French stage and film actor François Rimbau talks to Furney Times for the first in the Big Questions series exploring what it means to be human.
At what age would you say you became aware of yourself as a tiny and largely irrelevant speck on a dot that essentially is a rock orbiting the sun at 110,000 kilometres an hour?
I’d say I was 6 years old. My grandmother died and I began to question myself about the meaning of life. I haven’t stopped since.
Are you a religious person?
I’m a spiritual person, not a religious one. I’m also vegetarian, and it’s a part of my spirituality. As a child I was raised in a Catholic environment. I had the feeling that something was wrong, and I had a lot of doubts. As a young adult I stopped thinking and just focused on building a “normal” life. Later I began again asking myself about my life, my goals and what I was expecting. An unconventional and vegan guy I met five years ago helped me to realise who I really was.
I wouldn’t criticize religious people: to me it’s a form of spirituality, but in a wrong way. To have faith must be freedom, not a prison. Religions people are, I believe, a deviant form of spirituality who use regional cultures and power to dominate humans instead of letting them be free. Spiritual beliefs don’t have to be proven; they just have to be felt.
What, for you, makes life meaningful?
To be in totally harmony with who you really are. The best guide for life is your heart and unconditional love.
Your top 3 life-fulling elements — what are they?
I can’t say there are several. For me there’s only one : Love.
It’s the essence of life and what should run the world.
If you could do one thing to make the world a better place, what would it be?
As an individual we are just a drop of water and at the same time a huge source of energy. You have positive and negative energies. If you work on yourself to have the most positive energy that you can, spreading this energy through the world will make it it better and will wake up more positive energy sources.
We now know that the universe, which is around 13.7 billion years old, began from an infinitesimally small point and has become unimaginably large and is still expanding. What do you think all this mass, space and time is expanding into?
It’s unlimited and the human mind is not able to imagine unlimited matters. Only the soul is able to feel it. Connecting to the soul is the most difficult experience for us as humans : we have to go beyond mental frontiers, and very few people have this ability.
Do you believe there is life after death?
I believe in a continual circle of life. When our body dies our soul is going on somewhere — maybe where it was just before our birth, and it will choose, or not, another terrestrial experience to learn more and improve its maturity.
Is it your view that life without a continuation in some form after death is meaningless?
Yes. Life for me has only a meaning as a part of a global plan that we logically don’t know in our human condition.
Do you think people who are extremely ill and suffering, or the very elderly, should have the right to choose to die — so-called assisted suicide — instead of clinging on with the help of medications and machines?
Humans should have the right to choose. If one day the laws change, our plan of life will also be different.
Humankind is still a relatively new species on Earth, as modern humans have only been around for about 200,000 years, compared to our planet’s age of 4.5 billion years. Given that we’re all too willing to wipe ourselves out with nuclear weapons, unending wars and seem set on destroying our planet, do you think we will survive and thrive, and if so, how?
I have a non-species view of life. Humankind will disappear one day and other forms of life will appear in the universe : it’s part of evolution of this dimension.
Will humans colonise Mars in the near future, and if you are still around, would you go, if colonies were already established?
I’m not sure I’ll still be around, in this life. Of course I would go because I love to travel and discover new horizons. But Mars or Jupiter or Venus are just part of a 3D dimension. To have a chance to go to another dimension (time: the fourth one, or other dimensions that our brain is enable to figure out) would be much more exciting.
What’s your idea of the ultimate perfect day?
The ultimate perfect day is a day with unlimited love, especially with what your doing and your friends and loved ones.