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Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman
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“There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”
David M. Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“Since we live in the heads of those who remember us, we lose control of our lives and become who they want us to be.”
David M. Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“It is only through us that God lives. When we abandon him, he dies.”
David M. Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“...you are battered and bruised in the collisions between reminiscence and reality.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“All creation necessarily ends in this: Creators, powerless, fleeing from the things they have wrought.”
David M. Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“When we're in a human body, we don't care about universal collapse - instead, we care only about a meeting of the eyes, a glimpse of bare flesh, the caressing tones of a loved voice, joy, love, light, the orientation of a house plant, the shade of a paint stroke, the arrangement of hair.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“Among all the creatures of creation, the gods favor us: We are the only ones who can empathize with their problems.”
David M. Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“Love was not specified in the design of your brain; it is merely an endearing algorithm that freeloads on the leftover processing cycles.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“The missing crowds make you lonely. You begin to complain about all the people you could be meeting. But no one listens or sympathizes with you, because this is precisely what you chose when you were alive.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“Although we credit God with designing man, it turns out He's not sufficiently skilled to have done so. In point of fact, He unintentionally knocked over the first domino by creating a palette of atoms with different shapes. Electron clouds bonded, molecules bloomed, proteins embraced, and eventually cells formed and learned how to hang on to one another like lovebirds. He discovered that by simmering the Earth at the proper distance from the Sun, it instinctively sprouted with life. He's not so much a creator as a molecule tinkerer who enjoyed a stroke of luck: He simply set the ball rolling by creating a smorgasbord of matter, and creation ensued.”
David Eagleman, Sum: forty tales from the afterlives
“Death... The moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“Everything that creates itself upon the backs of smaller scales will by those same scales be consumed.”
David M. Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“Every atom in your body is the same quark in different places at the same moment in time.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“So poorly did you know yourself that you were always surprised at how you looked in photographs or how you sounded on voice mail. In this way, much of your existence took place in the eyes, ears, and fingertips of others. And now that you’ve left the Earth, you are stored in scattered heads around the globe. Here in this Purgatory, all the people with whom you’ve ever come in contact are gathered. The scattered bits of you are collected, pooled, and unified. The mirrors are held up in front of you. Without the benefit of filtration, you see yourself clearly for the first time. And that is what finally kills you.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“Humans have discovered that they cannot stop Death, but at least they can spit in his drink.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“And once again the Rewarder and the Punisher stalk off, struggling to understand why knowing the code behind the wine does not diminish its pleasure on your tongue, why knowing the inescapability of heartache does not reduce its sting, why glimpsing the mechanics of love does not alter its intoxicating appeal.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“When you arrive in the afterlife, you find that Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley sits on a throne. She is cared for and protected by a covey of angels.
After some questioning, you find out that God's favorite book is Shelley's Frankenstein. He sits up at night with a worn copy of the book clutched in his mighty hands, alternately reading the book and staring reflectively at the night sky.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“I came here for the same reason doctors wear uniforms of long white coats...They don't do it for their benefit, but for yours.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“And in this form, they find themselves longing to ascend mountains, wander the seas, and conquer the air, seeking to recapture the limitlessness they once knew.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“This moment of lucidity does not last long. But it serves as the punishment for your sins, a Promethean entrails-pecking moment, crouching half-horse half-man, with the knowledge that you cannot appreciate the destination without knowing the starting point; you cannot revel in the simplicity unless you remember the alternatives.
And that's not the worst of your revelation. You realize that the next time you return here, with your thick horse brain, you won't have the capacity to ask to become a human again. You won't understand what a human is. Your choice to slide down the intelligence ladder is irreversible. And just before you lose your final human faculties, you painfully ponder what magnificent extraterrestrial creature, enthralled with the idea of finding a simpler life, chose in the last round to become a human.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“But it turns out your thousand trillion trillion atoms were not an accidental collection: each was labeled as composing you and continues to be so wherever it goes. So you’re not gone, you’re simply taking on different forms.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“Creators, powerless, fleeing from the things they have wrought.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“And just before you lose your final human faculties, you painfully ponder what magnificent extraterrestrial creature, enthralled with the idea of finding a simpler life, chose in the last round to become a human.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“You were all these ages, they concede, and you were none.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“So God sits on the edge of Her bed and weeps at night, because the only thing everyone can agree upon is that they’re all in Hell.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“with the knowledge that you cannot appreciate the destination without knowing the starting point; you cannot revel in the simplicity unless you remember the alternatives.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“They come to understand, with awe, the complexity of the compound identity that existed on the Earth. They conclude with a shudder that the Earthly you is utterly lost, unpreserved in the afterlife. You were all these ages, and you were none.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“Platoons and plays and stores and congresses do not end - they simply move on to a different dimension.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“Of all the Programmers' planets, ours is the supercomputing golden child, the world that inexplicably provides enough power to light up the galaxy.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
“That afternoon She listened to the grievances of the dead from two warring nations. Both sides had suffered, both sides had legitimate grievances, both pled their cases earnestly. She covered Her ears and moaned in misery. She knew Her humans were multidimensional and She could no longer live under the rigid architecture of Her youthful choices.”
David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

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