How Can Forever Be Anything but Hell?

First: This post contains spoilers for The Good Place. If you haven’t watched the finale yet, do not read any further. Or read on, and on your head be it.

As y’all are aware, I’m a huge fan of The Good Place. The finale left me very thoughtful indeed, and I believe they came up with an excellent response to the question of ‘what happens when you get bored with forever?’ And let us make no mistake, that would happen. Think about it. Forever. While it’s a term we throw around casually, it’s a concept we’re not really capable of grasping well.

The Good Place was confronted with a Heaven that is functionally no different from hell. Souls were devoid of all personality, all intellect, all joy. Because there was no meaning. Human beings constantly look for meaning, whether it’s exploring the mysteries of the universe or questioning the reason for our own existence. Having all questions answered and at your fingertips will eventually wear thin; even 70 virgins will get boring after a while. So what’s the solution?

The Good Place came to the conclusion that for humans, things must end. Eleanor pointed out that ‘Humans are always just a little bit sad because we know that some day, we’re going to die. Sucks, but that’s the deal.’

I think it is that finality that pushes us to give our lives meaning. We don’t get it from something external to us, because what would the point of that be? There is an end. And that’s just the deal. Forever would, eventually, become hell because existence forever with no challenges to solve and nothing to do is antithetical to what it is to be human.

Unless you’re Janet, of course, because then all times are now.


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