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The Book Club

Andy Weir’s “The Egg”

Taken from https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1431492647l/17563539.jpg.This is part of my “A Book A Week” endeavour, an extension of The Book Club I started on this blog when I was completing my National Service.

Much of the attention surrounding Andy Weir’s “The Egg” focuses on the proposed (religious) philosophy premised upon reincarnation, which asserts that the entire universe has been created as an egg for the protagonist – and by extension, the reader – and that with each death an individual goes through a perpetual process of reincarnation, living every human life ever across every possible timepoint, with the eventual implication that after he or she has lived every possible human life, he or she would grow to become God. Anchoring this passage from one life to the next is the objective of growth or development: “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature … I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect”.

The implication of an individual being different people at the same time – and as aforementioned, across different times too – leads to a reflection about how one (should) conduct(s) himself or herself and interact(s) with his or her other selves. A concluding remark also alludes to the biblical reference to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”: “Every time you victimised someone … you were victimising yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you”. In other words, underlying a seemingly fantastical narrative which may or may not be true within this fictional context appears to be a simple request for the protagonist to always treat others in his lives with respect and kindness.

Notwithstanding the plausibility of the scenario, “The Egg” probably raises a variety of other questions and possibilities which could be explored in longer narratives. For instance: If the protagonist is said to eventually become God, who is this “God” he is interacting with, and what does it mean for religion and the coexistence of multiple higher beings? Is there something more to the protagonist’s recent life – of being remembered by his children but having had a less-than-ideal marriage – and to his next life as a Chinese peasant girl, what about the complexity of being everyone, of having been or going to be different incarnations of one self? And more fundamentally, did Weir intend for this reincarnation premise to be serious, or just a device to educate and to move the protagonist along to his next life?

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.

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