"So this is heaven, he thought, and he had to smile at himself. It was hardly respectful to analyze heaven in the very moment that one flies up to enter it...
'Where is everybody, Sullivan?' he asked silently, quite at home now with the easy telepathy that these gulls used instead of screes and gracks. 'Why aren't there more of us here? Why, where i came from there were...'
'...thousands and thousands of gulls. I know.' Sullivan shook his head. 'the only answer I can see, Jonathan, is that you are pretty well a one-in-a-million bird. Most of us came along ever so slowly. We went from one world into another that was almost exactly like it, forgetting right away where we had come from, not caring where we were headed, living for the moment. Do you have any idea how many lives we must have gone through before we even got the first idea that there is more to life than eating, or fighting, or power in the Flock? A thousand lives, Jon, ten thousand! And then another hundred lives until we began to learn that there is such a thing as perfection, and another hundred again to get the idea that our purpose for living is to find that perfection and show it forth. The same rule holds for us now, of course: we choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the limitations and lead weights to overcome.'"
~ Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull