Here’s a quandary that’s been plaguing me for a few weeks. It’s not fun. I’m not happy about it. And now you have to deal with it too.
There are two questions.
The Short Question:
I’m an all-powerful wizard, and I make you an offer. I will use my powers to guarantee that 2017 is a great year for you. Everything with your work life, social life, leisure life, love life—it all goes splendidly. The only thing you have to do to accept my offer is to jump into a pool of molten lava and stay submerged for one minute. The cool thing is that as soon as the minute is up, you’re back on land, dry, and in no pain. Whatever damage happened to either your body or your psyche as a result of being in the lava is instantly and permanently erased. You still remember the experience, but you have no lasting damage of any kind. So it’s a very, very, very bad minute, but all the badness is limited to exactly one minute only.
Do you take my offer?
The Long Question:
Here’s a far more intense offer. I will allow you to design your very own version of heaven, and you can live in it for 100 million years. You can bring anyone and everyone you want and they can live for 100 million years too. You’ll spend the 100 million years with everyone you care about with a guarantee that A) everyone is safe and healthy the whole time, B) you and everyone else are exceptionally happy the whole time, and C) you’re free to opt out anytime you want if you decide you’re ready to die earlier. In other words, there’s very little downside—you’re set up, essentially, for eternal bliss and enjoyment. Pretty good situation.
The price tag for my offer is that you spend one year in the middle of the sun. I’ll put a spell on your body that will not let you die or vaporize or go unconscious, but you’ll still feel all the exact unthinkable pain that you’d feel if no spell were cast—for a full year. But the same rules apply as in the short question—there will be no lasting damage of any kind. The second the year is up, you will be totally healthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally. You’ll be your full self just like you were before entering the sun. You’ll remember how shitty that year was, but only in a fun, “God I’m happy I’m done with that” way. And having finished your year, you’ll now be all set to plunge into your happy eternity, where everyone you know will be waiting to celebrate with you.
Do you take my offer?
To answer these questions, don’t just think about them theoretically—imagine these were actually offered to you and you had only ten minutes to make a decision. Oh, and whatever you decide is a permanent and final decision—no option to change your mind or back out.
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