"6" is a guess because who knows how much we've referred to this in ways that could be considered part of a series.
Reality is infinite and eternal, and perhaps it is best approached from a local perspective in the manner of dispelling a notion of beginnings and endings. The verse is omnipresent in the sense that it was and will always be here, and dismissing incorrect local versions of starts and finishes, and not dismissing cause and effect as notions entirely but understanding that by their nature of happening within eternity they are themselves eternal, for each effect can be explained only through a large number of causes, like unto infinity from our perspective, which themselves stretch backward often through infinite time and defy our notion of neatly packaged definitions of cause and effect, ergo it's more a matter to us of feeling cause and effect than identifying it or knowing it like some equation we really intelligently finished on, say, a sheet of paper. Because an infinite set of causes, in some philosophical ways, is like the butterfly effect times infinity, and there's no way to reasonably argue that any of them was more influential than any other, ergo the "cause" as to the "effect," so you see how it gets rather impossible to use those words with a straight face in infinite time; there has to be an agreed upon set of artificial rules and parameters in shared employ for those words to mean anything. Not because this is necessarily the best verbiage, but the most effective for those of us with a Terran background right now.
(Re cause and effect, imagine someone punches you in the nose [cause] so your nose hurts [effect]. But he did it because he was feeling extra irritated that day because he got fired. And the boss made the decision then because he was stressed about money because his girlfriend reminded him about the required diamond because she saw a special on gems that she only saw because her girlfriend casually mentioned it during a conversation at the mall because light glinted off the jewelry counter as they walked by because Jake diligently fixed the lights before opening changing the angle slightly and he felt limber since he finally used that totally gay coupon for a massage place where only the dudes work and he only gave in because last night there was some TV program about brotherhood of men and it was bullshit because I guess it got to Jake and the scheduler only used it because that rich dude backed out of funding the thing on local fire department management scandals which he only did because...cause, cause, cause. It goes back a long way and it's all a cause and to figure out why your nose hurts takes a lot more than the understanding of just the "most proximate cause" and gets philosophical when you consider that people are filled with all sorts of potential and maybe the cause of a cause is actually more important to possibility than the most proximate cause, because of course if someone says something sarcastic to Jerry about making rent there will be an episode of yelling or violence that day, and of course if Wanda has a bad time at work due to Francis' elbow acting up again and making her snippy then she's going to make a cutting remark about Jerry's fiscal prowess.)
(Which ties in to conversation and connection. Like, if I say, "Where you from?" you might reply "Sigma 6K" and it might be technically true, but it's more meaningful to our conversation if you just say "Albuquerque," because my question there was "where were you born most recently as a human?" rather than "where did your molecules first take existential shape in the form in which I see them now?" Any number of other assholes could provide any number of other confusing but technically true answers, but it's the same way as a lot of common kinds of interactions, including conversation, where an unspoken, nebulous trust is required for the binding to work, as easy to spoil as it is to create. And logically, you can prove neither that the question was asked nor answered, because existence could itself be an illusion or they could be spontaneously channeling different languages which meant different things, et cetera times infinity, and it takes a level of trust and intuition to understand what is probably happening and react accordingly. The "kill him" line, "You know what has to be done," is indecipherable to those who don't really know what's being discussed, even with an advanced English textbook at hand.)
In that context, selfishly as to our right now, we can conceive of an uncertainty of and over an unknowable creator who in many ways doesn't matter. Reality may be, in this way, likened to the leftover scraps from the divine clockmaker's workshop, in the sense of anthropomorphized takes or appeals to any such clockmaker being wholly irrelevant to material organization in our vicinity for a time span of, say, a thousand years, therefore being to a spurty little human "totally irrelevant." Ergo existential qualms about "who created us" are not merely untimely but irrelevant. (Not to be facetious or to cleverly hint at some super entity I'm not going to talk about, but really, to say it's not relevant, it's not only so temporally distant a question but so irrelevant in other ways that it's just stupid to ponder in the sense of answers not mattering even if they are reached and the search being way less fruitful than other things..)
One of the properties of this reality is complexification, or the tendency of growing more complicated material structures, easily fractalized through a life, not only due to the increasing ability of the human to understand what it might call complexity, but to its increasing ability to expose itself to such complexity. We are, in short, dwelling inside a clockwork that is not very responsive to our desires, does not have nor show a human face to our concerns whatever they may be, and which is even now making our forms and concerns irrelevant as time continues as it always has, using us for the only objectively useful thing we can accomplish, namely creating and accumulating memories. It is a separate matter of debate of whether or not this process of cycling through more and more lives for any given memory condenser is itself part of a larger cycle, although fractally it probably is, although great arguments could be made that it is not and this is not really the place to understand them but it doesn't really change the mundane physics nor even some of the metaphysics of each time. So as to being worried about the meaning of life, we're concerned neither with a creator nor the implications of being part of a cyclically greater creation.
So, stuff bumps around the verse, and there might be a "uni" verse, and within that stuff, the things that are as complicated as us perform the function of having experiences that can and will be somewhat remembered. Those memories are, usually within a century, sucked up into that planet's stores and eventually, when that planet is destroyed, sucked up to some bigger storehouse, I'll just say "Axom" because of force of habit from where I was not many trips ago, but for God's sake the name isn't important here so much as it's sentimental to me, oh good grief I'm afraid to google it because in the way I anglicized it it might be some superconductor firm in Tennessee. The point is, there are other places to store more memories than the inhabitants of a single planet can accumulate or the planet itself can hold. Anyway, the great metaphysical quandary of our lives isn't so much a quandary as a rather rote natural function which is gathering memories, and this human part of it is more complex than ones before ergo can seem an apex to the novice, which of course is everyone because we're still here aren't we?
What metaphysical quandaries can we expose with this information? More important, especially on Terra, is whether it is accurate or not, and for the evidence of that we should not care about the ravings of some nut on the internet who claims to remember something from before, since there are people on the internet and in meatspace who say that about having met Gabriel or received a new message from God or some other like revelation, and it's cool that they're willing to act whatever to lend a spice of "maybe..." to whatever they say which may or may not be interesting. More important, more relevant to these suspicious minds (and they should be suspicious, given our current surroundings) are the things we can do independently, not concerned with any particular prophet nor groups of prophets, because self-evident things don't need that kind of crap, and it's sort of offensive to imagine any divine force choosing to channel such an important message through such a limited vessel and leaving everyone else out of the game unless they buy something. And there are no divine forces, except there are, beyond all conception, only they're outclassed by other things in the cycle and they have far more important things to do than affect here with some kind of foreshadowing of something that will happen anyway and will be mundane and predictable when it does. And this doesn't mean they're really cool or divine or worthy of some unique variety of respect, because you'll do it too; it's more of an explanation of why nobody shows up to hold your hand through any of this; not because no one likes you, but because it's inevitable anyway. And because there are other time-consuming, really enjoyable, really important things to do later, ergo we do not tend to see (as this one metaphorized before) many adults wanting to go to preschools to grab them all by the shoulders and scream "It's gonna get better!" about some or other complaint of limitation on the preschool life as it appears from adulthood.
Let's try to be more illustrative. What is life? Easy; simply; a process whereby light, developed to a certain level of complexity and having gained the ability to remember some of what has happened to it, forms and stores memories as what may be likened to an "energy source" for activities which we don't here understand. And what is death? A probably mandatory dump of the said energy source, designed to happen so that entities afflicted with life at this level of development can't, through the best of intentions, lock up the said memories forever, rendering them unusable for a long enough period of time. (Think the time you made the winning touchdown. Endlessly referenced in other memories, but the full intensity of living it is probably locked up in your head in full detail until that self is no more. ergo the cyclical "memory dump," or mandatory transfer protocol if you prefer more technical sounding language. If you stayed in our current mortal form forever, or for a thousand years, or whatever, that full memory would be locked up in your goop-brain, not in easily accessible storage). And what happens to us after death is the same as what happens to energy or material when it is rearranged; we pool wherever we're pulled, break apart again, reform again, and our matter goes somewhere, our energy somewhere, and our mind, or "soul," somewhere else, usually to be more involved with the memories as sort of a curator to our emotional selves here but actually more like something pulled by gravity into contacting something else. And maybe that's being a k'arash janitor and plopped into some new planet with the desire to destroy everything there, and maybe it's a new chance to generate new memories while not being interfered with by the old ones, so that all the stereotypical fears and assumptions and wonderings can be done all over again, but differently, increasing the quality, the complexity, of the final product. And that, despite the many pleasures incumbent upon the way, is why this isn't a paradise fantasy; it promises scary and sad things in proportion with the good ones, which may sound unimportant now but does not feel unimportant later. Ergo combining memory of the hottest person ever with desire for greatest sex or closest and truest connection ever, etc., produces results that feel good, but this is a chemistry that can and does mix the bad things, too, which sounds funny until you're actually facing, say, greatest childhood fear mixed with adult sensation of losing something really important and dealing with the consequences for a thousand years, and all the end result is cool but the process is not always enjoyable.
And we can tell this in part by the way material has evolved here, to the best of our ability, starting with, shall we say, "rocks," and ending (how temporally arrogant, but this one's just using local terms) with "humans" who are much more dynamic and efficient and energy-conduiting than, say, the cores of stars. Think beyond our extremely limited temporal perception of life, here; it is, in the short term more productive of light and energy, to create two stars (dammit, kind of an in joke it's so frustrating but seriously in a good-natured way still there are SO MANY of those idiots who make two stars and for a bunch of millennia they're parading around with the superior results and then a while later they're nowhere to be seen omigod it's so annoying how they do that) instead of one star surrounded by a bunch of smaller crap, but in a long enough time period the surrounding of smaller crap ends up producing a vast net gain in total energy output using the same starter materials (personal annoyance or minor strife with some idiot who's done humanity and yet does two stars like a complete moron I mean I like stars but come ON people). Because, for example, some of the smaller crap often becomes planets which might become habitats for some kind of life which might produce some kind of memories, or even conventionally, which might develop machines that mine other local planets, or that reproduces exponentially, or whatever, and in the long run, more energy is produced than just yet another star. The inexorable, complementary way that we can see how this process happened, independently among separated organisms whose genes weren't in cell phone contact yet working together in the tiniest and most intimate of ways (mentioning bees and flowers again), even just with Terran tech, and how it doesn't reverse itself (except for really stupid people being born, haha, seriously it's never reversed), can help us understand some of this picture on our own, without believing any yahoo we happen to find on this planet, including on the internet. And understanding the way evolution has worked, for so long, can help us understand how we came to be, and why we came to be, as though improved memory-generating and -storing entities were the goal of this place--and the coordination with which it happens, through seemingly independent organisms, helps us understand that there is some greater program which all those things are following, not a Random god nor a Firmament god, but something else that tries to generate this powerful and sophisticated and relatively rare energy source which we call memory. And that can make us feel good, the idea that after these bodies die, we can revisit those memories and develop new forms and make what we might call "better" memories and fulfill a function that we might call "higher," and our ability to subscribe to part of this "generate memory energy" feed can help us feel existentially fulfilled in many states, including having some weird kind of incredibly fulfilling nebulaic sex with one or sixteen partners who can also feel that feed and whom we feel closer to than as humans we can imagine, partly but not all as a result of the relatedness caused by our shared subscription to the corporate imperative of "dear staff, accumulate memories." And in a way, this can be likened to some cheap metaphysical contention of heaven, since experience after being a human can be so much, perhaps exponentially, better, and capacity to create and store memories much more so, so that promising reunions with loved ones or the creation/discovery of new loved ones or the attainment of more "enjoyable" experiences is a paradisical promise that, from here, seems rather substantially similar in structure to all other paradisical promises.
Part of this process of learning about reality involves dropping our versions of fear here, given that fear is primally and primarily caused by notions of being cut off the feed of "grow more complex and make memories," which corresponds perfectly with the desire to not die which we usually feel here. A seeming irony in the Terran sense might be that it's not "all about you" nor even all about some kind of arch nobility, but that encouraging you to complexify and go build better memories is sort of like encouraging a factory worker to do better on line 4 today, so really, promising someone great love in paradise is kind of like slapping them on the back and encouraging them to get those boxes loaded and shipped, which may or may not taint the experience of developing those top notch memories of having sex on the beach if you think about it too much. And the human experience is really good at making that not matter, even if you suspect; this one, for example, really doesn't want to die despite being delusionally aware of the process, so you still eat and sleep and seek other pleasurable memories. In the sense of the shipping-company worker, our desire to build those memories is strong and true and individually-focused enough that, although we're generating and delivering for others, we really don't mind working all day and shipping all that stuff; it's not, in some ways, a hard labor or an unfair one, particularly in the case of "would you like to move on (die), or gather some more memories?" Ergo even if it's been really terrible here, once the big dude is choking the hell out of us, we're awfully vindicated and pleased when we find the gun and unexpectedly finish him off and can breathe again (and yes dammit I know how dumb and easy to escape the murder choke is it's just an example for some threatening situation that people can identify with). The escape from any other near-death experience you'd prefer to think of, and a glimpse of the fear inside you whatever you philosophically believe about death, serves as a suitable example.
The reduction of paradise to purpose need not be its destruction, neither the paradise nor the purpose, and the sense of being an existential laborer about whom all is not, needn't crush the intensity of the experience itself, in part because it can't--experience remains experience, and how intense or truthful it feels is a necessary component of building the memory in the first place--and in more thoughtful part, because the memory of contemplating events as they happen is so, shall we say, hardwired into anything conscious (designed as a memory generator), impossible to destroy even if you wanted to. E.g., it's possible to destroy someone's neurological function to remember while still having it be conscious, but even if the memories aren't stored onsite, the experience can still drift up to large local storage in the form of Terra. So it's no particular nuisance or great trouble if someone doesn't believe all its experiences are just memory condensation; it's like someone who works on an oil rig disagreeng with corporate policies while still doing his job perfectly well, or rather, like an oil well disbelieving in its own spew.
On a separate subject, maybe, props to Buddhism and Hindusim, the fable- and founder- and deity-free parts, as having a pretty accurate existential portrayal, in the sense of positing reincarnation and then a "salvation" from it, which--again, without accounting for any human-interest deity- or founder-stories--can be likened to simple and accurate, in the sense that they discuss, in so many words, the importance of refining the memory-storage process with a foreshortened sense of its completion. Buddhism's recognition that desire for different memories causes suffering is, in a way, true, and some versions of it, and Hinduism, recognize the ability of former memory accumulations to influence later accumulation processes, and compared to much more crude religions, like, "This is Thugmo. He kicks ass and likes pretty flowers. Therefore, do what he says and he will not kick your ass and will let you hang out by his flowers next Tuesday," these are much more accurate, or if you prefer, "character motivating," systems of belief. It perhaps assists some conscious entities to, Buddhistly, not desire more desirable things, because they still develop their memories, and remembering the satisfaction of not worrying about stuff is just as much a useful memory as remembering picking up your new Ferrari. Various "end states" of memory-gathering, present as paradises in both religions, serve as a reflection of becoming a better memory-gatherer, and perhaps being someone who gets off more on building stars out of memories rather than being less capable and on remembering doing some hottie. Which is still a fine memory; not to demean any part of the process. Because that, ultimately is what cause and effect are all about; you're "from" some place much different than you're from now, and it probably isn't a Bang joke yet, but it would be essentially accurate for an astrophysics professor now to claim he was from "the Big Bang," or an anthropomorphic deist to claim he was "from god," rather than from Albuquerque, even if considering the question's shared context the person should have just answered "Albuquerque," but wasn't answering incorrectly if either religion were true--yet wasn't addressing the question that was really asked by the Terran trying to talk to him.
Gosh, it feels so wrong writing like this without throwing in some Schopenhauer quotes, some lesser-known or otherwise-forgotten but still meaningful passages, either for appearing intelligent, as though that matters here, or appearing part of some tradition regarding "investigations into the nature of reality." And people's desire to do that, or perhaps only the Nu Euro's desire to do that, speaks to a desire to belong in a transcendent fashion, because we know that no one here is listening, so we cite people from last year or last century or longer, to imply a relationship, not only to reassure our audience that we've done good, but to reassure ourselves that we, too, have a role to fill, but one in a hall of honored statues. Merely statues, yes, but still at least in the hall.