Monthly Archives: September 2009

David Eagleman, "Circle of Friends"

After you die, you stop meeting new people.

(from Sum)

Another amazing and brief imagining of the afterlife, with a killer last line I didn’t see coming and won’t spoil except to say it’s a thinker. In fact, Sum contains 41 different ideas on what the afterlife might be like, and all are so tiny they are bound to raise more questions than they can answer in a page or two. It’s all bare bones when you leave the flesh behind.

David Eagleman, "Sum"

After you die you do your life with new sorted by functions.

(from Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives)

In the afterlife you relive all your experiences, but this time with the events reshuffled into a new order: all the moments that share a quality are grouped together.

That’s the first line. From there, it becomes a list of what you relive and how long. Simple, short, brilliant, weirdly blissful. I heard this story read by Jeffrey Tambor on RadioLab recently, which is what prompted me to go out and buy the book. You can read “Sum” here. But I also recommend you check out the “After Life” episode of RadioLab and subscribe tot he podcast. It turns me on to interesting things all the time.