The Egg by Andy Weir
What this short story tells us about the human condition.
This story is one of my favorite things in existence! If you know me, you know I love things that make you think and offer some sort of explanation or sense in this very nonsensical world. In the literal sense, the short story is about a man that dies and meets god (to quote the story, if that makes you uncomfortable, "don't be sad, everyone dies.") But as it goes with all stories, it's the metaphorical, emotional, and philosophical ideas behind the literal story that give it meaning. "The Egg" takes "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" to a whole other level. I've linked an animated version of the story by Kurzgesagt below (I suggest you watch it even if you've read "The Egg" before because the graphics are gorgeous!) Brace yourself, it's pretty deep and the concept will really make you think, but that's what a good story should do!
I also want to remind you that this particular interpretation of what happens after we die is not the point I'm getting at. This depiction is very far from what I believe happens after death and I'm not trying to push any doctrine on you! Don't take that aspect too literally, I'll explain what I took from the story below!
"Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine."
So What's the Point?
My biggest takeaway relates to the duality of humankind. I think we can all agree that there's good and bad associated with our species 😅. Many people believe that this duality exists because humanity is made up of good people and bad people. But from The Egg, we learn that the duality of humankind exists because there is the capacity for both good and bad within every one of us. We are Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth, Jesus and his disciples, Hitler, and the millions he killed. The only difference between us is the set of circumstances we happen to have been plopped into. This is an idea that I've touched on in my 4 Universal Truths to Heal Anxiety post, so it may sound familiar.
Does this concept scare you? I know it can be intimidating to view yourself as someone capable of bad things, but it doesn't have to be. This concept can allow you to give people grace where you can by accepting the idea that everyone you meet, whether they seem "good" or "bad", is just a product of their environment. Personally, this really helped me when I felt like I had lost all of my faith in humanity. It reminds me that everyone is doing their best with the cards they've been dealt.
After snooping around for more about the author's inspiration for the story, I found that Andy Weir himself said, “It originally came up because I was having an argument with my aunt. I thought her point of view was ridiculous. Then, later I figured if I had lived her life, her opinion would make perfect sense to me. That got me thinking about a system where people live each others’ lives.”
"Every time you victimized someone, you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you've done, you've done to yourself."
Maybe the Universe Really is an Egg...
I firmly believe that we see others through our own aspirations and insecurities. When you take a liking to someone it's because you relate to them in some way or you may even aspire to be like them. Similarly, we may feel deep hatred or even pity for some people because we see traits in them that we despise in ourselves. Don Miguel Ruiz talks about this in his book "The Four Agreements." He explained that we are all mirrors, and when we see the beauty in others, it's really a reflection of ourselves. You can read more about it in my post 2 Books that will Change your Life.
On a more grand scale, the reason we can't help but cry when we see others cry is the same reasoning behind MLK's "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere", and similar still is the phrase "how you do anything is how you do everything." It's because beyond all of your assumptions about people, circumstances, and the complexities of the world, deep down, your intuition tells you that we're all the same. We all want to be happy, feel fulfilled, and be loved. Through that, we're far more similar than we are different.
So if life is just a recurring cycle of seeing yourself in every aspect of the world (whether good or bad), maybe it's all one endless loop. Maybe the universe really is an egg?
Thanks for reading to the end!💖 You have to let me know what you think about the story and my takeaways! Did the story make you think? Did you like it? Do you have other takeaways? Feel free to DM me on insta (@ariels_view)!