A smiling green fetus floats in space, among a swirl of Earthlike worlds. Another happy customer of the monolith!
What exactly is transcendence, anyway? The giant glowing Bowman-baby at the end of 2001 was a metaphor for going on and becoming Something Else. And a thread running through a lot of mysticism is the idea that a lot of your inwardly-turned magic is about creating the right conditions for you to go on to Something Else after death. Maybe there’s something there; maybe after cycling through enough lifetimes you’ll be ready to finally grow up and move on to the next level. It’s a nice hope, at least. How would not having it change your attitude to the world?
All those worlds. How many of them are ours?
But I digress in these fantasies of endless frontiers. Just look at the cute happy embryo and giggle. Close your eyes and move on to the next card.