Beethoven’s Fifth
Choirs of Angels

How do we know that we are not in heaven?  If we were in heaven I would not have a toothache, and there would not be children starving on my TV.  I would not have a TV.  If I wanted to watch a Western, I would just borrow the eidetic memories of Billy the Kid.  But suppose I wanted to have a really authentic western experience.  I would be Billy the Kid.  I would die with my boots on.  Wow!  It doesn’t get more real than that.

But I’m not Billy the Kid.  I am Billy the Goof down the block, or worse yet I am Dan Smith up the creek.  Who would want to be one of them?  But if there is a long line at Heaven’s Gate, we hear that there is a longer line at Earth’s Gate.  People are desperate to catch the last show.  They will even come on as a starving Ethiopian if that is the price of admission.  Things must really be bad out there in limbo land.  Why did God create so many lost souls?  Hasn’t anyone told her about the birds and the bees?

In heaven if I wanted to hear Beethoven’s Fifth I would just put my mental token in the big juke box in the sky and I would be hearing it in Dolby digital surround sound.  No, it would be angelic surround sound.  But would they be real angels or just holographs?  How would I know?

Would I really be getting my money’s worth unless I could be in the nosebleed seats at the Vienna Philharmonic and I had proof that the triangle player was being paid a starvation wage and living in a garret behind the hall.  Now that is real music.  The starving Ethiopians are definitely in the nosebleed seats.  Can they still hear the music?

Anyone can get upset at the unfairness of life.  There have to be at least three situations a day where any one of us would vastly prefer to be someone, almost anyone else.  Yet, suppose that your idol of the day were to walk up to you and offer to exchange lives with you.  Would you jump at the opportunity, or would you hesitate?  Many questions would come to mind.  Imagine the consequences, big and small.  How about making the switch retroactively at birth?  How about being her psychic twin for a day?

Having any sort of out of body experience, beyond the bare minimum, is likely to be a reality-shattering event.  Your life will never be the same again.  It will change your identity, just as much as being in a near death experience.  Very few people would volunteer for that.  Not many people venture up the mountain for the mystical experience.  But the mountain is always there in our hearts.  Who needs the near death experience when we all know we are going to experience the real thing in digital Dolby?

But all good things must end.  So too will this world with all its injustice.  If you can feel a twinge of nostalgia for the worst injustice, then you know what it is to be sore afraid of the eschaton.  It’s been real.  Ignorance was bliss.  Now we get down to the nitty-gritty of revelation.  All of it won’t be pretty.

Will we have visitation rights with history?  Perhaps you and I are having one right now.  Let us dwell upon it, and let us not tarry.


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rev. 1/29/99