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Literature / The Egg

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"The Egg" is a 2009 short story which launched the career of Andy Weir. It has been translated into over 30 languages, and was the basis for the rapper Logic's 2017 album Everybody. In September 2019, the German animation studio Kurzgesagt released a short video based on the story.

The story picks up immediately after the protagonist (only identified by the pronoun "you") has died, and is now talking to God. As "you" and God converse before you set off to begin your next life, God explains the nature of life, death, and the universe itself. By the story's end, it is revealed that "you" and God are the only beings in all the universe. Every human being in the world is just a different incarnation of "you", and every act, good or evil, done to others, is good or evil done to oneself. The whole universe is functionally akin to an egg; "you" are also destined to "hatch" into Godhood, but first you must mature by living every life. From there, God sends "you" on your way.

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"The Egg" contains examples of:

  • All Myths Are True: Discussed. Upon learning that "you" are going to be reincarnated, the protagonist posits this must mean Hinduism had it right. God just says that all religions are right in their own way. Echoes of imagery and teaching is scattered throughout the story, such as God identifying the protagonist as "my child", an Abrahamic idea, or the Buddhist teachings of sunyata or anatman, in which there is no true separation between one person and another.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Once every life has been lived, "you" will become a God.
  • Cosmic Egg: All the universe is functionally an egg, with all sentient beings (or being) as the developing embryo.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing: God is only ever identified by the pronoun "I" and the protagonist is only ever identified by the pronoun "you". The only implication of the protagonist's gender is the fact that "you" were married to a woman in the most recent life, but that is not relevant to the story.
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  • God: The narrator of the story, creator of this universe who dispenses the secrets of the universe to the protagonist.
  • God in Human Form: God is described as looking generally unremarkable - just an ordinary but vaguely authoritative person of no specifiable gender.
    Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
  • Hive Mind: Played with. All humans have one common spiritual essence, but manifest in so many different ways that they are diverse and often conflict with each other.
  • Humans Are Special: Humans are all just one cosmic essence that is gradually maturing. Once every human life has been lived, the entity shall take its place with God.
  • Liminal Time: In the space between the previous life and the next, the protagonist learns (and likely re-learns) the truth of the universe.
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  • The Multiverse: Implied. God explains to there are others of "my kind", and in fact humanity is an immature God that will "hatch" at the end of the universe.
  • Reincarnation: The protagonist has just completed a life in which "you" died in a car accident at the age of 48, leaving behind a wife and two children. God explains that "you" will next be a peasant girl in Yuan dynasty China.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Thoroughly averted. Everyone "you" have met or ever will meet is another incarnation of yourself, as is every historical figure you have ever heard of. In an interesting subversion, you have been meeting yourself for the entire existence of humankind.
  • Philosophical Parable: A short story musing on life, death, God, the universe, and humanity.
  • What If God Was One of Us?: All of us are a God in the making.
  • You All Share My Story: Every human being is ultimately the same person inhabiting a different life.
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