I’m an impulsive person. As a result of basically doing whatever I want whenever I feel like it I have been happily married for seven years, am the proud father of a two children, have a stable career, and I own my own home.
How could this have happened? I did everything I could to avoid it. I bummed around the planet for a few years, I didn’t go to college until my late twenties, and at that point I majored in philosophy and Greek, I’ve never given any value to possessions or the accumulation of wealth, and yet here I am, a suburban dad. I even own a Kia.
The fact is, reckless impulsivity lead me down this dark and twisted path. I loved a girl, so I quit my job and followed her to college, where I got my hilarious degrees. Later, I asked her to marry me. Didn’t even hesitate. Didn’t like my job, so I went back to school to get a teaching certificate, expanding student debt be damned. Found out we were having a baby, so I bought a house.
So that all worked out fine, it would seem. Except now I live in some bedroom community, a city in which the primary attraction is, in 2019, a mall. I commute to work on a series of freeways. I think about bills far more often than I ever thought I would. I don’t like it that much, overall. So, what’s the solution? Stop.
I gave notice at my job, putting the house up for sale, and moving to the other side of the country, to the border of New and old Mexico actually. I randomly bought a piece of land out there a few years ago, then threw out a few resumes to the schools in the area, and lo and behold a job has been offered. We’ll use the money from the house to pay off all debts, and start life afresh in the high desert of dreamland. Will it work out? That question doesn’t even mean anything.
As usual, someone else already said what I’m trying to say in a far more pleasing format. Take it away, Avetts.
You know what would make an excellent religion? That the world is a computer game and so we must make offerings to the players controlling our lives and our universe.
What would an offering consist of you ask? Why, whatever you think would make your player happy. If you believe helping out the poor and the sick would make them happy, do that. Think amassing vast amount of resources while others starve is what would grease their gears? Get after it! The best part of being a Computerist is that you can tell if it’s working! Do the thing, if your life gets better, it is working! If it doesn’t try something else until it does work.
Of course then we have to decide what it means for a life to get better. This is also pretty much trial and error. Don’t like where you’re living? Move. If you’re always honest and your life sucks, maybe you should try lying. That might impress the player. Should I capitalize player? Nah, I like the idea of a lower case deity. It’s just some outer space nerd playing video games after all.
Wait, you might be say, shouldn’t you avoid insulting your player? I have no idea. Despite founding the religion, I have no more knowledge as to how to benefit from it than you do. So far it seems like my player likes me ok, knows I talk a bit of shit and the player doesn’t mind, at least if the quality of my life is any indication. It hasn’t been perfect, but I have to say, it’s been good. A few ups, a few downs, a lot of decency. Player, you’re doing fine by my book. Hopefully the fact I discovered you doesn’t fuck with the algorithm.
So, you make offerings to please the players, you have to just guess what your individual player wants from you, and you gauge the success of your offerings on the quality of your life, and adjust accordingly. I’m going to need someone else to take this on though, I already have a religion to run.
That guy who got significantly less votes than his opponent, but then is still president because the several people in North Dakota get as many votes as the entire West Coast, made a speech yesterday. I felt it elicited a response.
Regarding the World War Two veterans and the astronauts who went to the moon, great job. Really, that was super cool. It was awesome how the WWII veterans defeated an entire nation consumed with the hatred of foreigners and religious minorities. I loved it when they did that. Specifically when they destroyed the Nazis, because Nazis are scumbags. Going to the moon was awesome too, it was really sweet how the nation used the money made from a tax rate of about 70% on any income over the equivalent of $700,000. It’s almost like if we make really wealthy people pay back into the system that allowed them to get so stinking rich, then we can do really amazing things. Maybe we should try that again.
Pretty hilarious this guy talking about overcoming partisanship. Anyone who takes that seriously has been living under a twitter free rock for the last couple years. Anyone pretending to is a hack.
I see he invited the families of people murdered by illegal immigrants. You know who isn’t here? The families of children murdered by other children. The families of people accidentally murdered by their own children. The families of people murdered en masse by some strange psychopath with an arsenal fit for a squadron of soldiers. The families of people murdered by an abusive spouse. I feel bad for the families who lost their kids, but seems like a pretty horrible way to try and make a point, parading their grief as if it proves anything.
Ah yes, the economy. Remember when the policies of George W. Bush destroyed the economy, and then Barack Obama built it back into one of the strongest in the world? Because this guy does not remember it. His good buddy Sean Hannity, a moron, denied it was even happening while it very clearly and obviously happened. Glad it’s still going strong though, way to not destroy it yet.
As far as wages going up, I’m glad to hear it. When it hits $15 an hour in Las Cruces, in El Paso, in Kansas City, let me know. That’s the baseline. In New York it should be twice that, same as in Seattle, and in San Francisco. There is exactly zero rationality behind allowing a handful of people to have billions and billions of dollars, while others starve to death. There is no justification for anyone having so much money that they couldn’t spend all of it on themselves in a million years, while children sit freezing in their homes, gnawing on bread and drinking poisoned water. We have to abandon the idea that billionaires are a laudable part of the American Dream. Their existence is a travesty, a mistake. Raising wages significantly is only the first step, and it must go hand in hand with ways to bolster our small, independent businesses, but it is the first step.
It doesn’t matter how much energy we can export (or that we are a net exporter thanks primarily to the policies of the previous president). All that matters is that we stop destroying the planet to do so. There is a big ball of thermonuclear energy sitting in the sky, ready to power millions of homes. There’s a gentle breeze outside of my window ready to augment that power. The way we discovered to power our cars and lightbulbs 150 years ago was literally the worst way to do so. We should divorce ourself from this idiotic method and become the world’s leader in renewable energy.
Ha! He actually said that the government can’t function while the president is being investigated. That is the government functioning, dummy!
Prison sentencing reform is huge, and an actual bright spot. The First Step Act, a truly bipartisan bill, is a tremendous achievement. My favorite part is that the bill acknowledges that locking people in a cage for some period of time, having them grounded by the federal government for being naughty, does not improve our society. Not every person who has committed a crime could earn their way back into civilization, but every person ought to have a chance. When they do, when they graduate or earn that certification, when they find work, when they’ve been successfully reporting to a PO for a significant period, these people need to be recognized as full citizens, voting rights and all.
Oh, I was wondering if he was going to discuss the wall. You know what would make me believe this administration cares about immigrants? If they didn’t separate small children from families seeking asylum. If they acknowledged the role United States policy had in rendering so many Central and South American countries impoverished. Even just an acknowledgement that it was totally hypocritical for the children of immigrants who live here now, which is everyone that isn’t Native American, to deny right of entry to those who wish to follow in those ancestors footprints. It is all the more stunning given that we took the whole of the Southwest, including all of California, from Mexico by force less than 200 years ago. Imagine that happening today, the United States deciding to annex the rest of Mexico. If we did, it wouldn’t even be a fraction of what we have already taken.
Our approach to immigration should take into account the fact that the vast majority of people in this country are the progeny of immigrants. It should take into account that this land was occupied by societies that were 10,000 years old before Europeans arrived and tried very hard to destroy them completely. It should take into account those same Europeans built this nation through the widespread use of human beings who were kidnapped, beaten, tortured, had their children pried from their arms, and forced to work under threat of death for over 200 years. There is no “our” that this land belongs to, this land can only be morally justified if it is approached as an experiment, one in which people from all over the world can partake in. This was not the intent of the founders of this country, not really, but it is a contemporary manifestation of the idea of the Land of the Free. Open the borders wide, provide support systems for every single human, and treat each individual with respect and judicial equality, that is the American Dream.
Great, a new trade deal, I’m sure everyone in the Apple factories all over China are super excited. the fact is that if we aren’t working to ensure that the people building our phones, computers, cars, and televisions aren’t being treated as human beings, then we are destroying peoples lives by proxy. If there are people working in sweatshops, we are employing them. If the United States is to have any relevance in the discussion of raising the standard of living across the world, that is where it starts. From what I can tell, our trade deals only affect the amount of money people who already have billions make. The prices of these things might go up or down, but until they go up in order to provide a decent wage to the people constructing these things, it’s almost irrelevant. The only relevance is to the degree the poor in our country are affected, caused to be unable to buy the things that they need, and that is a discussion that revolves around minimum wage, not trade.
Yeah, medicine is really expensive. I’m legitimately glad this is being acknowledged. Also, you know how if you are pregnant, you have to have money to have your baby in a hospital? That seems bad, too. Also all those people who lose their houses over medical care, many of whom are insured. Hey, remember how the government uses a bunch of its money to provide roads, bridges, public schools, the post office, national parks, police, and defense? What if it provided healthcare too? It seems like that would fall right in line all those things. Unless you are making millions and billions off of our current lack of a healthcare system, you don’t have an argument. We need to give every person in the United States access to medical care regardless of their financial situation. As of right now, if we do cure AIDS and cancer, it will only be for those who can afford the treatments. That is cruel. It cannot be acceptable.
Here’s a bone for the pro-lifers. Remember when men were told that they had to raise any and every child they fathered, regardless of the circumstances? Oh, that didn’t happen? Huh, then maybe we shouldn’t ask women to either.
Venezuela was brought down through the government selling out its resources to make a few people rich while the rest of the country starved. If that’s socialism, we’re already there. If you mean the kind of socialism where the government collects taxes to provide basic resources to the citizens, things like roads, bridges, public schools, the post office, national parks, police, and defense, we actually aren’t that far off either. Ensure a basic standard of living through a progressive minimum wage, and ensure that every person in the United States has access to health care, and we are in. We essentially have a foot on two different paths, the one that leads to a Venezuelan situation is not far away, and creeping closer all the time, but neither is the one that leads us to being a truly first world, 21st century, society.
Talking about the Middle East always reminds me of a Bill Hicks bit about using our weaponized technology to instead shoot food into people’s mouths. I’m tired of this president, he could have decided to focus solely on the expansion and improvement of infrastructure, on developing an exploratory space program, on being the leader who fully invested in 21st century energy, and brought its vast riches to the United States. Instead the hands of billionaires are shoved up his backside, flapping his mouth about. These ventriloquists shout about horror and fear and hate, but in every instance, even where the problems are very real, its only purpose is to distract the masses from the happiness and resources that it is being deprived of, in order to ensure that these billionaires keep their Scrooge McDuck silos of gold.
I do not believe they will win. There is a bright side to this circus of a presidency, and that is the fact it has brought together millions of people who aren’t willing to live in this world anymore. I’m so happy to see women saying they won’t put up with the bullshit of entitled men anymore, and I am just as happy to see men agreeing with them. I love seeing progressive nations around the world embracing renewable energy, and am hopeful it isn’t too late. I’m heartened by the politicians getting arrested at airports for defending a human beings right to be of their religion. I’m so glad to see people standing up for their kids, be they gay, transgender, non-binary, or anything else. I’m particularly happy about the kids stating without question that they will not stand to live in a world where going to school feels like stepping on to a battlefield. I am no Pollyanna, there is so much work to do, and it feels like for every step forward we’ve taken in the last 300 years, we are taking two steps back. I see a future, however, in which we’ve gained each of those steps and a thousand times more.
The Church of Black Coffee
p.s. I don’t know why I even talk, Bill Hicks always already said it better.
Here’s the deal, I’m not sure all the words and stuff we’re building prove any kind of meaningful intelligence.
As far as the words go, most animals have a way to communicate the desire for coitus, impending danger, and food. It might just be the case that they don’t have any inclination to talk about anything else. I’m not sure the fact us sapiens can’t keep our mouth shut about anything makes us smarter than them.
Then there’s the building stuff part. I gotta say, seems like any animal that doesn’t have to destroy its habitat to live in it is smarter than we are. Take the fridge away from most humans and they are dead in a week, that seems kind of stupid really. It isn’t just that we can’t live in the forest, it’s that we have to chop the forest down in order to not live in it.
We can’t even use the stuff that was already lying around, the stuff every single other species on the planet thrives on without any kind of a problem. We have to make totally new shit out of everything, we have to chop trees down, how else could we have pencils? Or a place to sit? We figure out how to make plastic, quickly realize that plastic is killing everything on the planet, and so decide to make way more of it.
Now, I’m not that naive, I know the background. Destroying the planet makes people rich, so isn’t it smart to do that? Well, what the fuck? Figure out a way to get rich without destroying the goddamn planet if you’re such a genius. Maybe you can’t, but that still leaves the question of whether it is intelligent to covet massive amounts of wealth. Doesn’t it seem like achieving even the smallest degree of wisdom would involve understanding the limited capacity money has to cause happiness?
Now before you go calling me a hypocrite, allow me. I’m writing words on a plastic computer sitting on a wood desk. If blathering on while destroying the planet means being an idiot, then I’m an idiot.
Yesterday was Christmas, in case you missed that. I think the idea that there is a war on Christmas is funny, it is literally everywhere. If you’re a Christian, the problem isn’t people abandoning Christmas, it’s too many people embracing it, enjoying the traditions without any regard to the religious aspect. Christmas is turning Halloween, losing its religiosity as more and more people embrace it. Or maybe the Christians just tricked everyone in to celebrating their savior’s birthday. Anyway, we had a great time, just sat around the the house and played with toys all day.
I got a guitar last year, and so leading up to the day I was working on some Christmas songs. So then I played them. Now it’s December 26th and I can’t play those songs for 11 months, so what am I supposed to do? Being stupid, my first thought was in regards to what the next holiday would be, as opposed to maybe thinking about the several non-holiday songs that I could learn, and realized it is Valentine’s Day, and that there are no Valentine Day songs.
Now, I know that every other song in existence is about falling in or out of love, which puts it into somewhat of the same category as Valentine’s Day, but they are not Valentine’s Day songs. This is the holiday of love, the primary muse of music, if every popular song in existence is any evidence, and not a single song in its celebration. Maybe that’s ok. They’d pretty much just be variations on Whitney Houston singing “I Will Always Love You”.
I meant to do that, by the way, put the period after the quotation marks. I’m quoting the song title, then the sentence ends. I’m not quoting the end of the sentence, the quotation marks are specifying exactly what it is I am quoting. Andy Rooney agrees with me. He did, anyway.
So, I guess I’ll learn some non-holiday songs instead. Oh wait, the next holiday is New Year’s Eve! Which has exactly one song. Tom Waits did a version of it that should be the definitive version, if it isn’t.
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On old long syne.
On old long syne my Jo,
On old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
On old long syne.
You might be interested to know I time travelled here from the year 1984. It was easy, I did it one year at a time. I know what it would take to get back too, but I don’t know how to do it. All it would take is reversing all of the physical processes long enough for the earth to go the wrong way around the sun 34 times, spinning in reverse the whole time. So if anyone can figure out how that works let me know.
I don’t want to go back to 1984 though, I’d just like to see if it was possible. I don’t even really want to go back to last week if I don’t have to. The problem with going back is that in reversing every physical process, the process of forming my memories would reverse as well. So in 1984 I would be a squalling baby who has lost all of the knowledge it’s taken me 34 years to gain, assuming I have gained any to lose of course. I couldn’t make any new decisions either, assuming that the re-reversal of physical processes didn’t alter the subsequent progression of events. So for every situation I found myself in, I would have the same prior knowledge I had the first time, and no knowledge of the impact of my decision, and so there is no reason to assume I would do anything but make the same 34 years of ‘decisions’ all over again.
Now that I think of it maybe this shit happens all the time, physical processes going forward and backward, we’d never know.
This little thought experiment seems to demonstrate that movement forward in time is just the natural progression of events, and that movement backwards in time is just the reversal of that progression. If that’s the case, then time isn’t anything outside of the physical processes of the universe. It’s not a special little dimension, it’s not its own thing at all. Just a way of talking about change on the directional stage of the universe. You could never go back in time and tell yourself to do whatever, because you are the only you in existence, there is no other you to visit. See, this is what I get for writing one of these while I’m waiting for my coffee to steep, or whatever you call it when it’s sitting in the french press becoming coffee before you plunge it, now time doesn’t exist. Gonna be a long day.
If you are willing to risk your life for a worthy cause, then you ought to be recognized by others for doing so.
Enlisting in the military is risking your life.
The military exists to defend a nation.
The defense of a nation is a worthy cause.
So those people who have enlisted in the military ought to be recognized by others for doing so.
I find premises 3 and 4 to be questionable, for many reasons, but that isn’t my point here. I have friends and family who are veterans and I care about them very much, and I believe they joined the military because they believe in premises 3 and 4, that’s my point.
Today is Veteran’s Day. A day in which we give thanks to all of the people who have served in the Armed Forces. How do we thank them? By having this day! Where everybody who is off of work sits around and thinks about how great all those veterans are, wherever they may be. Maybe we post a picture of grandpa and Uncle Joe on the internet with a caption about how proud we are. In the meantime, 40,000 veterans will be sleeping on the street tonight, almost half of those being veterans of color, and another 1.5 million veterans are on the brink of joining them. I wonder what they think about Veteran’s Day?
The government spends more than half of its money on defense. This is in a country where if you want to have your baby in a hospital you better have cash, and you better get your ass to work the next day. A country where you have to spend $80,000 to get a job that pays $40,000 a year. A country where vast amounts of people are struggling to survive off of food stamps that are under constant threat of being taken away. We spend so much money on defense, in lieu of so much else, and yet we let even those who served in that respect suffer once their tour of duty has concluded.
For today to mean much, it needs to be backed up by a system that takes care of those people who believed in 3 and 4 so much that they abandoned the possibility of an easier and more stable life to prove it. In a perfect world, today ought to be a day that we remember those ancestors of ours who fought in wars that actually meant anything. The fact that this nation constantly produces new veterans without really explaining what the hell anybody is fighting for is ridiculous.
So, an election already happened, so I can’t really encourage you to vote. Even if I did, this isn’t an issue people make paramount to their campaign, though those candidates in favor of strengthening social services are the closest. If I have any advice, I suppose it’s to not just let days like this drift by. Today is meant to be a day to reflect on the sacrifices of veterans, so let’s do that, but do so in a way that lends itself to action. It isn’t the sacrifices that veterans chose to make that ought to drive our reflection, but the veterans who have been sacrificed by the very nation they sought to defend.
If curse words are intrinsically harmful then they should not be allowed to be said in certain situations.
Nothing can be intrinsically harmful because of arbitrary reasons.
If curse words are intrinsically harmful then it is because of arbitrary reasons.
So, curse words are not intrinsically harmful.
So, it is not the case curse words should not be allowed to be said in certain situations.
Let’s make a few distinctions. Curse words regards words that have many synonyms that are not curse words, but mean the same thing. Shit is a great example, it has many, many synonyms that are not curse words, poop, doo-doo, kaka, crap, etc. Are they impolite words? Sure, but they are not considered intrinsically harmful the way the word ‘shit’ is.
Curse words are not slurs. Slurs are words that are intrinsically harmful, as they denigrate entire groups of people as if those groups are not composed of individuals. Therefore, the allowability of curse words is distinct from the allowability of slurs.
My third premise is that if curse words are intrinsically harmful then it is because of arbitrary reasons, and as that cannot be the case, curse words cannot be intrinsically harmful.
In less academic terms, cursing is a stupid concept designed to distract people from actual problems. Even the adjective ‘curse’ reveals the idiocy of this concept, it literally suggest a word like ‘fuck’ has magical properties. It does not, it’s just a goofy word. Should everyone say ‘fuck’ all the time? Of course not, just like no one should say ‘splendiferous’ all the time, because that would be terrible.
Consider what is allowed on network television, the incredible violence, sexual aggression, the prioritization of money over human beings, the wanton disregard for suffering around the world. Not the word ‘asshole’ though! Gotta have standards! Should radio stations have to make a beeping noise instead of the word ‘fuck’ though? No, goddammit, of course not! That’s insane!
It also teaches us that the words we use are more important than the content of our speech. If little Johnny calls Sally dumb we barely bat an eye, but if he calls he fucking dumb then it’s straight to principal’s office. There is no qualitative difference, in each case Johnny is using words hurtfully, but the lesson Johnny learns is he can harass people all he wants as long as he doesn’t use certain words.
We have picked a stupid battle to fight, and it is time to recognize it. If we abandon this childish obsession with naughty words, those words stop being naughty, and we can all focus on actual problems. The fact of the matter is that Johnny needs to learn that what he intends to cause with his words is what matters, and if it is meanness and pain, then that’s a problem, regardless of the actual words used. In truth, it’s a lesson we all need to learn, myself included.
Lately I’ve been thinking, and writing, about how nothing in the universe actually matters in any objective sense, and how given that our consciousness is only mud risen to reflect on mud, before becoming mud yet again, we ought not let stress consume us. These fundamental aspects of my belief system are my xanax, my zoloft, my therapist, and my couch. The crippling anxiety that regularly rides up my spine is alleviated, not suppressed but actually dispersed, through my reflection on, what I perceive to be, these truths.
A potential argument against such a viewpoint is that it could lead to apathy, and indeed it could. Why wouldn’t it? Life doesn’t matter, why strive to improve it? To this I can only offer the obvious alternative question; why not? Strive to improve it! March in the streets! Vote! Run for office! Write letters to the editor! Build a shelter! Dig a well! Go do something! You know what stops people from trying to make things better? Fear that they will fail, and it will all have been in vain. Good news everyone! It is all in vain! Not doing anything is all in vain! So, if nothing matters at all, you might as well shoot for the goddamn moon!
Besides, just because life doesn’t have any objective value doesn’t mean it can’t have subjective value. You’ll be dead soon enough, may as well get a little life in while you have the chance. This can be an argument for bungee jumping and skydiving and swimming with supreme court justices, but if you’re willing to take significant risks, then make them in the pursuit of bettering the fleeting and meaningless existences of your fellow earthlings. Life doesn’t matter, so get on your soap box on the corner and rally against the injustice of charging pregnant mother’s to have their baby in a hospital. Life doesn’t matter, so call your senator to express your horror at their lapses in intelligence. Life doesn’t matter, so knock on every door in your neighborhood to ask them for a dollar to send to starving families in Syria. Life doesn’t matter, so eat the rich, feed the poor, and buy as much Bornean rainforest as you can afford and donate it to an orangutan sanctuary. Why not? It might not work, it may make no difference at all, and you might have wasted your effort. But good news, eventually the sun will swallow the earth so nothing matters on a cosmic time frame anyway! You’re failures are just as irrelevant as your successes, but aren’t successes so much more fun?
Apathy is for the scared and weak, the people who foolishly believe things matters, and so refuse to try things. Things don’t matter,so try them all! Choose pathy!
I’m an atheist. I don’t think it’s the most interesting thing about me, it isn’t something I need tattooed on my forehead, I have other beliefs that would seem to annoy people who disagree with me far more. None of these things would have been true a decade ago, when I was beating people over the head with “The God Delusion”, but you live, learn, and become a determinist. That is a good book though, I should probably read it again.
At any rate, as an atheist, I find the idea of heaven and hell to be laughable. How convenient! Scared of death? Don’t worry! You can’t die, ever. But, if you follow my rules, you live forever in paradise, if you don’t though, just fyi, you burn in hell.
The whole idea of infinite existence is exhausting in either situation, who has the energy for that? If there is a heaven, it’d be punctuated life times in various enjoyable situations. It’d need to have context in order for the joy to be experienced though, otherwise you have the gambler in that Twilight Zone episode where he always wins vibe going on.
That scenario is actually in line with the machinations behind my own secret desire for life after death. This variety of the afterlife, essentially repetitions with variation of the kind of life I lead now seems possible without divine intervention, via two physically possible scenarios. One is that the universe contracts and expands repeatedly, and does so with slight variations. Infinite iterations of the universe lead to a great number of universes in which you exist in some form or another. Life after death!
Another is what is called the coke bottle theory, or I think it’s called that. I think Brian Greene called it that. At any rate, what it comes down to is that in a given area of space there will only be so much material. Too much and it’ll form a black hole, too little and it will disperse to other areas. Given that there can only be so much material, it can only take so many forms. Given enough space and time, those forms will repeat. So, some of those forms will include me sitting at this computer drinking instant coffee because the goddamn jug part of our french press keeps breaking and you can’t just buy the jug part you have to buy a whole new french press and now I’ve got multiple presses and no jugs. Someday I’ll die, but the universe will repeat that french press-less form of me at the computer and presto, life after death!
It’s baloney. One, the universe isn’t contracting, and shows no signs of ever doing so, and if it doesn’t contract it can’t expand. This is the only universe we get, so don’t litter! Even if it did, and in the coke bottle theory of the afterlife, the best you could hope for is that the universe construct an exact replica of yourself, right down to the genetic code. In order for that to be “you” though, you’d have to have some continuity of consciousness, that replication would have to somehow cause you to come online again, which it wouldn’t, because if it did then identical twins would be experiencing each other’s lives, and, as far as I know, they don’t.
So, no afterlife. Which is fine, really. You get to be alive! What crazy universe is this that the dirt stands up and looks at itself? Almost too good to be true. It also alleviates any and all concerns of alternative timelines. There are none. Every choice you’ve ever made is the only choice you will ever make in that exact situation, there is never going to be a do over. So get over it already!
Unless of course this is all just a video game, and maybe I’ve got another guy after this one!