
In his book Sum, neuroscientist David Eagleman provides 40 different, often contradicting answers to that question — some harrowing, others hilarious. What if God allowed everyone into heaven, but then we’d all complain about being stuck there with one another, concluding it is, in fact, hell? What if God turns out to be a microbe, completely unaware humans even exist?
Maybe you’ll continue life in a world inhabited only by the people you already know or be forced to live each moment again, grouped by similarity. Four months of sitting on the toilet followed by three weeks of eating pizza, after which you’ll have 24 hours of nonstop stomach cramps before sleeping for 30 years straight.
Despite conjuring stories that happen exclusively in a place from which we can’t return, (and that we therefore know nothing about) Sum holds profound implications about what we might choose to do in the here and now. The mere idea of accidentally becoming a horse in your next life, realizing only in the last second how great it was to be human, could be the exact hoof kick you need to finally start writing your novel, for example.
Sum is Derek Sivers’ single-favorite book of all time. Whichever specific tale it may have been that spurred him into action, one day, he decided to write a book just like it, except he’d answer a different question — a question even more important than what’s beyond death, with even greater indications: While we are on this earth, how should we live?Read More