The Paradise Paradox -- How Perfection is Imperfect
Updated: Feb 3
"If one being's Hell is Heaven for another, would that not make Lucifer both a Tormenter and a generous host?" -- John Duran
Could an Everlasting Paradise Actually Drive Us Mad?
Imagine an existence beyond time, an utopian land where every desire is instantly fulfilled. This is the promise of paradise, an eternal haven envisioned by countless cultures under certain criteria to fulfill. In Buddhism, that is done by acquiring merit, among other things. In Judaism, paradise is to be made within this world using the concept of "Tikkun", with the afterlife serving as a place for souls to rest until their eventual return in reincarnation. In Christianity, having complete assurance in Christ is the key to paradise.
Yet, lurking beneath the surface of this ideal bliss, found in most major religions, lies a potential pitfall: the frustrating hunger of boredom.
Initially, such a utopia might dazzle us with its effortless pleasures. But soon, the human mind, wired for growth and struggle over everlasting happiness, might find itself adrift in a sea of decreasing emotional value in this ideal landscape, as many human beings would fail practicing the necessary mindfulness to be eternally grateful. How come? even divine perfection could suffocate us with its monotony. For the human mind to appreciate heaven, it must be trained to adjust its perception in accordance. And without perception, paradise would lose much of it value.
To quote the philosopher Epictetus:
"Humans are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.”
Case Example: Endless Summer
Consider "Endless Summer" mode from a video game called "Bully", a post-game playground devoid of conflict and purpose. Like a theoretical paradise, it grants unlimited freedom, yet leaves us hollow and directionless. As the title suggests, this mode is infinite and has no limitations whatsoever. On a Reddit thread on the game's least favorite chapters, the comments with the most "upvotes" was "Chapter 6", or "Endless summer". the reasoning was:
"Nothing left to do once you do complete everything"
Even when you're at leisure, like when playing a video game, you may feel compelled not to freely roam the environment, but rather to engage in tasks and fulfill objectives. "Eternal Summer", a representation of paradise in digitally-interactive form, may fail to captivate its audience when there is no further objectives left fo complete in the game.
Once you've conquered every side mission, explored every corner, and mastered every challenge in a game, does it still hold the same magic? Do you yearn to play on aimlessly, forever stuck in a "post-game" world devoid of purpose and growth? Paradise, this eternal promised land where every desire finds instant fulfillment, might just resemble that very scenario
Likewise, you aren't supposed to fulfill any tasks in paradise, for paradise is too perfect for that to to be a requirement. You don't have to be productive, you don't even have to contribute. No. All you "need" to do is to live in eternal bliss. But it kinds of ruins the moment when you realize you don't need to do anything in paradise.
You aren't supposed to work or fulfill tasks in paradise. Which is kind of counter-intuitive, as unemployment increases likelihood of suicide.
The Eternal Grind -- The Boredom of Immortality
At first, the divine perfection might dazzle. But the human spirit craves not just idle pleasure, but the thrill of the chase, the satisfaction of overcoming obstacles, and improving itself further from its previous state. In a world where every wish is granted before it's even uttered, even paradise loses its appeal, morphing from a blissful haven into a monotonous cage.
It's a freedom without consequence, yes, but also a profound emptiness. No story to unfold, no antagonism to vanquish, just an unending expanse of…well, nothing. Nothing beyond the bliss of fun and eternal rest. Paradise, stripped of its challenges, risks stripping us of our very reason for being, leaving us adrift in an existential void that even eternity cannot fill.
The problem lies in our very brains, hard-wired to function through struggle and problem-solving in an imperfect, earthly reality. Like a hungry stomach, they crave constant stimulation, new experiences to digest and process, and expand. Being the territorial creatures that we are, the world is a product of endless series of wars and conflicts.
Human relations, even in philosophical discussions, can turn a pleasant mood to a hell of our own reality. Paradise, in its unchanging perfection, becomes stale, taken for granted like any modern marvel we once marveled at – cars, smartphones and other objectively-wonderful inevntions. The longer the privilege, the less likely we are to truly appreciate it with every breath.
Can Paradise Sate Our Restless Minds?
The human mind craves variation, a constant influx of new sights, sounds, and experiences. Like a mental stomach, it digests information and experiences, only to yearn for something fresh once its appetite is sated. Left to its own devices with little to no stimulation, it becomes restless, seeking out anything to fill the void.
But what happens when this insatiable hunger encounters the promise of eternal paradise? Will the perfect bliss of heaven, devoid of challenges and growth, eventually become a monotonous feast, leaving our minds craving something beyond it?
As with the example of a certain character, who became obsessed with meat, he became stuck in an eternal loop of hunger, as not even the most tastiest of meet can save him from his eternal hunger for it. Can we truly say that being in a hedonistic treadmill of endless desire is one that can grant us the eternal happiness our minds seek?
The answer, like the nature of heaven itself, remains shrouded in mystery. If heaven is a static paradise, a realm of unchanging perfection, then the mind's inherent need for variation may very well lead to boredom, even in this perfect realm. Imagine an eternity spent basking in the same blissful sunshine, listening to the same celestial music, forever satiated but ultimately unfulfilled.
Another vision of heaven paints a more dynamic picture. Perhaps it's not a static state of being, but rather an endless journey of exploration and discovery. In this possible, other nature of this realm, the mind could feast on a continuous buffet of new knowledge, skills, and experiences. Then, Each day could bring a novel challenge, a fresh perspective, a spark of creativity that keeps the mental flame perpetually burning.
It is something we can, nevertheless, make in this own world using AI technology and virtual reality. Make it infinitely generate variated worlds for us to explore and interact with, and the experiences of the real world wouldn't be as necessary. The some logic exist when interacting with people for information, versus finding information ourselves using search engines -- we can create many substitutes to this reality that could surpass its flawed nature.
But wouldn't flaw be a good thing in love? Shouldn't a possible key for happiness be... to embrace to flaws, and learn to live alongside them?
Meaning arises from overcoming obstacles, not basking in effortless indulgence. Paradise, devoid of challenges, might strip us of our very reasoning of being, leaving us with an existential void even eternity cannot fill.
Perhaps true fulfillment lies not in endless bliss, but in the perpetual dance between struggle and victory. It is within this dynamic realm that we carve our identities, forge meaningful connections, and discover the profound beauty of existence—even amidst its imperfections. After all, what's the point of an eternal victory without ever having faced a worthy opponent?
What else is left to do, after all of your objectives have been completed?