Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

The Notion of Paradise

The last time we visited Joey’s family in Houston, Sharon (Joey’s mom), Joey and I were discussing the latest news about a new war starting in the Middle East. After I articulated some hot sports opinions, we got engaged in a very interesting discussion.

I was saying that if I could choose a parallel universe, and if such thing exists, I would love to live in a society where you don’t need to worry about other individuals trying to kill you, steal from you, ruin your name, sleep with your spouse, determine and regulate your sexual orientation, or dishonestly speculate with stock for their profit, making you lose all your retirement savings. I would love to live in a society where nobody is trying to “fuck me in the ass”.

Both Joey and Sharon argued that if I got such thing, there would still be something that would make me unsatisfied. They said that such transgressions are part of the zest of life, and that it is human nature to want more. In different words, I was hearing an argument almost for the fact that such individuals are needed in our society, maybe to help us go through shit and learn and become more evolved… I’m not sure that this is what they were saying, but you could argue this.

Here is my point: I believe that individuals definitely need challenges to fully live their lives and – let’s say it: “spiritually” evolve. However, I think that there are enough worthy challenges in life, for instance: raising your children, making a living, becoming a better person, making your marriage work, growing your business, working for a good cause, learning new things, dealing with the bad things life throws at you, coping with a loss, resolving your childhood traumas, going through adolescence, getting better at what you do, and so many more.

There are enough worthy challenges in life to also have to deal with those caused by individuals who just ruin the world for the rest of us: Terrorists bombing our cities, criminals killing our loved-ones, lazy talentless “vivos” copying our work for profit, disturbed mental freaks raping us, terrorists hijacking our planes, terrorizing our societies and ruining everyone’s air travel, unscrupulous amateurs typosquatting our business, friends or strangers stealing our possessions, guerrillas kidnapping us, corrupt politicians mismanaging resources, and all other losers that make us feel unsafe to live in this planet.

We weren’t getting to any agreement on the subject, so I finally concluded: OK, I won’t get what I want. It’s definitely not possible with the way how human brains are wired, and the awful disparities that exist in our societies… and I am no perfect Santa Maria… but if there is a HEAVEN, mine would be a society where it’s all about what I can do to grow myself, and help others in a contributing way, without trying to get stuff for me by taking it from somebody. I may not be perfect, but one thing I have is a very high sense of justice and ethics, and if such society exists somewhere, that’s where I want to live. If we all get to choose our paradise, that’s the one I want for me.

Sharon went next. She said she would want a white house that no cats or husband will ever get dirty. I was like, “Come on! That can’t be your heaven!… But she insisted: “No, that’s it: I want a white and clean house that nobody will get dirty after I’ve cleaned it.” Thinking about it, at a fundamental level, Sharon and I kind of want similar things. I want my world to be clean, so all dwellers can live and fight their personal battles without destroying the house and each other.

Joey’s heaven was a little different… Knowing him as I do, it made perfect sense to me that he would want a life where he doesn’t have to worry about making a living. I suspect he would want this so he could work on all the good causes dear to his heart… Those he can’t go for, because in our societies, it is very hard to make a decent living while working full time for the causes that really matter.


  1. On , Joey wrote:

    My other heaven would be a world where people don’t drive their loud, foul diesel pick-up trucks. Do normal people really need these V8 hemi diesels? Makes my blood boil every time I see them, making all that noise and spitting out that black smoke when they put their foot down on the gas. Don’t they give a shit?

  2. On , Joey wrote:

    Your idea of a mini-heaven is good. There would be something else, but there are definite things that really make our blood boil. The low-hanging foul fruit that you want to pick and stomp on. The stuff that makes you want to shove that prayer, “Lord, grant me patience to bear the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” up someone’s ass!

  3. On , Marla wrote:

    When you really think about it, it’s the differences in our ideas of paradise that drives the crime in the first place, isn’t it?

    This guy thinks YOUR Toyota is just the thing to put him over the top and make his life complete (or the proceeds from it).

    That guy thinks Israel is his promised paradise, this guy thinks his paradise has been stolen from him.

    Another thinks that if he can just rub someone out of his life, he’d be content, while his target kinda likes living.

    I often find that I’m not drawn to the Heaven where there are no worries, no pain, only love all the time and a feeling of being completely complete. I would actually miss fear, pain, etc. much as they are crippling, because they are often motivations for changing our baser selves. They are what drive us to become more heavenly creatures.

    However, if I could have one thing in Heaven, it’d be a never ending stream of conversations just like this one that can go in any direction any time with no real answer and only our imaginations to fuel them. I know people who’d describe this as the epitome of Hell.:)

  4. On , mandarine wrote:

    My Heaven is where I live and what I do, right now. I have no TV so that I can pretend the rest of the world is also like this. Part of my constant happiness comes from me, but I am aware I am a hell of a lucky person to have such a heavenly life. I often wonder how I will feel when misfortunes and harships come crashing down on my neat life, but meanwhile, I enjoy.
    And I enjoy your blog.

  5. On , mandarine wrote:

    As an add-on: I fully agree with you (and I might post my thoughts on the subject): there is enough work fighting things that we do not have to fight people in addition.
    But I do not think there is a specific way human brains are hardwired. For all I know, your Heaven can exist — at least I feel better when I believe so.

  6. On , Maria wrote:

    WHERE, Oh! where???

    You now, mandarine… Many many years ago I thought of a perfect society, which was what I wanted at the time… Completely idealistic (I was in college), but the idea was that everyone worked at something that the rest of the society could use: Everyone works ethically exactly at what they love to do, and there’s enough variety of jobs/passions to take care of all needs, and nobody has to worry about surviving (so no systematic cause for crime) because somebody else’s job in this society is to provide food, or build houses, or heal, or whatever. Specialized labor without the need for greed, let’s say… It even sounds a little socialist… but we know how that went.

    Anyway, I don’t really need that anymore. I don’t need others to solve my problems or provide for me, or even be nice to me. I’m perfectly cool dealing with life’s shit like the horrendous accident my husband suffered last Monday… I just want to live in a place where other people have the same sense of JUSTICE and ETHICS that I do. That’s all.. Bring on all other challenges!

    Heaven would be to go to a boring planet, full of boring self-righteous sorts like me. And the “vivos” who love to take advantage of the rest and use more than their share of resources, can all live together. Lovely to imagine how that would go…

    Thanks for enjoying my blog, BTW ;)

  7. On , Maria wrote:

    Marla… You are a patient person. I know you’re laughing (LOL)… You are indeed more patient with people than I am. And you would totally be in my Heaven.

  8. On , Petie wrote:

    I don’t really have a notion of heaven. I think I’m lucky enough to love my life enough not to contemplate that much.

    Joelle, however, told me what her heaven would be like. Yes, she talks about heaven a lot. (and hell. Hell = Jail, to Joelle). She said that she would be able to stay up all night. She’d never have to go to sleep!

  9. On , Maria wrote:

    He! he!… So that’s the thing that bugs her the most right now. How cute!