I’m hooked on the show, “The Good Place”. If you haven’t watched it, I’m about to spoil the first season for you. Congratulations! You’ve died and gone to the Good Place. But wait, why am I frustrated and anxious all the time? Surprise! It’s a new twist on the Bad Place, but instead of physical torture, we’re messing with your heads.
A few days ago, I woke up abruptly with an epiphany. Nudging my not-a-morning-person husband, I exclaim, “What if…THIS is the Bad Place?” He blinks slowly. “No, really! Think about it! If ever there was a world of tortured souls, Earth is it! People smile while anxiety eats them up, they laugh in front of others and cry inside. Frustration and anger and fear. Hurting themselves. Lashing out at others. Who needs a flaming river of screaming heads? Tortured lives are everywhere. Don’t you agree?”
He slowly staggers out of bed, trying desperately to escape my cacophony of words bouncing around his head, banging on his eyes to open up. “What time is it?” I keep going, intent on getting out all my thoughts at once. The moment that I scour our bookshelves for a dusty Bible, muttering about the Book of Ecclesiastes, he calls it. “Stop. Can’t. Think. Just…”. He walks to the bathroom and peers at me with bleary half-eyes, slowly closing and locking the door. Guess my thoughts will have to wait.
Upon further reflection, really, isn’t everything we experience either amplified or diminished by our thoughts and feelings? Sure, physical torture can do harm, a lot of harm. But, if you really want to drive someone crazy, get inside their head. We can even torture ourselves: our mind wreaks havoc on us while we smile and nod, laughing with others, happy-go-lucky, not a care in the world! A thin veneer, a stretched facade, is all that contains the chaos. The question is: If this is the Bad Place, does the Good Place exist? Or maybe it’s all in our heads.